Law, crime and regulation

Legal cases, stolen art, regulation and tax issues remain important part of the art and antiques sector.

This category ranges from the levy of the Artist’s Resale Right to controversies over fakes and forgeries.


Export licensing unit reopens with digital applications

01 June 2020

The Export Licensing Unit (ELU), which closed under the March lockdown, has reopened with a new temporary procedure.

Supreme Court the final option in Ivory Act case

25 May 2020

Dealers and collectors of antique ivory will seek to take their case to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal rejected their latest challenge to the Ivory Act 2018.

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National Gallery acquires trio of 18th century pictures from late art patron via tax scheme

22 May 2020

The National Gallery has taken ownership of three pictures by 18th century greats Jean-Etienne Liotard, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas Lawrence.

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Export-blocked 18th century harpsichord bought by Gainsborough’s House museum

20 May 2020

A harpsichord that was sold at The Canterbury Auction Galleries in 2018 to a US buyer and later barred from export by the government has been saved for the nation by Gainsborough’s House museum.

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Appeal to stop Ivory Act dismissed in latest court action

18 May 2020

Court of Appeal judges have dismissed the latest attempt to stop the Ivory Act.

BAMF working to tackle backlog over export licences

18 May 2020

The art market is lobbying for the reopening of the Export Licensing Unit (ELU) which closed in March.

A lawyer writes: Can you prove a provenance you put forward?

18 May 2020

Historically verifiable ownership is very different from having an opinion

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Auction houses and art and antiques dealers to open premises in June

13 May 2020

A government department has confirmed to ATG that auction houses in England will be able to open to the public in June and conduct home valuations, as long as social distancing and the latest government guidelines are met.

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Exports: rising costs and licensing hitch highlight short-term challenges

11 May 2020

International exports are predicted to return to growth following the easing of the lockdown in the UK. However, current art and antiques exports have slowed to a trickle.

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Fake Sumerian cuneiform tablets seized at airport

11 May 2020

A group of smuggled Mesopotamian ‘antiquities’ destined for collectors in the UK was discovered to be fake and seized by Border Force.

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Fake Mesopotamian antiquities seized at Heathrow airport with help of Border Force officers and the British Museum

05 May 2020

A group of Mesopotamian antiquities destined for collectors in the UK was discovered to be fake and seized in an operation by Border Force and the British Museum.

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Plea to help find photographica collection put together over 45 years but now stolen

02 May 2020

A collection of cameras, photographs and accessories put together by a private collector for more than 45 years has been stolen from a storage unit in north London.

Be alert to money laundering activity during lockdown says HMRC

27 April 2020

HMRC has warned the art market to be on alert for money laundering attempts during the coronavirus pandemic.

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British Museum unveils antiquities database but dealers raise concerns

20 April 2020

A project led by the British Museum (BM) to combat the trade in looted antiquities from Egypt and Sudan has launched an online database where objects with ‘provenance issues’ can be brought to the attention of museum specialists and academics.

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Van Gogh painting stolen in Holland while museum closed due to coronavirus shutdown

31 March 2020

A Vincent Van Gogh painting from the early part of the artist’s career has been stolen from a museum in the Netherlands.

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Police ask for help to find stolen antique jewellery from Oxford dealer

29 March 2020

Police are trying to trace antique jewellery stolen by burglars from Norah’s Antiques in Oxford.

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James Bond guns stolen from North London home

28 March 2020

Detectives are appealing for information after five deactivated guns used in James Bond movies were stolen from a residential address in Enfield, North London.

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Call to trade for help to locate lost Mod Brit painting stolen from train to Crewe

24 March 2020

The owner of a painting by Mod Brit artist Terry Frost (1915-2003) is appealing for help after he left it on a train from London to Milton Keynes on January 23.

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Institute of Art and Law to update guidance on restitution cases

19 March 2020

Arts Council England has appointed the Institute of Art and Law to help form new guidance for institutions around the thorny issues of restitution and repatriation of cultural objects.

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Trio of high-value paintings stolen in raid on Oxford college collection

16 March 2020

Three Old Master paintings, including Annibale Carracci’s A Boy Drinking, have been stolen from a museum in Oxford.

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