The Institute of Art and Law is an educational organisation giving knowledge and perspective on the law relating to cultural heritage a concept which includes art, antiquities, archives, archaeology, architecture, monuments, treasure and much, much more.  IAL's educational remit is fulfilled through publishing and courses. It convenes distance learning and intensive courses (both public and in-house) on art and museums law, as well as seminars, study groups and conferences in the United Kingdom and abroad. It also publishes monographs and commentaries on all aspects of the law relating to cultural heritage, in addition to a quarterly periodical, Art Antiquity and Law, now in its twentieth year.

The law of cultural heritage is a wide remit: it encompasses a vast range of subject matter, from copyright and art theft, to protection of buried treasure and shipwrecks, return of human remains from museum collections, restitution of illegally exported antiquities and art wrongfully taken in time of war including Holocaust-looted, archives and religious objects, through to planning regulations protecting listed buildings and scheduled monuments, and the organisation of international blockbuster exhibitions.

Internationally recognised, IAL delivers, through its educational and publishing programmes, a depth of knowledge unrivalled elsewhere.


IAL News:

Online Index for Art Antiquity and Law - 1996 to 2014 - search all back issues by subject matter

Follow us on Twitter now (@IAL_art_law) as well as the IAL blog

Forthcoming seminars and courses

International Art Loans - 7th June 2016

An afternoon seminar that will explore the legal issues surrounding international art loans, with the generous support of Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP.

Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics

This course will next be held as an intensive five-day course in September in London - commencing on 26th September.Download application form (Opens in new window)

The Diploma in Intellectual Property and Collections

will be held in London between 13th and 15th June 2016.

The Diploma in Law and Collections Management

will run again in London in the week commencing 17th October 2016: please email us if you would like to register your interest.


Recent IAL Publications:

Heritage, Ancestry and Law: Principles, Policies and Practices in Dealing with Historical Human Remains - a collection of essays examining the legal issues surrounding the treatment of human remains, their display, or otherwise, in museums, the arguments for and against retention by museums and disputes concerning the final resting place of monarchs and other historically significant figures. Order a copy at 35 pounds including UK postage.

Art, Adventure and Advocacy:

Contracts, Claims and Controversies in the World of Cultural Property
Some Legal Questions of Interest to Governments, Museums, Dealers and Collectors

by Norman Palmer QC CBE FSA

In this volume, distinguished art lawyer Professor Norman Palmer gives a bird’s eye view of contemporary issues in art claims and litigation. He outlines the legal machinery driving the cross-border movement of cultural objects and explores the title questions that come to light when art travels globally. Along the way the author explains the role of national legislation in the protection of cultural objects, and offers guidance on the drafting of art-related agreements. While the focus of this survey is on tangible art and other forms of cultural wealth, the author refers to intellectual property rights and their relationship with physical things.
This volume enables art owners and administrators, along with the communities and governments to which they answer, to develop an understanding of the vast scope and variety of art disputes. Readers will also learn the need for prudence and foresight in any dealing in art. Palmer clearly demonstrates, by use of examples, why it is preferable to take legal advice before the event than to suffer litigation and loss afterwards.

Artists' Rights: A Guide to Copyright, Moral Rights and Other Legal Issues in the Visual Arts Sphere

by Molly Torsen Stech

This book provides an overview of various ways in which the spheres of art and copyright law come into contact with one another. While copyright laws are domestic in nature, the arts are increasingly international in scope, inspiration, and dissemination. The book highlights some of the challenges inherent in this overlap, ranging from definitional discrepancies between disciplines to circumstances that would benefit from more legal clarity, domestic or otherwise, to provide appropriate guidance to creators and to the organizations that display, sell or otherwise use their artworks.

Professor Stech confronts the challenges of copyright law in the digital environment and seeks to address the challenges that are raised, not only by digitization but by new media of expression.

As international art fairs proliferate, and as artists of all disciplines inspire and build from each other's works and ideas, the role of copyright in an artist's life can only become more important. Stech introduces artists to legal concepts in the intellectual property space that could become important tools in managing their artworks now and into the future.

Supplement to Historic Environment Law by Richard Harwood QC

This Supplement analyses a raft of new provisions in this area, particularly those contained in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, including the secondary legislation.  It also updates generally, including the extensive caselaw on the historic environment policies in the National Planning Policy Framework and the statutory duty of special regard to listed buildings, changes to design and access statements, the new Scheduled Monuments policy, the Planning Practice Guidance and the creation of the Planning Court. The final changes came into force in April 2014 and are fully discussed in this Supplement.

Exploring Cultural Rights and Cultural Diversity: An Introduction with Selected Legal Materials by Janet Blake

This volume aims to introduce cultural rights and cultural diversity to a non-legal audience as well as to legal and human rights specialists who may not be familiar with this area of law - which has been termed the ‘Cinderella’ of the human rights family.


Shipwrecked Heritage: A Commentary on the UNESCO Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage (2nd edn) by Patrick J. O'Keefe

This completely updated second edition of the book originally published in 2002 examines the background to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and provides a detailed commentary on all the Articles of the Convention and the Rules contained in the Annex, clearly demonstrating the way in which the Convention seeks to regulate salvage and other activities relating to shipwrecks. The book provides contemporary examples of the impact of underwater salvage operations on the cultural heritage located beneath the surface of the oceans and the way in which the Convention can address these issues.

