Immunity from seizure or forfeiture

Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 15 November 2016.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage)

We now come to part 5, which is on property removed for safekeeping. It would be helpful if the Minister outlined the Government’s approach.

Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Clause 28 provides immunity from seizure and forfeiture for cultural property that is protected under article 12 of the convention—that is, property being transported to the United Kingdom for safekeeping, or en route through the UK to another destination for that purpose. The protection rightly extends to any vehicle in which such cultural property is being transported. Immunity from seizure and forfeiture is also provided for cultural property for which the UK has agreed to act as a depository under article 18 of the regulations. In that case, the property is protected while it is in the control of the Secretary of State or any other person or institution to whom the Secretary of State has entrusted it for safekeeping. However, if the property leaves the custody of that person or institution—for example, because it is stolen—it is no longer protected and may be seized by the police in order to return it.

The clause provides wide immunity from seizure and forfeiture for the cultural property to which it applies. The clause fulfils an important role in implementing our obligations under the convention and its regulations: it ensures that property entrusted to the UK for protection during a war is guaranteed to be returned. Although existing legislation already provides protection for some cultural property, most notably for state-owned property, it is not sufficiently comprehensive to meet our obligations.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 28 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 29 to 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 to 4 agreed to.

New Clause 1