Rejecting Renvoi for Movable Cultural Property: The Islamic Republic of Iran v. Denyse Berend
Fincham, D. (2007), ‘Rejecting Renvoi for Movable Cultural Property: The Islamic Republic of Iran v. Denyse Berend’, International Journal of Cultural Property 14 (1), 111-120.
This paper examines the attempts by Iran to secure the return of an ancient limestone relief from the city of Persepolis. Iran brought suit in the United Kingdom where the fragment was slated for auction. It attempted a novel private international doctrine called Renvoi to ask an English court to consider how a French court would apply Iranian law. The attempt was unsuccessful, but may point to a future potential remedy for claimants, and it illustrates how art buyers can use the passage of time and multiple legal systems to create ownership in an antiquity which has been looted.