In the Press

The Art Net quotes Petra Warrington on how the Charities Act will impact restitution cases

A new law in England and Wales will give national museums significantly more power to deaccession works and make progress on restitution cases.

The Charities Act 2022, which is expected to come into force this autumn, allows charities—including national museums—to dispose of objects where there is a compelling moral obligation to do so. Museums had previously been limited by the National Heritage Act 1983.

Petra Warrington, Senior Associate, provides comment for Art Net:

"The Charities Act 2022 is designed to give trustees more flexibility to manage charities effectively.  They will not have a big impact on charities’ daily operations but simplify certain areas of regulation.

‘Ex gratia’ payments are currently subject to strict rules which will be relaxed so that certain small ‘ex gratia’ payments, where a moral obligation can be demonstrated, will no longer require Charity Commission approval. All such payments will still need to be reported as required under the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (Charities SORP). This is expected to be implemented in autumn 2022.

These ‘ex gratia’ payments could extend to the return of objects from a museum’s collection, where that museum is regulated by the Charity Commission.

Given the growing increase in moral and political pressure on museums and their trustees to “do the right thing”, this new legislation provides new avenues for trustees to explore helping them to find solutions where originally the law had not provided a legal framework for restitution.  It is a very positive development."

Read the full article in Art Net here.

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