The National Gallery adheres to the principles of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The obligations and principles under this treaty are reflected in the international and Australian codes of museum ethics that the National Gallery subscribes to.
The National Gallery is also subject to Australian legislation including the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. In 2014 the Ministry for the Arts released the Australian Best Practice Guide to Collecting Cultural Material. The guide outlines the legal obligations and ethical standards to which Australia’s public collecting institutions should adhere when acquiring and borrowing cultural material. The National Gallery is committed to ensuring the guidelines are followed.