Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics

What is the Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics (DipAPLE)?

An intensive, interactive course from the Institute of Art and Law designed to introduce both art professionals and lawyers to the specific legal risks and safeguards that underpin all art transactions.  It covers buying and selling, lending and borrowing, donating and accepting, disposing and giving away.  It teaches how to avoid legal trouble and how to get the legal advantage.

In order to book a spot on a future instalment, download the application form and return it to us.

When will it be held?

The current instalment of this course has been running since October 2017. It will run over seven months with teaching taking place one Saturday each month. The dates are as follows: 7 October 2017, 4 November 2017, 2 December 2017, 6 January 2018, 10 February 2018, 10 March 2018 and 24 March 2018. For further details on the content breakdown, see below.

Who qualifies?
It is open to both lawyers and non-lawyers.  Applicants should either hold a recognised law degree or possess relevant experience in the field of art or antiquities. Numbers will be limited in order to allow participative discussions.

It will be assessed by means of three written assignments, each numbering 3,000 words.

Where are the seminars held?
Notre Dame University, London Campus, 1 Suffolk St, London, SW1Y 4HG.

Who will be teaching the seminars?
The seminars will be led by Alexander Herman (Assistant Director, IAL) and Emily Gould (Senior Researcher, IAL). Guest speakers will include leading members of the legal profession and others with expertise in their respective areas, including Luke Harris (barrister, 5 Stone Buildings), Charley Hill (former head of the Metropolitan Police’s Art & Antiques unit), Tony Baumgartner (partner, Clyde & Co LLP), Hetty Gleave (partner, Hunters Solicitors), Tom Lewis (Nottingham Trent University), Luke Harris (barrister, 5 Stone Buildings) and others.

Course Fees
£1,800 including VAT (£1,500 ex. VAT) – discounts are available for IAL members and UKRG members.


Subject to slight change

Day 1 – Title and Civil Recovery

How do people prove they have ownership of cultural objects?  Do finders get title?  What about buyers of stolen goods, or people who inherit looted antiquities, or receive them as gifts?  What are your rights if you do not get title?  Where do art lenders and bailees fit into the picture?  How do the victims of art theft recover their property?  What are the main steps in going to court?  How can claims be successfully resisted? Are innocence, good faith or due diligence a defence?  What is interpleader and who can work it? Can you kill off people’s title by buying and selling their art in an overseas country?  How do limitation periods work?  Can you bring a negligence claim for the misattribution of a work, either by an auction house or an individual?

Day 2 – Art Crime

What crimes might the art professional commit or fall victim to when dealing in art or antiquities?  What happens in England to people accused of crimes in overseas countries?  What happens to art in the possession of the police if no prosecution or conviction occurs?  What is criminal property and what happens to it?

Day 3 – Repatriation and Restitution

What is the impact of international cultural property conventions on the trade in looted antiquities? Where do law and government stand on claims for return of holocaust-related art, or sacred objects looted in past centuries, or human remains?  Should the market deal in such material?  Is there such a thing as moral title?  Does it outweigh legal title and what is its commercial clout?  When should and could institutions return looted cultural objects, even when the looting occurred in the distant past?   What is the impact of repatriation policy on auction houses and dealers?  What should traders do if a holocaust provenance is revealed?

Day 4 – Dispute Resolution and Museum Ethics

Is compliance with the law enough or is there a higher standard of behaviour?  What are the alternatives to going to law?  Is law becoming defunct in art-related disputes? Are there possibilities of mediation in art-related dispute? How satisfactory will the outcome be? What effect will an ethical code have on a museum or gallery? Are ethical obligations in relation to cultural property “legally” binding?


Day 5 – Managing Cultural Assets

How do we understand a contract when it involves the loan or sale of valuable artefacts or works of art? What are the best practices for ‘sealing the deal’ when it comes to the acquisition of such cultural property? How can art professionals best manage issues relating to the export of works of art, either temporarily or permanently? And finally, what is immunity from seizure for objects brought in on loan, and how does it work?

Day 6 – Sites, Monuments, Treasure and Finds

How does the law protect the built environment and our archaeological history? How do we define treasure and how is it saved for the nation? What is the fate of finds that are deemed not to be treasure?

Day 7 – Artists’ Rights

What do museums, galleries and artists have to know about intellectual property rights?  What is copyright and how will it affect the management of works of art? What are moral rights and how can they impact the current possessor of an artwork?  What is droit de suite and what are its implications for dealers?