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Ag Of New Zealand V. Ortiz Notes

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This is an extract of our Ag Of New Zealand V. Ortiz 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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AG

OF

NEW ZEALAND V. ORTIZ

FACTS This great door was lost for centuries in a swamp near Waitara in the province of Taranaki in North Island. Then in 1972 a Maori tribesman called Manukonga, whilst cutting a track through the swamp, came upon it and carried it to his home. In the next year, 1973, there came to New Zealand Lance Entwistle, the third defendant. He was from London and was a dealer in primitive works of art. He got to know of this carving and went to see it. He realised at once that it was of much value. It was of the highest importance to the study of Maori art and civilisation and Polynesian sculpture. He persuaded Manukonga to sell it to him for the sum of $6,000. He took it up to Auckland and then across to New York. George Ortiz went to New York to see it. Lance Entwistle told him that it had been exported from New Zealand without a permit but nevertheless he was the owner of it and could pass a good title to it. Thereupon, on April 23, 1973, George Ortiz bought this carving from Lance Entwistle for U.S. $65,000. It was sent to Geneva by air and was kept by George Ortiz in his collection there. In October 1977 the daughter of George Ortiz was kidnapped. In order to raise money for her release, he sent his art collection to Sotheby's, the second defendants, in London for sale by auction. Sotheby's prepared an attractive catalogue. It contained a fine coloured picture of this carving. It was the principal item in the sale. Sotheby's announced that the auction was to be held on Thursday, June 29, 1978. This came to the notice of the New Zealand Government. Their Attorney-General at once on June 26, 1978 - three days before the sale - issued a writ claiming a declaration that this carving belonged to the New Zealand Government and an injunction to prevent the sale or disposal of it. QUESTIONS (1) Whether... Her Majesty the Queen has become the owner and is entitled to possession of the carving... pursuant to the provisions of the [New Zealand] Historic Articles Act 1962 and the Customs Acts 1913 and 1966; (2) Whether in any event the provisions of the said Acts are unenforceable in England as being foreign penal, revenue and/or public laws. HOLDING LORD DENNING

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