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Hunt for British Museum stolen artefacts raises questions - Rosie Adcock in The Times

In The Times, Litigation Associate, Rosie Adcock comments the legal position of the Agatha Christie-style mystery of the estimated 1,500 to 2,000 missing treasures at the British Museum which are collectively thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds. 

Rosie Adcock, a notes that the Limitation Act 1980 stipulates that over time certain purchasers of stolen goods can be recognised legally as the owner. Adcock says: “Broadly speaking, this is engaged when there is a purchase unconnected to the theft . . . and more than six years passes following that purchase.”

Read the full article in The Times (paywall) here.

Rosie sheds some more light on the British Museum artefact thefts and what happens if you accidentally purchase a stolen artwork artefact in a blog post here.

Nerves around the cloistered world of antiquities will be frayed to breaking point over the Agatha Christie-style mystery of the missing treasures at the British Museum. The latest development in the tale is that some of the gemstones and jewels have been recovered. But the institution continues to face mounting pressure to disclose exactly how many artefacts are lost and what they are. About 2,000 — many uncatalogued — are reported to have been plundered and possibly sold over two decades. Those sales will eventually be preoccupying the museum’s lawyers. Art law experts point out that whether the criminal law can be invoked will depend on who bought the allegedly pilfered artefacts and when.


art law, art, art litigation, litigation, dispute resolution