Art Law: Update on the Lost Art Database Decision of the Federal Administrative Court

Koordinierungsstelle Lost ArtIn March 2015, I had reported a decision of the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) dealing with an application to delete the entry of a painting from the Lost Art database, once it had been located. Setting aside the decisions of the First Instance Court and the Administrative Court of Appeal (Oberverwaltungsgericht), the Federal Administrative Court had decided that locating the painting was not enough for the entry to be deleted from the Lost Art database. It widened the mandate of the database and held that the painting can remain registered on the database as long as there is no clarity as to ownership (“Die Suchmeldung ist nicht schon mit dem Auffinden des Gemäldes rechtswidrig geworden, weil noch keine Klarheit über das endgültige Schicksal des Bildes besteht.”). The judgment did not convince me legally, nor did I think it did the parties a service. Continue reading

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Administrative Court Magdeburg: No Access to Files of Limbach Commission under the Freedom of Information Act

Justizzentrum_MagdeburgIn a judgment dated April 21, 2015, the Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgericht) Magdeburg held that the files of the so-called Limbach Commission or “Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property” by its full name – cannot be accessed on the basis of the German Freedom of Information Act (Informationsfreiheitsgesetz). Regular readers of this blog may recall that we reported the decision of the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) in the Hans Sachs restitution matter. The Hans Sachs restitution claims, before they were brought in court, had been dealt with by the Limbach Commission. The Limbach Commission had advised against the restitution of the Hans Sachs Collection from the German Historic Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum) to the heirs of Hans Sachs. Continue reading

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