Author Archives: Alexander Herman

About Alexander Herman

Alexander is Director of the Institute of Art and Law. You can find him on Twitter @artlawalex and on LinkedIn. His new book 'Restitution - The Return of Cultural Artefacts' is out now.

Russian invasion of Ukraine and the international legal protection of cultural property

Posted on: March 3, 2022 by Alexander Herman

It has been alarming to witness the invasion by Russian troops of Ukrainian territory over the last seven days. Distressing images of the bombardment of cities, communities under siege and refugees pouring into neighbouring countries have proliferated online. The primary focus of the international community has understandably been on the protection of human life and […]

A new take on cultural heritage at the ICJ – Armenia v. Azerbaijan

Posted on: February 17, 2022 by Alexander Herman

It’s rare that an international court confronts cultural heritage issues. But that’s just what happened two months ago. On 7 December, an important Order came down from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague that included consideration of, amongst other matters, the importance of tangible cultural heritage to minority populations in times of […]

Restitution and the ‘return of beauty’ – afterthoughts

Posted on: February 4, 2022 by Alexander Herman

On Wednesday evening, I spoke on an online panel organised by the Universities of Bonn and Tel Aviv entitled The Return of Beauty: Restitution of Nazi-Looted Art in Comparative Perspectives. I was asked to introduce the topic of ‘post-colonial’ claims for the return of cultural objects as a point of comparison with claims for the […]

Looking ahead to 2022

Posted on: January 5, 2022 by Alexander Herman

Is it really time to make predictions? With the uncertainty that has accompanied these last two years, likely not. As I said last year, prognostication is a perilous enterprise. What can really be said about the year ahead without including a major asterisk? So let us instead try a more modest approach, by going over […]

Michael Steinhardt’s antiquities and the legal/moral divide

Posted on: December 9, 2021 by Alexander Herman

Collector Michael Steinhardt has been in the news this week, and not for the right reasons. On Monday, an agreement was announced whereby the New York DA’s Office would not prosecute Steinhardt for acquiring looted antiquities and, in exchange, Steinhardt would surrender 180 such artefacts to the DA, and these will soon (one hopes) be […]

Restitution – what’s really going on?

Posted on: September 30, 2021 by Alexander Herman

This piece first appeared on The Art Newspaper website on 28 September 2021. *** Much is happening in the global debate over the rightful place of cultural objects. Not a week goes by, it seems, without an important return being announced. Last week it was the return at a ceremony in Washington DC of the ancient […]

Court decision on ‘technicality’ prevents claim over allegedly fake antiquity

Posted on: September 1, 2021 by Alexander Herman

On 9 August a decision came down from the High Court of England and Wales that imparts an important lesson about limitation periods and related timelines for the service of proceedings. The decision also reveals useful information about a particular dispute over allegedly fake antiquities, showing just what happens when negotiations between buyer and seller […]

UK to repeal import prohibition derived from EU law

Posted on: May 25, 2021 by Alexander Herman

The UK government last week began the process to repeal a prohibition on the import of cultural goods unlawfully removed from their country of origin. Seeing as this repeal could potentially damage the reputation of the UK’s art market, one expert body is urging the UK to take additional measures to minimise any risks associated […]

Copyright in America

Posted on: April 20, 2021 by Alexander Herman

Every so often, we take a peek at the copyright situation in the USA. There are many reasons for this. Stateside, art and copyright cases are more plentiful than in the UK (and much of the world), perhaps because there is more at stake financially or simply because the culture is more litigious. Additionally, the […]

Museum ethics: when the law plays catch up

Posted on: March 23, 2021 by Alexander Herman

Readers of this blog will know of our interest in a particular piece of EU law that came into effect throughout the EU territory on 28th December 2020. This predated the end of the Brexit Transition Period by three days and so applied to the UK as well, at least initially. The legislation was Regulation […]