BADA Bye Laws

All current members of BADA are expected to conform to the Bye-laws of the Association which provide a framework within which the Council believes all good dealers should operate.

Of course BADA dealers exhibit many attributes which cannot be governed by such rules and regulations, attributes which enhance the general shopping experience, such as the passing on of advice and the special care and attention devoted to customers and clients.

Breaches of the Bye-laws are rigorously investigated. In the unlikely event that a customers believe that a breach may have occurred please write to: The Secretary General, BADA, First Floor, 21 John Street, London WC1N 2BF

Bye-law 10 (7) refers to a code concerning international trade, the most recent version of which is subscribed to by the organisations that are members of the British Art Market Federation, including BADA. This code is reproduced below the bye-laws.

BADA bye-laws

1. (1) These Bye-Laws take effect from the date when the same are approved by the Members of the Association in General Meeting pursuant to Article 49 (D) of the Articles of Association.

(2) For the purpose of these Bye-laws:-

(A) The word “antique” when applied to an object sold or offered for sale by a Member shall mean an object which:-

(a) was manufactured more than one hundred years (hereinafter called “the centenary date”) prior to the date on which it is offered for sale by the Member; and

(b) is in substantially the same condition as when originally made and has not at any time been added to or altered to any material extent whether before or after the centenary date except for the purpose of necessary repair.

(B) The words "fine or applied art" shall mean fine art or applied art of any age.

(C) The words "Antique Trade" refer to dealers in antiques, fine art or applied art.

Admission to membership

2. Until the Council otherwise determines an application for membership of the Association pursuant to Article 6 of the Articles of Association shall be sponsored by at least two members of the Association.

3. The Council may postpone the consideration of any application for membership, and, in accordance with the Articles of Association, may refuse to elect an applicant to membership without assigning any reason for such refusal.

4. An applicant for membership who is not admitted to membership shall not be eligible to make a new application for membership until after the expiration of twelve calendar months from the date of the Council Meeting at which his prior application was refused.

5. A Member of the Association may describe himself as a “Member of the British Antique Dealers’ Association” but the use of the initials “M.B.A.D.A.” after the name of a Member in connection with the business of a Member is not permitted.

6. Article 8 of the Articles of Association provides that the membership of each Member of the Association is subject to annual confirmation by the Council.

7. A Member who sponsors an application for membership must satisfy the Council:-

(a) that he is personally acquainted with the applicant and has personal knowledge of the goods in which the applicant normally deals, and

(b) must be prepared to satisfy the Council as to the eligibility of the applicant for membership in accordance with the next succeeding Bye-law.

8. The Council will determine the eligibility for membership of an applicant by reference to:-

(1) evidence that the applicant is established in business in the Antique Trade and carries a stock of antiques, fine art or applied art of a standard of quality which the Council in its absolute discretion considers to be appropriate for membership of the Association.

(2) evidence that the applicant has carried on his business in the Antique Trade for a period of not less than three years immediately preceding such application unless the Council in a particular case decides on a shorter period than three years.

(3) evidence that the applicant is a person of integrity or, being a corporation, is under the control of a person of integrity.

(4) evidence that the applicant possesses or commands the degree of knowledge required to enable the applicant to buy and when selling to describe the goods of the kind in which the applicant deals.

9. If an applicant for membership has already been refused admission to membership or has ceased to be a Member pursuant to either Article 8 or Article 9 of the Articles of Association such applicant may be required by the Council to have his application for admission sponsored by more than two members.


10. The following are to be regarded as obligations of membership of the Association and admission to membership and the annual confirmation of membership are subject to their due observance, a breach of any such obligations being regarded as likely to damage the reputation of the Association and of its Members.

(1) Any article offered for sale by a Member is to be deemed to be represented by the Member to be antique (as defined in this Bye-law) unless there is a clear indication to the contrary.

(2) Any article offered for sale which is not an antique shall either be physically segregated from the antique stock of the Member or shall be clearly labelled as not being an antique.

