Janet Ulph

Professor Janet UlphProfessor of Commercial Law
Email: janet.ulph@le.ac.uk
Telephone: 0116 252 2363

Personal details

  • LLM (Harvard Law School, USA), LLM (Cantab), Solicitor
  • Editor of the book reviews section of the Journal of Business Law
  • Special Assessor to the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund
  • Peer reviewer and member of awards panels for the AHRC and ESRC
  • Co-convenor of the Art, Culture and Heritage stream at the SLSA annual conference

My teaching and research interests lie in the field of moveable property. My book Commercial Fraud: Civil Liability, Human Rights, and Money Laundering (Oxford University Press, 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 publication “Retaining Proprietary Rights at Common Law through Mixtures and Changes” was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in B.M.P. Global Distribution Inc. v Bank of Nova Scotia, 2009 SCC 15 (CanLII).

In 2014 I stepped down as Academic Director in the School of Law to take up an AHRC Leadership Fellowship carrying out interdisciplinary work on the legal and ethical aspects of museum collections. I produced guidance for the museum sector on curatorially motivated disposals, considering in particular the situation where legal title was uncertain.

In 2016, I was a member of a working party led by the Arts Council and the Museums Association which produced ethical guidelines relating to closure of museums. This work with the museum sector built upon a previous AHRC/ESRC Placement Fellowship. I worked at the Museums Association to provide guidance relating to financially motivated sales from collections; this now forms an appendix to the Disposals Toolkit.

I received a Leverhulme Fellowship to support my research which led to the publication of The Illicit Trade In Cultural Property: Money Laundering, Criminal and Civil Liability, and Recovery by Hart Publishing in 2012. I also provided commentary on the recovery of a statue which had been smuggled out of Libya in 2015.

In 2020, I was involved in drafting guidance with the Institute of Art and Law relating to the restitution and repatriation of items from museum collections; this work was supported by a grant from Arts Council England.

I put forward proposals for law reform relating to museum collections to the Law Commission and the Government and these proposals now form part of the Law Commission’s 13th Programme of Law Reform 2017 (Law Com, No 377) 2.27 – 2.29.


  • 2019. ‘Reviewing Due Diligence Measures in the Art Market’ chapter 26 in V. Mitsilegas and S. Hufnagel (eds) Research Handbook in Transnational Crime (Edward Elgar, 2019)  Publishers site
  • 2018. ‘Acquiring Fossils: A Complex Picture’ The Geological Curator 10 (10) : 517 - 521. Available online
  • 2017. “Frozen in Time: Orphans and Uncollected Objects in Museum Collections” International Journal of Cultural Property (2017) 24, 1-28. Open access version
  • 2016. “The Museums Association’s Code of Ethics 2015” (2016) XXI (2) Art Antiquity and Law 143 – 156. Open access version
  • 2015. “Dealing with UK Museum Collections: Law, Ethics and the Public/Private Divide” International Journal of Cultural Property Issue 2-3 / August 2015, pp 177-204. Open access version
  • 2013. ‘The Sale of Items in Museum Collections’ in N. Hopkins (ed), Modern Studies in Property Law, Volume 7. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • 2012. The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities: International Recovery and Criminal and Civil Liability. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • 2011. Markets and Responsibilities: Forgeries and the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Journal of Business Law 261 – 281.
  • 2010. Confiscation orders, human rights, and penal measures. Law Quarterly Review 126: 251-279.
  • Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Full Publication List (PDF)

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