Emeritus Professor Janet Ulph

Professor of Commercial Law

School/Department: Leicester Law School



After graduating from Nottingham University and qualifying as a solicitor, I was awarded Fellowships to support my studies for LL.M. degrees at Cambridge University and Harvard Law School in the USA. My research focus is upon moveable property law, particularly cultural property law. I acted as Academic Director for Leicester Law School between 2011-2014. I became an Emeritus Professor in September 2021.


My book Commercial Fraud: Civil Liability Human Rights and Money Laundering (OUP, 2006) was supported by an AHRC award and was cited with approval by the Court of Appeal in R v Glatt [2006] EWCA Crim 605 and three judgments at first instance. My article “Retaining Proprietary Rights at Common Law through Mixtures and Changes” Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly (2001) 4: 449-456, was cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada in B.M.P. Global Distribution Inc. v Bank of Nova Scotia 2009 SCC 15 (CanLII). I am the main author of The Illicit Trade In Cultural Property: Money Laundering Criminal and Civil Liability and Recovery (Hart Publishing, 2012). It was supported by a Leverhulme Fellowship. I received an AHRC/ESRC Placement Fellowship in 2012 to work with the Museums Association on guidance for museums in relation to sales and transfers of collection items. In 2014 I obtained an AHRC Leadership Fellowship in relation to the legal and ethical aspects of managing museum collections. I produced pdf guidance for museums regarding collections management which is available to download from the Museums Association’s website. In 2016 I was a member of a team which produced guidance relating to closure of museums. In 2020, I acted as consultant in relation to the Arts Council’s Restitution and Repatriation: A Practical Guide for Museums in England (2023).


  • Ethics and the Art Trade, chapter 10 in Antoinette Maget Dominice, Sophie Vigneron and Janet Ulph (eds) Research Handbook on Art, Culture and Heritage (Edward Elgar, 2025, forthcoming).
  • The Significance of the Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property 2017, chapter 1  by Janet Ulph and Sophie Vigneron in Michelle D. Fabiani, Kate Melody Burmon, Saskia Hufnagel (eds) Cultural Property Crime and the Law – legal approaches to protection, repatriation and countering illicit trade (Routledge, 2024)
  • Article 10 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention: National Measures Related to Non-State Actors, chapter 19 in AF Vrdoljak, A Jakubowski and A Chechi (eds) Oxford Commentary on the 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions (OUP, 2024) 
  • Reviewing Due Diligence Measures in the Art Market chapter 26 in V. Mitsilegas, S. Hufnagel and A. Moiseienko (eds) Research Handbook in Transnational Crime (Edward Elgar, 2019)  
  • Acquiring Fossils: A Complex Picture (2018) 10 (10) The Geological Curator 517 - 521. 
  • Frozen in Time: Orphans and Uncollected Objects in Museum Collections (2017) 24 International Journal of Cultural Property, 1-28. 
  • Dealing with UK Museum Collections: Law, Ethics and the Public/Private Divide (2015) Issue 2-3, International Journal of Cultural Property, 177-204. 
  • The Sale of Items in Museum Collections in N. Hopkins (ed), Modern Studies in Property Law, Volume 7 Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2013). 
  • The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities: International Recovery and Criminal and Civil Liability (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2012).
  • Markets and Responsibilities: Forgeries and the Sale of Goods Act 1979, (2011) Journal of Business Law 261 - 281.
  • Confiscation orders, human rights, and penal measures (2010) Law Quarterly Review 126: 251-279. 
  • Commercial Fraud: Civil Liability, Human Rights, and Money Laundering (Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • Transactions at an Undervalue, Purchasers and the Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 (senior co-author) (2004) Journal of Business Law 1: 1-33. 
  • Retaining Proprietary Rights at Common Law through Mixtures and Changes (2001) 4 Lloyds Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 449-456.
  • Sale and Lease-Back Agreements in a World of Title Relativity (2001) Modern Law Review  64(3): 481-488. 
  • Conflicts of Title and the Obligations of the Seller in E. McKendrick (ed) Sale of Goods (Lloyd’s Commercial Law Library, 2000) 168-288.
  • Good Faith and Due Diligence in N. Palmer and E. McKendrick (eds) Interests in Goods (Lloyds of London, 1998) 403-427.
  • Recovering Stolen Art or Tracing the Proceeds of Sale in N. Palmer (ed) Recovering Stolen Art. Palmer (Kluwer, 1998) 67-81.
  • Exercising Due Diligence in Art Transactions (1998) Art Antiquity and Law III: 323-344.
  • The Proprietary Consequences of an Excess Delivery (1998) Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 4-9.
  • The Proprietary Consequences of Failure - A Comment in Francis Rose (ed) The Failure of Contracts (Hart Publishing, 1997) 90-100.
  • Art in Police Custody: The Police (Property) Act 1897 in Context (co-writer: N. Palmer) (1997) Art, Antiquity and Law II: 3-12.
  • Title Obligations and Barter: Too Many Short Cuts?’ (1997) Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 12-17.
  • The First Australian Textbook on Restitution [1997] Restitution Law Review, 229, 242-243. Co-contributors: P. Birks, A. Burrows, J. Beatson, et al.
  • Equitable Proprietary Rights in Insolvency: the Ebbing Tide? (1996) Journal of Business Law 482-506.
  • The Sale of Goods (Amendment) Act, Co-ownership and the Rogue Seller (1996) Lloyds Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 93-107.
  • Harmony in the Law: Hitting the Target? (1995) Trust Law International 9: 86-90.
  • The Role of Law in Japanese Society (1992) Nottingham Law Journal 1: 18-26.
  • Local Government. Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (Butterworths, 1991).
  • French Law Part 2: The Law of 5 July 1985 (1988) 85 The Law Society’s Gazette, 28-30.
  • Contributory Negligence in French Law (1988) 85 The Law Society’s Gazette, 31-32.

Press and media

I am an expert in relation to the law and ethics affecting the illicit trade in cultural property and sales, transfers, acquisitions and other dealings with museum collections.


I am the co-convenor with Dr. Sophie Vigneron of the Art Culture and Heritage stream at the SLSA annual conference.


Over the last 15 years, I have been awarded: (i) a Leverhulme Fellowship to study the illicit trade in cultural property, (ii) an AHRC/ESRC Placement Fellowship to work with the Museums Association  on legal and ethical guidance relating to sales and transfers from museum collections, and (iii) an AHRC Leadership Fellowship to provide guidance on the legal and ethical status of museum collections and (iv) an award from the Arts Council to act as consultant in relation to guidance on restitution and repatriation.   


Numerous academic conferences. For example, Ethics of Heritage Protection at a McGill-Sapienza Seminar, Heritage in War and Peace II, Spaces of Conflict, Spaces of Justice, Montréal, Canada, November 3-4, 2022.

I have been a member of an expert panel at various workshops held for the benefit of museums and organised by various public bodies including the UK Registrars Group, the Collections Trust, and the Museums Association.  



LL.M. (Harvard) LL.M. (Cantab) Solicitor

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