Derek Fincham

Professor of Law

B.A., University of Kansas
J.D., Wake Forest University
Ph.D., University of Aberdeen College of Law

Areas of Expertise

  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Cultural Heritage Law
  • Legal Research & Writing



Office: 637T

Dr. Fincham joined the South Texas College of Law Houston faculty in 2010, and teaches Legal Research and Writing; and Art Law. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a Westerfield Fellow at Loyola University in Orleans. He is a frequent faculty advisor to moot court teams at the College. After earning his J.D. at Wake Forest University he undertook comparative research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, earning his Ph.D. in 2008 for his thesis: “Preventing and Repairing These Losses: The Response of the United States and the United Kingdom to the Illicit Trade in Cultural Property”.

Fincham serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Cultural Property. He has presented talks on his research to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, at Stanford Law School, the University of Siena, the University of Leicester, and elsewhere.


Art, Antiquities, and Money Laundering, 111 Ky. L.J. 309 (2022-2023).

The Personal Rights of Artists, 59 Hous. L. Rev. 1013 (2022).

Assessing the Viability of Blockchain to Impact the Antiquities Trade, 37 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 605 (2019).

The Blood Antiquities Convention as a Paradigm for Cultural Property Crime Reduction, 37 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 299 (2019).

Can Blockchain Technology Disrupt the Trade in Illicit Antiquities?  14 SciTech Law., Winter 2018 at 4.

Intentional Destruction And Spoliation Of Cultural Heritage Under International Criminal Law, 23 U.C. Davis J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 149 (2017).

Authenticating Art by Valuing Art Experts, 86 Miss. L.J. 567 (2017).

How Law Defines Art, 14 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 314 (2015).

The Rescue, Stewardship, and Return of the Lysi Frescoes by the Menil Foundation, 22 Int’l J. Cultural Prop. 301 (2015).

The Syrian Conflict and the Proposed “Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act”, 2015 Santander Art & Culture L. Rev. 63. https://www.ejournals.eu/SAACLR/2015/2%282015%29/art/6783/ (published online 2016)

Transnational Forfeiture Of The Getty Bronze, 32 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 471 (2014).

The Parthenon Sculptures And Cultural Justice , 23 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 943 (2013).

Justice And The Cultural Heritage Movement: Using Environmental Justice To Appraise Art And Antiquities Disputes , 20 Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. 43 (2012).

The Distinctiveness of Property and Heritage , 115 Penn St. L. Rev. 641 (2011).

Deaccession of Art and the Public Trust , 16 J. of Art, Antiquity & L. 1 (2011) (Peer Reviewed)

Navigating the Deaccession Crisis , 85 St. John’s L. Rev. _____ (NOT Published – see Deaccession of Art and the Public Trust).

Towards A Rigorous Standard For The Good Faith Acquisition Of Antiquities , 37 Syracuse J. Int’l. L. & Com. 145 (2010).

An Empty Frame: Thinking about Art Crime , 1 J. Art Crime (regular column, 2009-).

How Adopting The Lex Originis Rule Can Impede The Flow Of Illicit Cultural Property , 32 Colum. J.L. & Arts 111 (2008).

A Coordinated Legal and Policy Approach to Undiscovered Antiquities: Adapting the Cultural Heritage Policy of England and Wales to Other Nations of Origin , 15 Int’l J. Cultural Prop. 347 (2008).

Why U.S. Federal Criminal Penalties For Dealing In Illicit Cultural Property Are Ineffective, and a Pragmatic Alternative , 25 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 597 (2007).

Rejecting Renvoi for Movable Cultural Property: The Islamic Republic of Iran v. Denyse Berend , 14 Int’l J. Cultural Prop. 111 (2007).


Book Review, 23 Int’l J. Cultural Prop. 115 (2016) (reviewing, Christa Roodt, Private International Law, Art And Cultural Heritage, 2015),

Book Review , Bryn Mawr Classical Rev., May 28, 2008 at https://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2008/2008-05-28.html (reviewing, The Acquisition and Exhibition of Classical Antiquities, Professional, Legal, and Ethical Perspectives: a Symposium Held at the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, February 24, 2007 (Robin F. Rhodes ed. 2007)


North American Cultural Heritage Law, in The Oxford Handbook of International Cultural Heritage Law (Francioni & Vrdoljak eds.) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020).

