Article 4

(4) In determining whether the possessor exercised due diligence, regard shall be had to all the circumstances of the acquisition, including the character of the parties, the price paid, whether the possessor consulted any reasonably accessible register of stolen cultural objects, and any other relevant information and documentation which it could reasonably have obtained, and whether the possessor consulted accessible agencies or took any other step that a reasonable person would have taken in the circumstances.

Why is due diligence so important for the art market?

Lyndel Prott in her article “The UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects – Ten Years On” portraits two moments where the due diligence standard has proved to be fundamental.

Due diligence when purchasing a cultural object.

 Due diligence when purchasing a cultural object.  The proof of due diligence in Court.

Article 4(4) requires an increased level of diligence for art market professionals. Among the professionals are: museums, auction houses, art dealers and collectors. The burden of diligence varies according to the type of market player considered. Below are listed some examples of best practices depending on the subject concerned.


ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums

American Association of Museum (AAM) Code of Ethics for Museums

Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) Code of Ethics

Asociación Española de Gestores de Patrimonios Culturales

Canadian Museums Association (CMA) Ethical Guidelines (1999)

Conselho Federal de Museologia (Brazil) Código de Ética Profissional do Museólogo 

The Museums Association (UK) Code of Ethics for Museums (2002)

Museums Australia, Inc. Museums Australia Code of Ethics (Adopted in 1984, revised in 1994 and 1999) 

The Netherlands Museums Association Code of Professional Ethics for Museums in the Netherlands

Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA) Code of Ethics for Pacific Islands Museums and Cultural Centres (2006)

South African Museums Association Code of Ethics

Related Articles: 


Auction Houses

Code of Ethics of The Auctioneers Association of New Zealand Inc.

Auctioneers Association of Ontario Code of Ethics

Auctioneers' Association of Alberta Code of Ethics

Massachusetts Auctioneers' Association Bylaws

Related Articles:


Art Dealers

ADAA Code of Ethics and Professional Practices 

ADAC Code of Ethics for Art Dealers 

Denver Art Dealers Association Code of Ethics

UNESCO International Code of Ethics for Dealers in Cultural Property

Confédération Internationale des Négociants en Oeuvres d'Art (CINOA) Guidelines

Antique Tribal Art Dealers (ATADA) Bylaws

Related Articles

P. O'Keefe, Feasibility of an International Code of Ethics for Dealers in Cultural Property for the Purpose of More Effective Control of Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property

Art Collectors

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) - Creators and Collectors Club - Policy


Other Professionals
Access: International Council of Museums Other Codes of Ethics