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The United Kingdom's immunity from seizure legislation

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The UK's Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has introduced legislation to provide immunity from seizure for cultural objects on temporary loan from other countries to approved museums and galleries in the UK. The legislation is aimed at facilitating the cross-border lending of objects and bringing the UK into line with other countries such as the United States, France and Germany, that already afford such legal immunity. In the absence of immunity legislation in the UK, many museums and private lenders had been reluctant to loan their objects because of the risk that they might be seized by creditors seeking to settle financial disputes or by claimants contesting ownership of the works. This article examines whether the new law will be effective to provide museums and lenders with the protection they have been hoping for and asks whether it goes too far in depriving claimants of legal rights and remedies.

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