American Bar Association
Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee

Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee

About the Committee

This committee is composed of attorneys and students with an interest in the legal aspects of art and cultural heritage. Committee members work in settings including private practice, museums, government and academia. Cultural heritage law is concerned with both movable and immovable property of artistic, cultural, religious and historic interest. Through its quarterly newsletter, Year in Review summary, CLE courses and panel discussions, the committee endeavors to represent a variety of perspectives and has recently addressed a variety of legal topics including underwater cultural heritage, art works stolen during the Holocaust, ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the impact of war on the cultural heritage in countries experiencing conflict, issues relating to repatriation of cultural heritage improperly removed from its country of origin, implications of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 in cultural property litigation and legal issues relating to artists' authentication boards. Within a diverse field with often sharply differing opinions, the committee welcomes all with an interest in this timely and fascinating subject.

Articles, Programs, Meetings and Events

Committee Events

EVENT: Meeting of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Sheild

September 19, 2014
The US Committee of the Blue Shield Meeting will be co-hosted by USCBS and the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution on Friday, Sept 19th, in Washington, DC. to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention. For more information visit the link above or

EVENT: Arts Law Colloquium: Protecting Cultural Heritage From Disaster

September 22, 2014
Join DePaul University College of Law's Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law on Monday September 22, 2014 for "Protecting Cultural Heritage From Disaster," a special lecture by Professor Ryan Rowberry as part of the Arts Law Colloquium lecture series.
Professor Rowberry's presentation will set forth concrete suggestions for effective strategies that municipal and local governments may use to better protect their cultural and historic resources in these times of resource scarcity. To illuminate this discussion, Professor Rowberry will draw on examples of his recent work in Istanbul, where he is helping to safeguard and preserve the city's historic urban core, and in Barcelona, in which he, along with several other academics and policy makers, is fashioning a workable Affordable Housing program using the city's historic but underutilized structures.
There is no charge to attend this event, but all those wishing to attend must register in advance in order to ensure there is a seat available.

EVENT: ABA International Section Fall Meeting; Committee Panel '

October 21, 2014 - October 24, 2014
The Fall 2014 Meeting of the International Section of the ABA will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 21 October through 25 October, at the Hilton Buenos Aires. The A&CH Law Committee is hosting a panel discussion titled "Rough Waters: Developing International Legal Protections for Underwater Cultural Heritage" on Wednesday 22 Oct. from 11:00AM-12:30PM.
If you are planning to attend the Section meeting and would like to meet other Committee members while in Buenos Aires, please contact Committee Co-Chair Kevin Ray at

EVENT: PastForward: 2014 National Preservation Conference

November 11, 2014 - November 14, 2014
The 2014 National Preservation Conference, PastForward, is organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in collaboration with SCAD: The Savannah College of Art and Design and in partnership with the Historic Savannah Foundation. This conference will feature in-depth Learning-Labs, on the ground exploration through Field Studies, Preservation Leadership Training Intensive Workshops and live demonstrations, films and exhibits in the Preservation Studio.

EVENT: Looted - Recovered: Cultural Goods - The Case of Poland

November 12, 2014 - November 14, 2014
An international specialist conference on the subject of the fate of Polish cultural goods during World War II in the European context, highlighting the differences between the looting that occurred in Poland and Western Europe. The emphasis will be on plundering carried out by both the Germans and the Russians.

After the political watershed in 1989 the question of restitution of cultural property returned to the arena. The primary aim of this conference is to showcase Polish experiences in the field of restitution in the context of other countries' approaches to the matter.

EVENT: Sixth Annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition

February 27, 2015 - February 28, 2015
Save the date for the 2015 National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition. The competition will take place on February 27-28, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. Registration will open on Monday, August 25, 2014.

The Competition, co-sponsored by the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, allows students to compete through oral and written advocacy in the nuanced landscape of cultural heritage law, which deals with the issues that arise as our society comes to appreciate the important symbolic, historical and emotional role that cultural heritage plays in our lives. This rapidly growing and dynamic area of law addresses historic preservation, the international trade in art works, antiquities and ethnographic objects, museums and other collectors, and indigenous cultures.

The 2015 Competition will focus on constitutional challenges to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), 17 U.S.C. ยง 106A, which protects visual artists' moral rights of attribution and integrity. The problem will address both a First Amendment and a Fifth Amendment challenge to VARA.

The Competition is open to 26 two- and three-member student teams from ABA-accredited or provisionally accredited law schools. Each school may register up to two teams at a fee of $450 per team. The registration and payment deadline is Thursday, November 20, 2014. The competition problem will be released on November 21, 2014.

ARTICLE: Rare Window Onto Artwork Valuation Issues In Insolvency

August 8, 2014
Article in Law360 (registration required), by Kevin Ray, Committee Co-Chair

ARTICLE: Ancient Coins Returned to Greece, Ending U.S. Ordeal

August 4, 2014
Article in NYTimes, by James McKinley Jr.
Section Events

    Law, Justice and Development Week 2014 (World Bank Global Forum)


    LJD Week 2014 is a part of the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development (Global Forum) where the Section is a Founding and Intellectual Partner. In September 2014, a report on Sustainable Development Goals to guide the post-2015 agenda will be submitted to the UN General Assembly. LJD Week 2014 ...

    Section of International Law 2014 Fall Meeting

    Hilton Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires

    WHAT WILL ATTENDANCE AT THE 2014 FALL MEETING OFFER YOU?Over 70 substantive continuing legal education sessions with world-class speakers;Cutting edge programming on the latest international legal and ethics issues;Networking opportunities with counterparts, decision makers & potential clients from around ...

    58TH congress of the Union Internationale des Avoc


    The event will be held on 10/29/2014. The format is In-Person. The event sponsor(s) are Section of International Law. The event has 0.00 CLE Credits .

Helpful Internet Resources

The following is a list of internet resources concerning the protection of art and cultural heritage property.

Other organizations

This is a list of other organizations that address issues relevant to art law and cultural property protection

Young Lawyers/Law students

This page offers information about organizations for young lawyers/law students, in addition to opportunities for those members of the legal community.


Committee Roster  

Modified by Jacqueline Farinella on August 19, 2014

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