The French courts have asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether auctioneers can be prevented from passing on the Artist’s Resale Right charge to buyers.
Paragraph 25 of the 2001 Resale Right directive 2001/84/CE
states that the seller should be liable but allows for EU member
states to vary that liability.
Under current UK rules, all parties to qualifying transactions
are deemed 'jointly and severally liable' for the charge, but since
its introduction in the UK in 2006, auction houses have tended to
make it a condition of purchase that the successful bidder must pay
Christie's and others introduced similar conditions in
The thinking behind it is that this policy reduces the risk of
ARR becoming a barrier to consignment.
However, the Court of Cassation, the senior court in the French
legal system, has challenged an appeal court ruling in Paris last
December by asking the EU Court of Justice to consider the
Dealers in both France and the UK resent the policy of charging
buyers at auction because in many cases it means that the trade end
up paying twice, because they feel that they cannot pass on the
charge to their own buyers when reselling.
This means that in the bulk of transactions the trade
effectively pay 8% in ARR charges on each qualifying work of art
they buy and sell.
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