The Knoedler Art Forgery Network, in The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime (London: Palgrave MacMillan 2019).

Two Ways of Policing Cultural Heritage, in Protecting Cultural Heritage as a Common Good of Humanity: A Challenge for Criminal Justice 85‐92 (Stefano Manacorda and Arianna Visconti eds.) (International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, 2014).

Social Norms and Illicit Cultural Heritage , in Enforcing International Cultural Heritage Law 206-227 (Francesco Francioni and James Gordley eds. 2013, Oxford Univ. Press)

Iran v. Barakat: Iran Wins Barakat Appeal , in Witnesses to History: a Compendium of Documents and Writings on the Return of Cultural Objects 388 (Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2009).

The Fundamental Importance of Archaeological Context , in Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Noah Charney, ed.)(Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2009).


France Decides to Return Tattooed Maori Remains , Illicit Cultural Prop. (May 14, 2010). https://illicit-culturalproperty.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html .


Protecting Cultural Heritage as a Common Good of Humanity: A Challenge for Criminal Justice, United Nations Office for a Drugs and Crime Cultural Heritage Conference, November 2014.

International Cooperation: Opportunities and Challenges: Two ways of policing cultural heritage , ISPAC International Conference on “Protecting Cultural Heritage as a Common Good of Humanity: a Challenge for Criminal Justice”, Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy (Dec. 2013).

Conference Organizer and moderator, the Fifth Annual ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime, Amelia, Italy (June 2013).

Italian Efforts to Seize the Getty Bronze in Italy at the Vulnerability and Cultural Heritage Conference at the University of Leicester, May 9th & 10th 2013.

Conference Organizer and moderator, the Fourth Annual ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime, Amelia, Italy (June 2012).

Keynote Speech: An Introduction to Art Crime , Arthattack Conference, University of Guelph (Mar. 9, 2012).

Using Cultural Justice to Promote Respect and Access as Museums Enter the Digital Age at the Stanford University Cantor Arts Center, Ruth K. Franklin Symposium on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (Jan. 21, 2012).

Conference Organizer and moderator, Annual ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime, Amelia, Italy (July 2011).

Social Norms and Cultural Heritage a presentation at a symposium titled Defending Aphrodite: Enforcing International Cultural Property Law sponsored by Tulane Law School and the European University Institute, Siena, Italy (June 3-4, 2011).

Moderator and Panelist: The Difficulty in Using Criminal Offences to Police the Antiquities Trade American Society of Criminology 2010 Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA (Nov. 2010).

Forged Antiquities: Preventing their Sale and Display , The ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime, Amelia, Italy, July 2009.

Fraud on Our Heritage: A Rigorous Standard for the Good Faith Acquisition of Antiquities , University of Chicago Cultural Property Center Invited Symposium Presentation, May 2009.

Can Increased Criminal Penalties Ever Substantially Impact the Illicit Trade in Antiquities: What the US can learn from UK Cultural Policy , British Society of Criminology, Huddersfield England, July 2008.

Financial Innovations Law, Developing Archaeological Discovery and Conservation, organized by the Milken Institute and the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center, Los Angeles, California, Jan. 2008.

The Lex Situs Rule: A Poor Tool for Combating the Illicit Art and Antiquities Trade , The Institute of Art and Law, London, U.K, Dec. 2007.

New Strategies for Source and Market Regulation of the International Trade in Cultural Property , International Law and Trade Conference: Bridging the East-West Divide. Istanbul, Turkey, Bilgi University School of Law, May 2007.

A Legal and Ethical Evaluation of the Dispute between Italy and the Getty regarding the Bronze Statue of a Victorious Youth , Aberdeen Legal Research Society, March 2007.

Freedom of Expression or Religious Tolerance: The Danish Cartoon Controversy , Aberdeen Legal Research Society, Nov. 2006.

CV (PDF format)