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Islamic Republic Of Iran V. Berend Notes

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This is an extract of our Islamic Republic Of Iran V. Berend document, which we sell as part of our Conflict of Laws BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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ISLAMIC REPUBLIC

OF

IRAN V. BEREND

FACTS The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to recover the fragment as part of a national monument to which it claims entitlement in accordance with certain legal provisions dating from the first half of the twentieth century. The defendant, Mme Denyse Berend, resists the claim primarily on the basis that she had acquired title in the fragment after it was sold to her through an agent at a New York auction in October 1974. (It is perhaps worth noting that the vendor had himself also acquired the piece at public auction in New York in May 1974.) It is submitted that, in accordance with French domestic law, the defendant acquired title in good faith when it was delivered to her in Paris on 10 November 1974. Alternatively, it is submitted that she would have acquired title by prescription after 30 years' possession in November 2004. The fragment is here in the safe keeping of Christie's to whom it was delivered in January 2005 (after an export licence was obtained from the French government). It was due to be sold by Christie's in London on 20 April 2005 but, on the day before, an injunction was granted by Silber J in favour of Iran. That is where matters now stand and how it comes about that the claim is brought in this jurisdiction. Points of agreement between the parties

1. The fragment was the property of the Claimant immediately before it was exported from Iran.

2. The Defendant does not rely on any fact or event as defeating the Claimant's title to the fragment prior to her alleged acquisition of possession in Paris in November 1974.

3. As a matter of English law and of French law the fragment is to be characterised as movable property.

4. If, as a matter of French law, Iranian law governs the question whether the Defendant's alleged acquisition of possession of the fragment in November 2004 [sic] and/or any subsequent events or lapse of time prior to April 2005 confer title on the Defendant, the Claimant retains title to the fragment.

5. The general rule in French law is that title to a movable is governed by the lex situs, ie. the law where the object is situated at the time of the event(s) said to confer title.

6. The French lex situs rule is a rule of judge made law. QUESTIONS

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