Market overt loophole to be closed

VALUABLE paintings stolen from Lincoln's Inn will this week be the subject of one of the last legal battles over the ancient law of market overt.

The legal loophole, allowing buyers to retain title to stolen goods if they are bought from certain open-air markets, is on the way out.

A private members' bill abolishing the 800-year-old law passed through Parliament in July and will come into force two months after Royal Assent.

But the change has come too late for Lincoln's Inn and its insurers General Accident (GA).

Lawyers acting for GA this week have a chambers appointment to sort out matters in the run-up to the battle for the Gainsborough and the Reynolds.

Graham Briggs, of Taylor Joynson Garrett, confirms writs have been issued against the Metropolitan Police and Jim Groves who says he bought the works in good faith.

GA will challenge Groves' claim that the purchase was made in market overt.