May 27, 2005

Feldmann case decision expected today

Posted at 8:52 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

According to this article, judgement is expected today on the Feldmann case, that could allow moral claims to overrule the museum’s act.

The Scotsman

Fri 27 May 2005
2:48am (UK)
Legal Ruling Could Loosen Grip on Elgin Marbles
By Stephen Howard, PA

Vice Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt is ruling today on a point of law which could give the owners of stolen artworks a chance to reclaim them – a ruling which may give Greece a chance to reclaim the Elgin Marbles.

The Vice Chancellor was asked to decide on Tuesday whether the “moral obligation” of the British Museum to the true owners of looted works of art overrides laws forbidding the break-up of its collections.

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, asked the court for clarification of the law in the case of Old Masters drawings looted by the Nazis, which were acquired by the museum in the 1940s.

William Henderson, representing the Attorney General, said if the British Museum Act could be overridden, it would “open the door” to other claims.

“There are plainly other objects to which moral claim might be made. The Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon may be the prime example,” he said.

The application to the High Court arose out of a claim for the restitution of four drawings looted from Arthur Feldmann by the Gestapo in 1939 when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia.

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