Like we did last year, we are keen to use this opportunity to have a look at what lies ahead. For one, 2020 seems to offer much change for the art world on the regulatory front. This is bookended by two major changes in the UK (and indeed across Europe) that have their source in EU legislation: the first are the new anti-money laundering regulations which came into force on Friday and the second will be the introduction on 28 December 2020 of a new prohibition on imports of foreign cultural property into the EU, as part of the Regulation 2019/880 on the Introduction and the Import of Cultural Goods. The prohibition is found at Article 3(1) of the Regulation and was a relative latecomer to the party: it strictly forbids the introduction into EU territory of cultural goods that were unlawfully exported from their country of origin.
We are also waiting for the Ivory Act 2018 to come into force in the UK, which should be early this year – though a judicial review of the Act brought by an association of antique dealers and collectors seems to have held up the train. The judicial review failed in the High Court in November, but an appeal is scheduled to be heard in the spring.
Of course from the UK perspective, Brexit looms large. As it stands, the UK is poised to leave the EU on 31 January. This will trigger a transition period lasting until December 2020, after which all pre-existing formal ties between the UK and EU will be cut. We still wait to see what the final ‘divorce’ agreement will look like post-December 2020.
Late last year, news began to surface about the (alleged) massive art fraud perpetrated by art dealer Inigo Philbrick (surprisingly not a made-up name). Philbrick used companies to borrow money against valuable artworks which he held on consignment and did not actually own. The money lenders, along with the true owners of the artworks, are now coming after him – but Philbrick seems to have flown the coop. There is no sign of his whereabouts. Meanwhile, a number of proceedings have been brought against his companies in UK and US courts. This will likely become one of the big judicial stories in the art world for 2020. We will watch it closely.
On the IAL front, we will once again be running our Diploma courses: one in Intellectual Property and Collections in June and another in Law and Collections Management in October. Check back here for specific dates and further details. Both courses will run in London. These have proven very popular in the past, with one 2019 participant stating, ‘I absolutely loved this course. My only regret is that it is not longer!’ If you would like to express your interest in either course, please email email@example.com
Our first Study Forum of the year will take place on 22 February in York, held in the splendid surroundings of the King’s Manor, near York Minster. Booking is available through our event page (see above link), which has further information about speakers and topics. Also in February, we are happy to be partnering with the New York City Bar’s Art Law Committee to offer an evening seminar in Manhattan called ‘Legal Issues with International Art Exhibitions’. This will take place on 27 February at 6 pm at the headquarters of the New York City Bar in midtown Manhattan at 42 West 44th Street. More information will shortly be made available here, but places can already be booked through the above link (the cost is $15 to attend, though Members of the Committee can attend for free). We hope to see many of our American friends there!
For those in Canada, we will be running a copyright workshop in Montreal on 15 April, in conjunction with the national conference of the Canadian Museums Association (CMA). There is a fee involved of $275 (or $175 if already attending the conference), but one does not need to be a member of the CMA to register. The course will provide an introduction to copyright law for collections managers.
And of course our journal Art Antiquity and Law will come out, as usual, in April, July, October and December. If you would like to subscribe for this year (hardcopy and electronic options are available, the latter through Hein Online), see here. It promises to be an interesting year for review and analysis of all the latest cases and trends in art and cultural heritage law.
That’s all for now. But do stay tuned to the blog for our coverage of the above and more throughout the year. And subscribe to the journal for more in-depth analysis. A belated happy 2020 to all from the IAL.