British Museum Act 2021
2021 CHAPTER 3An Act to make provisions for the return of artefacts to the place of origin, and to vest necessary authority to the Trustees of the British Museum to make such returns, and for connected purposes.
|Author(s)||The Rt Hon Sir Gorban Smiljić OOBC MP|
|Amended by||Sir Charles Gladstone|
|First reading||2021 February 13|
|Royal assent||2021 March 8|
|Commencement||2021 March 8|
|Affected legislation||British Museum Act 1963|
Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
A region of special historical significance is a region that is judged to have a unique spirutal or cultural history associated with the initial owners of the objects, d does not have to be in the country now occupying the territory of that nation. If experts find significant regional historical significance return to that region takes precedence over return to the country of origin. This has to be judged and voted on by a majority of 10 experts in the field of study of the field to which the object belongs and historians of the period. Objects may have been found outside current borders of a nation and returned to a nation outside those borders in the case of significant historical or ethnic changes, genocide or other special significance to a certain nation.
2 Amendments to Existing Acts
In the British Museum Act 1963, Section 5, Subsection (1), insert new clauses (c) and (d) after clause (b) as follows and rename following clauses: -
“c. the country of origin of the object has requested the return of the object, and that it is in the opinion of the Trustees that the country of origin has taken appropriate measures to ensure the safe transfer and storage of the object and that the country of origin has a good human rights record, or
“d. a regional authority with the special historical significance to the object has requested the return of the object, such a claim has been supported by a majority of 10 experts called in the field, and that it is in the opinion of the Trustees and the expert panel that the country of origin has taken appropriate measures to ensure the safe transfer and storage of the object and that regional authority has a good human rights record, or"
3 Composition of the Panel of Experts
- The appointments of the expert panel must meet these conditions:
- All of the 10 experts must be noted and authoritative experts in their field;
- That they can demonstrate knowledge and expertise on matters relating to the object(s);
- That at least 2 of these experts are experts in the politics or history of the nations involved in the bid for the object(s);
- That the panel covers a sufficiently broad range of academic opinion and debate on the issue and is not weighted merely to one interpretation or academic opinion;
- That the experts are fully seperated from the diplomatic goals of the government and are not employed by the Foreign Office;
- The British Museum can employ more experts than 10, up to 20, if it feels it is impossible to meet these goals within the number, and is allowed to collect tesimionies from unlimited number of experts for the panel to examine.
- At no such time should the trustees or the government pressurise, intimidate or seek to influence the outcome of the expert panel.
- If any of these clauses are found to be broken by a court, the decision is voided and the process must restart with a new panel.
4 Short Title, Commencement, and Extent
- This Act can be cited as the British Museum Act 2021
- This Act comes into force on the passing of this Act.
- This Act extends to the entirety of the UK.