Art & Cultural Property

We advise and act for and against institutions, auctions houses, dealers and collectors.

Chambers is a leading set specialising in art & cultural property. Members who practise in this field have extensive experience as advisers and in litigation in the High Court and in relevant tribunals including the Spoliation Advisory Panel and the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, covering a wide range of matters including:

  • disputed questions of ownership and title
  • restitution of looted art national treasures
  • misattribution of works of art
  • contractual, breach of warranty and professional negligence claims involving agents, auction houses and dealers
  • advising on taxation, trusts and settlements of works of art and family heirlooms
  • advising and drafting of sale and purchase agreements, art loans and other bailments and applications for export licences

Some leading cases in the public domain in which members have acted include:

  • The matter of the Elgin Marbles
  • Day v Royal College of Music
  • Thwaytes v Sotheby’s
  • Avrora Fine Art Investment Limited v Christie Manson and Woods
  • Spencer v S Franses Ltd
  • Re Rubens’s Coronation of the Virgin (Spoliation Advisory Panel)

Some members have extensive experience in ecclesiastical law, including faculty petitions in relation to important Anglican cultural property and litigation in the consistory court and the Court of Arches. Mark Blackett-Ord is Chancellor of the Diocese of Leicester and David Rees KC is the Deputy Chancellor.