Department for Culture Media and Sport

claiming a loaned object

Publication requirements and information for those who think they may have a claim to a loaned object

DCMS is committed to doing all we can to return property stolen in the Nazi era. In 2000 the Government established the Spoliation Advisory Panel to provide advice to claimants and museums on the resolution of claims for works of art held in permanent collections in museums in the UK. 

Objects on loan from abroad

We are similarly determined that looted or stolen works of art do not find their way into the UK via international loans. Objects will only be protected if the borrowing museum has complied with the requirements set out in the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan (Publication and Provision of Information) Regulations 2008.

Publicised information

These Regulations require the borrowing institution to publish detailed information about the object at least four weeks before the day on which the object enters the UK. The information must be made available to the public free of charge on the borrowing institution’s website. This will enable anyone who may have an interest in any of those objects to raise questions about them before they come to the UK. 

After the object has arrived in the UK, the borrowing institution must also make the information available free of charge on their website for an additional period which begins on the day after the four week period ends and lasts for at least twelve weeks or for the duration of the exhibition, whichever is the longer period.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council website links to websites of museums with upcoming exhibitions that include loaned objects from abroad, who have published information about the protected objects. This is a single point of access for those who wish to research the information.

Requesting further information

The Regulations also enable a person who thinks they may have a claim to an object to obtain more information from the borrowing institution. A person who thinks they may have a claim to an object should make a written request to the relevant institution providing:

  • their name and address, or, where the person claims as the heir of another person, the name and last known address of that person – if this is not possible, sufficient details to identify that person
  • a short summary of their claim to the object
  • confirmation that the borrowing institution may inform the lender of their request

The borrowing institution must provide the claimant with the information detailed in the Regulations unless:

  • the claim has already been rejected by a court or other authority responsible for adjudicating on such claims
  • all the information that the borrowing institution would be required to provide is already available to members of the public free of charge
    or
  • the request is made more than twelve weeks after the end of the additional period during which the borrowing institution must publish information about an object after it enters the UK

The information that the borrowing institution must provide is:

  • the name of each lender if it is not already published on the website
  • a link to the website where the borrowing institution has  published the information required by the regulations
  • a written summary of the borrowing institution's enquiries into the  provenance, ownership and history of the object
  • any other information held by the borrowing institution as a result of its enquires into the provenance of the object that may lawfully be disclosed

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