May 8, 2009

Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill draft wording

Posted at 12:57 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill has now been published in its current form, shortly before its second reading in Parliament. This bill if it becomes law will allow the return by museums of artefacts looted during the Nazi era, something that in many cases is currently not possible, as proved by the Feldmann Case in 2005.

UK Parliament

Session 2008 – 09
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament
Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill


1 Powers of de-accession
2 Applicability
3 Short title and commencement

Bill 35

A Bill To provide for the transfer from public museum and gallery collections of arts, artefacts and other objects stolen between 1933 and 1945 by or on behalf of the Nazi regime, its members and sympathisers; to provide for the return of such artefacts and objects to the lawful owners, their heirs and successors; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Powers of de-accession

(1) The bodies named in section 2 shall have the power of de-accession for an object spoliated between 1933 and 1945 for the purposes of returning the object


(a) the person who lost possession of it; or
(b) to one or more of their heirs.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an object is spoliated if so found to be by an advisory body established by the Secretary of State to consider claims for the loss of possession of a cultural object during the Nazi era from 1933 to 1945.

(3) The power referred to in subsection (1) shall be exercised only on the acceptance by the Secretary of State of a recommendation of the body referred to in subsection (2).

(4) The power referred to in subsection (1) shall not affect or override any trust or condition subject to which the object is held.

(5) For the purposes of this section a “cultural object” means an object of historical, architectural, cultural, archaeological, artistic or scientific interest.

2 Applicability

This Act applies to the following bodies—

The Board of Trustees of the Armouries
The British Library Board
The Trustees of the British Museum
The Trustees of the Imperial War Museum
The Trustees of the National Gallery
The Trustees of the National Maritime Museum
The Board of Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery
The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum
The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery
The Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum
The Board of Trustees of the Wallace Collection.

3 Short title and commencement

(1) This Act may be cited as the Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Act 2009.

(2) The Act shall come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint and shall cease to have effect ten years after the date on which it is passed.

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