(3) Any article offered for sale by a Member shall have a label either affixed to or placed immediately alongside it containing:

(a) a clear and accurate description of the article; and

(b) if applicable, a proper attribution of the article; and

(c) the approximate date of manufacture of the article.

Where it is not practical to attach a label of sufficient size to contain this information a label indicating the stock book number will be acceptable.

(4) The stock carried by a Member shall at all times be of a standard of quality that is not lower than the prevailing standard of quality which the Council in its absolute discretion considers to be appropriate for admission to membership of the Association.

(5) An invoice should be given by a Member for any object sold whether such sale is to a member of the public or to another dealer. An invoice should accurately and comprehensively describe the object and should state its approximate date of manufacture, production or creation; but if an invoice is not given to the buyer or if the invoice fails to state the approximate date of manufacture, production or creation there shall be an assumption that the object was manufactured, produced or created at the date which is suggested by its appearance and character.

(6) If a Member is asked by the Council to describe an object, in respect of which no invoice which complies with paragraph (5) of this Bye-law was given on its sale by the Member, the Member shall provide the Council with any relevant information that may be requested.

(7) Each Member shall comply with the “Code of Practice for the Control of International Trading in Works of Art”, to which the Association has subscribed, including any amendments to which the Association may from time to time agree.

(8) In the event that a difference of opinion (irrespective of whether the difference arose before or after the date upon which these Bye-laws take effect) as to the authenticity of an object sold by a Member cannot be resolved between the parties to the transaction, the Member or Members involved in the difference shall agree to submit the difference to arbitration if the Council, after consideration of the circumstances, gives notice to the Member or Members involved in the difference that the submission of the same to arbitration is desirable in the interests of the Association and its objects.

(9) In connection with an arbitration required to be entered into pursuant to this Bye-law the Council may prescribe the form of the submission to arbitration, may nominate the person or persons to act as arbitrators, and give direction generally as to the conduct of the arbitration.


11. An individual (not being an individual who is eligible for membership of the Association) shall be eligible for appointment as an Associate of the Association if at the date of his application he is not less than twenty-one years of age and he has been in the employment for not less than three years of a Member of the Association. The Council may refuse to appoint an applicant as an Associate without assigning any reason for such refusal.

12. Until the Council otherwise determines an application for appointment as an Associate shall be sponsored by at least two members of the Association one of whom must be the Member who is the Employer of the applicant at the date of the application.

13. A Member who sponsors an application must satisfy the Council that he is personally acquainted with the applicant and has personal knowledge of the applicant’s experience in the Antique Trade.

14. An Associate’s appointment shall be subject to annual review by the Council (acting by a majority of the Members of the Council present at the meeting) at its first Meeting in December in each year (or if there is no such Meeting at the first Meeting of the Council thereafter) and such review shall take effect as at the 31st December in such year (hereinafter called “the Annual Date”), the first of such reviews to take place as at the annual date following his appointment. The Council shall not be required to give any reason for not confirming the appointment of an Associate but if the appointment is not confirmed the Association shall give him notice to that effect.

15. Until the Council otherwise determines an applicant on his appointment as an Associate shall pay no entrance fee but shall pay an annual subscription within 14 days of each annual date equal to one quarter of the annual subscription being paid by a member of the Association. A proportionate part of such annual subscription shall be payable in respect of the period from the date of appointment to the next following annual date.

16. The appointment of an Associate shall forthwith cease upon the happening of any of the following events:-

(A) If he resign his appointment by notice in writing to the Association.

(B) At the expiration of three months after he ceases to be employed by a member of the Association unless during such three months he has entered the employment of another member of the Association.

(C) If he becomes a Member of the Association.

(D) If he die or become incapable by reason of mental disorder of managing and administering his property and affairs and a receiver or any other person be authorised to act on his behalf or a receiving order be made against him or he make any arrangement or composition with his creditors generally.

(E) If he fail for 60 days to pay any annual subscription due from him to the Association under these Bye-laws and the Council resolve that he cease to be an Associate.

