The following principles apply when submitting a case for binding opinion:

  • The current owner and (the successors to) the former owner decide jointly to enlist the help of the Committee.
  • The parties agree that they will accept the opinion to be issued as binding.
  • The parties submit their application in writing to the Minister for Education, Culture and Science through the Restitutions Committee. To do so, they must send a letter to the Restitutions Committee, signed by the owner of the claimed work (or their representative) and the representative of the party claiming the work. The parties may also submit the application in two separate letters.

The letter/letters must address the following questions:

  • Which artwork is involved?
  • Where is the artwork (in which museum/collection)?
  • Who are the parties? This refers to the current legal owner (e.g. an association or a provincial/municipal body), on the one hand, and the party claiming the artwork on the grounds of former ownership, on the other.
  • Who are the representatives of both parties and what are their contact details? For example, a museum director may be representing the current owner and a member of the former owner’s family may be representing the other party.

The application must include the following documents:

  • On the part of the current owner’s representative (if there is one): a power of attorney from the owner of the claimed artwork or a formal document showing that the representative has power of disposition.
  • On the part of the former owner's legal successors: a notarial certificate of inheritance, or an equivalent document issued by a judicial authority, revealing who are entitled to the property of the former owner. Applicants from common law countries must submit a legal opinion relating to this. In the case of an art gallery, a transcript from the register of companies of the Chamber of Commerce must also be submitted.

Once the Committee has received the joint application, plus appendices, from the parties, it forwards the application to the Minister for OCW. According to the Decree establishing the Restitutions Committee, the Minister must agree with the Committee’s advisory procedure. Normally, this formality will take place without the parties being aware of it.

More information about the procedure can be found on this page.

You can download sample letters below.