Art-Law Centre


The Art-Law Centre headquartered in Geneva, pursues teaching and research activities in the field of art and cultural property law.

The Art-Law Centre's activities were first held under the auspices of the Art-Law Foundation, founded in 1991. The Centre has been fully integrated within the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva since summer 2009, while it continues to receive support from the Art-Law Foundation.

The teaching activities of the Centre are primarily intended for Bachelor and Master of Law students from the University of Geneva. A general course (“Art law and cultural property: Swiss, comparative and international aspects”) is offered each academic year. Since 2013, an advanced course (“International law on the protection of cultural property”) is also taught to master level students within the framework of the UNESCO Chair. Moreover, a more specific course entitled “The law of archaeology and museums: Swiss and international aspects” is designed for the students in the Faculty of Arts.

As for the research activities, they consist in organizing multidisciplinary and international symposia (twice a year), publications (25 volumes published in the “Studies in Art-Law” series), directing doctoral theses and participating in research programs, two of which resulted in the elaboration of:

  • the Comparative dictionary in cultural heritage law, directed by M. Cornu, J. Fromageau, C. Wallaert, Paris (CNRS Editions) 2012;
  • the “ArThemis” database on the settlement of disputes over cultural property,

The Art-Law Centre also provides consultancy to various Swiss authorities (Federal Office of Culture, cantonal museums and local cultural administrations, Swiss Commission for UNESCO, etc.) and international bodies (UNESCO, Unidroit, ICCROM, Council of Europe) within the framework of specific projects (UNESCO Committee of Experts, negotiations for the adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property of 2017, etc.).