In June 2010, the Art-Law Centre launched a three-year research funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF): “Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in Art-Law”. The research endeavors to highlight the benefits of ADR in the art-law sector and to examine the reasons and decisive criteria that may lead litigants in art-related disputes to opt for an “out-of-court settlement”.
One of the outcomes of this research is “ArThemis”, a fully searchable online database containing case notes about disputes over cultural property. “ArThemis” focuses on disputes settled through alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR) but also examines judicial decisions. The case notes are accompanied by pertinent documents, including judgments, published agreements, pictures, etc.
We believe that “ArThemis” represents an important resource for those concerned by the problem of illicit traffic – including judges, mediators, arbitrators, practitioners, researchers and potential litigants - with telling examples that might be of guidance for the settlement of restitution cases. Moreover, “ArThemis” offers different research tools to facilitate the access to the information. One can search for a case on the basis of the dispute resolution process, the adopted solution or the type of the object, or look for a specific legal issue or a particular temporal context. To this date, “ArThemis” contains more than 70 case notes, nearly one-third of which deal with illicitly excavated and exported objects. The website of “ArThemis” has recently been reconstructed to provide a more user-friendly platform.