(F) On any Annual Date if the Council does not confirm his appointment.

17. Every person who is appointed an Associate shall be entitled without payment to a certificate that he has been so appointed. Every such certificate shall be delivered up to the Association on the appointment of the Associate ceasing. He shall also be entitled while he remains an Associate to receive periodically copies of the Journal issued by the Association and to such other privileges including attendance at social functions as the Council may from time to time determine.

18. An Associate shall not at any time represent himself as being a Member of the Association.


19. It is a condition of membership of the Association that a member shall not be a party to nor participate in any agreement, commonly called a “knock out” agreement, which is illegal by reason of the provisions of the Auctions (Bidding Agreements) Acts, 1927 and 1969.

20. Every Member of the Association shall be required to sign a declaration that he has read all the Bye-laws and particularly Bye-law numbered 19 and understands that compliance with them is a condition of membership of the Association. Such declaration shall be signed and returned to the Association within sixty days of its despatch by the Association. Every candidate for membership of the Association shall sign a declaration to the like effect.

Bye-laws Nos. 1-10 approved, 26th March, 1963.
Bye-laws Nos. 11-18 approved, 20th May, 1964.
Bye-laws Nos. 19-20 approved, 17th December, 1964.
Bye-laws Nos. 8 & 10 amended & approved, 6th November, 1995.
Bye-laws Nos. 1 & 10 amended & approved, 8th December, 1997.
Bye-laws Nos. 1, 8 & 10 amended & approved, 8th July, 2014

Principles of Conduct of the UK Art Market

Adopted by the British Art Market Federation, 2000

The Members of The British Art Market Federation (‘BAMF’) believe it is important to restate the principles that guide their business practices. BAMF comprises individual companies, trade associations and professional bodies (referred to below as ‘Members’) that represent a wide diversity of art market businesses throughout the United Kingdom. These businesses range from international and regional auction houses to larger dealing companies and sole proprietorships. Each type of business faces problems and concerns unique to its particular sector of the market and has practices and codes which reflect these differences. However, Members have voluntarily agreed to abide by certain basic professional standards of operation.

Below is a distillation of the common principles shared by the various codes, some of which have been in place for over 15 years. It should be noted that while the principles below are common to all Members, some Members have additional policies and rules tailored to the specific sector of the art market in which they operate. It should also be noted that the principles set forth below do not in any way supersede the previously existing codes of practice, which remain in effect.

Finally, as used below, ‘Members’ indicates that either the individual company, or the trade association or the professional body on behalf of its individual dealer or auction house members has adopted the following principles.

Good title, illegal export and illegal excavation

Members undertake not to purchase, sell or offer any item of property that they know has been:

  • stolen
  • illegally exported; or
  • illegally excavated.

Members will not purchase or sell such property unless the irregularity has been corrected.

Confirmation of Good Title

Members have agreed to ask sellers to confirm in writing that they own the property concerned and have the right to sell it free of any encumbrances.

Sellers’ details

Members have agreed to record sellers’ details, such as name and address.

Stolen property

Members have agreed to take appropriate steps if they know, suspect or have reason to believe that they are in possession of stolen property. Such steps may include conducting further inquiries by checking with a registry of stolen art, or reporting the concern to appropriate legal advisers or law enforcement authorities.

Anti-money laundering

Members have agreed to make themselves aware of relevant anti-money laundering laws and regulations and where applicable to report suspicions of money laundering to appropriate authorities and/or in-house anti-money laundering officers.

Catalogue searches

Members agree to make their catalogues available to an appropriate law enforcement authority and/or to a registry of stolen art.

Breach of these principles

Violations of Members’ respective codes will be rigorously investigated to ascertain if a breach has occurred. The appropriate party (such as senior management, a compliance department or committee, or the disciplinary body of a trade association or professional body) will evaluate any infractions and sanction the individual or company, as each case may require. Sanctions may include a warning, suspension, termination of employment or expulsion from membership of a trade association or professional body, as appropriate.