October 16, 2012

The legal arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:36 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

If you talk to a group of lawyers who believe the return of the Elgin Marbles could be brought about by legal action (as I have done), and each one that you talk to will have a different idea of exactly how it can be achieved – in terms of which court, which jurisdiction, and which points form the basis of the case. One fact remains though – Italy argued for a long time with many of the big US museums for the return of looted artefacts – but only started to see any results once they had initiated legal proceedings against them. Whether or not legal action is aimed at winning the case in court, it can be a powerful tool for bringing people to the negotiating table with a more serious mindset – taking the case seriously rather than ignoring it in the hope that it will go away.

This new book by Greek Australian lawyer Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley gives her perspective on the legal issues involved.

Greek Reporter

Feeley’s Legal Argument For the Return of the Greek Marbles
By Stella Tsolakidou on October 13, 2012 in News

Australian lawyer Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley offers her own approach to the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles from London to Athens. Her ideas will be officially launched Oct. 14 during her book presentation in Canberra.

The author of “How The Greeks Can Get Their Marbles Back- the legal argument for the return of the Parthenon Marbles ” is an expert on human rights law and has worked as an archaeologist in Greece before taking up her lawyer profession.

According to Feeley, the UK will never agree to give the Marbles back for plainly cultural reasons. “A gesture like this would bring all museums of the world upside down” explained Feeley. For the author, arguments concerning the cultural heritage should be left aside and replaced by the legal argument that these monuments are connected to the Greek people – in both spiritual and religious ways – since their creation in antiquity.

Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley explains the whole legal procedures needed to be launched by Greek ex-pats living in different EU countries in order to win their case.


How the Greeks can get their Marbles back
By Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley
Rating: Not yet rated.
Published: Oct. 07, 2012
Words: 46281 (approximate)
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301601264

Short description
The Legal Argument For The Return Of The Parthenon Marbles To Greece

Extended description
All legal cases that have resulted in the actual return of ancient artefacts had fundamentally two issues in common. Firstly, there is a particular person or identified group that has a claim on the artefacts and secondly, those artefacts are of continuous religious significance to that particular person or identified group. The person or identified group (a Greek person or persons) belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church.

Since Greece and England are part of the European Union, the applicant/s to the European Court of Human Rights would need to be Greek/s living in the European Union in the event of an application to the International Court of Human Rights. The applicant/s must be aggrieved because of the British desecration of Greek religious artefacts that have proven significance to the present day Greek Orthodox Church. This book proves a continuous religious connection from the Parthenon Marbles to the present day Greek Orthodox Church.

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  1. EricdeMarylebon said,

    10.16.12 at 1:46 pm

    RT @elginism: Blog post: The legal arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles http://t.co/5GDO7WtQ

  2. AcropolisAthens said,

    10.16.12 at 3:02 pm

    RT @elginism: Blog post: The legal arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles http://t.co/5GDO7WtQ

  3. nchatziandreou said,

    10.16.12 at 3:02 pm

    RT @elginism: Blog post: The legal arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles http://t.co/5GDO7WtQ

  4. Selby Whittingham said,

    10.22.12 at 12:52 pm

    I am sure you are right. The credible threat of legal action is worth a hundred moral or historical arguments.

  5. Matthew said,

    10.22.12 at 12:58 pm

    Its a shame really that it has to be this way – but if its the only way of making people consider how tenable their position is, then by default it becomes the most sensible route to take if you are wanting to achieve your result as rapidly as possible.

  6. Victor Bizannes said,

    03.08.13 at 11:42 am

    Applause for Ms. freeley but I fear the international bodies and European may not be the answer., A legal attack in the High Court of england would be the tactic I wold endorse. And not forgetting the religious line she espoouses has anyone considered the huge case waged in the High Court of Australia succintly known as Mabo 2.
    The English landed on Mabo island, declared it terra nullius and usurped it from the traditional owners in the high flight of imperialism well over 130 years ago.
    But Eddie Mabo led the charge tweny years ago to get it’s ownership back to the traditional owners.
    They had never left the place. they had never negotiated the take over:It was done over their heads. It was their cultural and spiritual land. the High Court of Australia dealt with theissue of hereditary matters and dispossession in depth and held for Mabo.
    Now look at the Greek case.
    The Parthenon is categorically “real property” in the sense of English law, its key ornnaments,the stolen statues and carayatid were attached and therefor more than mere appendages but integral to the struture. It is heritage no less than cultural and the Mabo decision would fit like a glove as it is a persuasive precedent from an important court of record, the High Court of Australia which has resonance and application in the equivelant court of E.ngland.
    The hogwash put out by the British Museum acolytes that it was approved by the sultan or a lesser Vizier relies on a ridiculous scrap of writing in the Italian language (do youmind) which has been interpretd by a leading greek professor Vassiliades to be no “firman” as they propound emanating from the sultan ul Islam and not even any more than a ‘mektub’ or letter of introduction to the venal officials of the Ottomans in Athens.
    The marbles weren’t bought, they weren;’t authorised, they were looted with written evidence of bribes and gifts to make the officials look the other way while his workmen did the bidding of mendacious Lord Elgin and hammered away at the frontal face of the show building of Western civilization.
    Woolly speeches by breast beating chauvinists have achieved nothing for the last 30 years.
    The only trouble is that you would need a lot of money to pay the equally rapacious solicitors and barristers that hover around the subject in the UK itself.

    Victor Bizannes
    Sydney 8 March 2013

  7. Constantine KARAGEORGE LL.M said,

    07.11.16 at 12:08 pm

    Taking the case to the House of Lords ( being the Highest Court in the UK) would fail as English law recognises the doctrine of terra nullies while te Australin High Court rejected the doctrine which wa the winning point in Mabo…I also add the US Supreme Court has also rejected the doctrine in the case of Sioux Nations climbing the Black Hills of Dakota…,,in any case we are talking of reasonable property even if it was detached from real property and in English law there is. Firm distinction of the 2…, Our High Acourt in Australia has accepted this distinction in Clynes case in ruling on land tax levied in NSW on developers properties not breaching Section 90 of the Constitution ( tax on goods) …. Thus contrary to Mr Bizznes Mabo has no relevance on the Parthenon Marbles…,in any wy the House of Lords is in no way bound by Australian High Court decisions

  8. Alexandros Aiakides said,

    08.03.20 at 1:04 pm

    Christians can not have the right to claim religious property for their own sake. Already the pseudogreeks have been exploiting our culture with impunity.

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