Reissued:Art Treasures and War by Wojciech Kowalsi

This book seeks to define the meaning of the term 'restitution' in international law in contrast with the other terms used in this area. It then considers the opinions of various lawyers and academics, and the development of rules of international law relating to the return of cultural goods, alongside a study of the development of the practice of restitution. In the light of this general discussion, specific issues receive more detailed treatment, in particular the regulations of Allied Restitution Law, which came into force in various forms and situations after the Second World War. The book concludes with a summary of the historical evolution of the legal model of restitution.
The Appendix contains a wealth of material, including the Regulation concerning confiscation of works of art in German-occupied Poland; the Inter-Allied Declaration against Acts of Dispossession; the Final Act and Annex of the Paris Conference on Reparations; Law No. 52: Blocking and Control of Property, British Zone; General Order No. 6: Declaration of Looted Property in British Zone; Law No. 59: Restitution of Identifiable Property (US Zone); Military Government Regulations, Title 18: Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives, US Zone.


Art Antiquity and Law - 2014 - December

New Copyright Exceptions in UK Law (Alexander Herman)
Unlocking Orphan Works: A New Licensing Scheme (Daniela Simone)
Centenary of the French Law on Historic Monuments (Mathilde Roellinger)
Monitoring the Implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention: Recent International and Quasi-Institutional Developments (Artemis Papathanassiou)
Wye's Jacobean Statues (Jenny Oram)
Protection of Chattels within a Listed Building: the Case of Stoclet Palace, Brussels (Marie-Sophie de Clippele with Lucie Lambrecht)

Art Antiquity and Law - 2014 - October

The Role of Bailment in Cultural Property Claims (Norman Palmer)
Salvors Strike Gold off Florida's Treasure Coast (Paul Stevenson)
Prosecuting Heritage Crime in England and the US - A Cautionary Tale (Carolyn Shelbourn)
Stefan Karadzha's Tombstone in the Baba Tonka House Museum (Nikolay Nenov)
Case Notes
Levy v. Watt (The Perils of Not Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth) (Alexander Herman)
Ronald v. Duke of Buccleuch (Recovery of Stolen Art and the Payment of Rewards) (Katharine Mason)
Flos v. Semeraro (Copyright Protection for Designs: the Approach of the Italian Courts and Italian Law) (Antonella Barbieri and Federica De Santis Stampa)
Artpower Ltd & Anor v. Bespoke Couture Ltd (Terminating a Bespoke Agreement) (Katharine Mason)
Rolfe v. Investec Bank (Pandora's Boxes: the Duty of the Bailee) (Australia) Ltd (Katharine Mason)
Discord between the Diocesan Committee and Consistory Court over Heritage Bells (Zehrah Hasan)

Art Antiquity and Law - 2014 - July

The Notion of Verifiable Links in the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (Thijs J. Maarleveld)
Repatriation of Antiquities to Sub-Saharan Africa: the Agony and the Ecstasy (Folarin Shyllon)
Seller Beware? Consumer Protection in Art Transactions (Gregor Kleinknecht and Petra Williams-Lescht)
Databases on Lost and Stolen Art: Is Consulting a Database an Inherent Requirement of Good Faith?
(Nina M. Neuhaus and Sophie Balay)
The Fake Chagall, The Asphalt Jungle and Moral Rights in France (Alexander Herman)
Case Notes
Ecclestone v. Khyami (Fast Cars, Gifts and Conversion) (Katharine Mason)
Hillary and Hillary v. Hillary (Auction Houses and Disputed Title) ( Alexander Herman)

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Art Antiquity and Law - 2014 - April

An Assessment of the US and China's Memorandum of Understanding for 2014 (Mia Logan)
Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Monuments Men and the Discovery of the Munich Art Trove (Alexander Herman)
Unclaimed Art and the Duty of Active Pursuit: Cornelius Gurlitt and the Hidden Hoard (Norman Palmer)
Art Authentication: Protection of Art Experts from a Swiss Perspective (Nina Neuhaus)
Black Sea Tomb Raiders and the Practice of Global Cultural Exchange: Revisiting the Ethics and Responsibility of Museums (Andrzej Jakubowski)
Case notes: R (on the application of Rudewicz v Secretary of State for Justice (Human Remains: Factors Governing Decisions to Disinter) (Katharine Mason)
Gaydamak v. Leviev (Agency and the Enforceability of Agreements) (Katharine Mason)
Kurtha v. Marks (Limitation Periods and Good Faith) (Katharine Mason)

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In the December 2013 issue:
Spoilage of Cultural Property in Mali (Afolasade Abidemi Adewumi)
The Restitution of Cultural Property in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Shea Esterling)
Chabad Sacred Texts, Russian-American Art Loans and a Tall Ship Named Hope: Beyond Cold War over a Restitution Claim? (Patricia Kennedy Grimsted)
Case notes: Executors of Lord Howard of Henderskelfe (deceased) v. Revenue and Customs Commissioners (Wasting Assets) (Elizabeth Emerson)
Avrora Fine Arts Investments Ltd v. Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd (Split Trials) (Katharine Mason)