Ex-mother-in-law gets windfall Chinese vase

Published on 21 November 2011 at 11:44

After a 2 years legal battle the British Andrea Calland has been forced to hand over the money she made by auctioning an exclusive Chinese vase (converted almost 267.000,--) to her ex-mother-in-law, Evelyn Galloway.


The judge ruled that the vase, that was in Andrea Callands house for 18 years, was still property of her former mother-in-law. Mrs Galloway loaned the vase 18 years ago to her son and his former partner, Ms. Calland. After their separation in 2005, the son left the joint house and left most of his goods behind.


During the process Ms. Calland said she believed that she had found the vase during her student days or been given it by her father. She then claimed that even if the vase had originally come from Mrs. Galloway, her former mother-in- law had abandoned it by not showing any interest for 18 years. Apparently Mrs. Galloway claimed the vase frequently after the breaking down of her sons marriage with her former daughter-in-law. She never reacted to it. In November 2009 Mrs. Galloway recognized the sold vase on the front page of the local paper. When Ms. Calland rejected every request for information, Ms. Galloway decided to go to Court. Last week the Court said she was right: Andrea Calland was forced to hand over the money to her former mother-in-law.


In the Netherlands the case would likely have the same result. Ms. Calland and her ex-partner loaned the vase, so they knew the mother-in-law was the owner, and they only preserved the vase for Mrs. Galloway. At the moment the ex- mother-in-law asked to return the vase, she terminated the loan and could go to Court to claim the vase when they refused to return it.


Complication is that in the mean time the vase was sold by Ms. Calland. The buyer had paid for it and would have purchased it in good faith. To Dutch law this would have meant that Ms. Galloway could not claim the vase with the buyer and was stuck with a claim for compensation for damages on Ms. Calland. That compensation for damages is apparently equal to the purchase price.


In this case it appeared that the purchase price raised explosively within thirty years.


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