As a member of the Belgian Royal Chamber of Antiques and Art Dealers, antiques dealers and/or art dealers offer the guarantee of their respectability and their competence. When they became a member, every member committed to refraining from any act that might be prejudicial to the Chamber or that might be likely to undermine its professional honour or the honour of the Chamber members.
This Code of Ethics contains the rules and customs of the profession with which the members must comply. Membership of the Chamber automatically entails the member’s agreement to uphold the Code of Ethics. Every member therefore undertakes to abide by the spirit and the letter of this Code. If a member should declare their disagreement, that member would be considered as resigning. If a member should fail to comply with the Code, that member would lay himself open to the disciplinary sanctions stipulated in the Chamber’s by-laws.
The profession of antiques and art dealer requires specific duties of the person practising the profession. With a view to best serving the interests of the persons involved, this activity must be carried out with the necessary expertise and diligence and in compliance with the laws and regulations in force. The latter concern, in particular, the possession of stolen, plundered or illegally exported property, fair business practices and consumer protection.
Every member will continuously do their utmost to maintain the level of their expertise and their competence in the practice of their profession in general and in their area of specialisation in particular.
The members may not knowingly engage in illegal trading in cultural property or illegally export such property. They are further required to take all necessary steps to combat such trading and exporting if ever they should be personally involved. As soon as any doubt arises regarding the origin of the property, the member must check all the sources of information reasonably available before selling the property in question.
The members must take all necessary and useful steps to identify stolen or plundered objects by consulting the registers intended for that purpose or any other reasonably accessible source of information.
The members must refrain from selling or buying objects made wholly or partly from materials subject to protection pursuant to the laws for the protection of threatened or endangered species, adopted in pursuance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The members undertake to cooperate with the appropriate authorities with a view to detecting and sanctioning any act involving illegal trading or the illegal export of cultural property or threatened or endangered species of fauna and flora.
The members will strictly comply with any legal obligation intended to combat money laundering that might apply to antiques dealers and art dealers. Generally speaking, they undertake not to take part in any transaction for which they should reasonably suspect that it gives rise to a money-laundering operation.
The members are required to respect the confidentiality required by their profession. They use the information obtained in the practice of their profession discreetly and responsibly. Any piece of confidential information shall only be communicated with the explicit agreement of the person concerned.
Specific obligations in relation to buyers
Every member has the duty to make sure of the authenticity of the objects that they put up for sale, by all the means reasonably at their disposal. That duty will be appreciated in compliance with the standards specific to each area of specialisation and according to the knowledge available at the time of the transaction. The restorations and repairs other than minor ones or those made simply to preserve the object must be brought to the knowledge of potential buyers.
Every member undertakes –without prejudice however to the duty of discretion that is required of them- to provide their potential buyers with any information enabling them to establish the material and judicial status of the objects being sold as best they possibly can.Specific obligations in relation to fellow members and to the profession
Every member has the duty to respect the integrity and the respectability of their fellow members and of the profession of antiques dealer and art dealer. The members behave in their mutual relations with collegiality, courtesy, understanding and in a spirit of mutual trust.
With the aim of upholding the respectability and the credibility of the profession of antiques dealer and art dealer, the members shall refrain from any unfair business practice or publicity or practice or publicity contrary to the profession’s customs and ethics.