MA in Art Law and Arts Management > Settlement of disputes concerning cultural objects

Settlement of disputes concerning cultural objects

Τeaching hours and credit allocation: 32 hours, 6 credits

Cultural property disputes raise complicated questions entering into many spheres, including history, national and international law and, of course, the marketplace. Because of the wide variety of legal norms and the cross-border nature of most cultural property claims, complicated conflict of law issues inevitably arise. The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge on the protection and preservation of cultural property under international law, and to analyse a variety of approaches that can be adopted in order to address problems arising during settlement of disputes concerning cultural objects. Emphasis will be placed on alternative dispute resolution, as this potential has been continuously gaining international attention .

On completion of this module students are expected to be able to:

  • develop an understanding of the wide range of actions concerning disputes over cultural objects –
  • being conscious of the fact that cultural property disputes may take a variety of forms
  • understand and interpret the law on the settlement of disputes concerning cultural objects
  • analyse the decisive criteria leading the parties to opt for an ‘out of court settlement’ solution
  • understand the difference between judicial and diplomatic methods of dispute settlement
  • develop knowledge of traditional court litigation and alternative dispute resolution


  • definition and nature of cultural property
  • areas of disputes concerning cultural objects
  • potential stakeholders to disputes concerning cultural property
  • ownership disputes between museums and other parties (associations, representatives of governing bodies, national communities, private individuals)
  • dispute resolution of cultural heritage
  • alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods for art-related disputes (mediation, arbitration)
  • initiatives by international non-governmental organisations (United Nations, WIPO, ICOM)