Foundation Certificate in Art Law

The course

The course assumes no prior knowledge of law, and is designed for all those who transact in art and antiquities and who wish to gain a knowledge of the law relating to their day to day transactions. It will include all relevant international conventions and European Union provisions. This area of law is becoming increasingly important, given the growing volume of cross-border and EU legislation, and the numerous conflicts arising in international settings. The course is designed to address the needs of all who work in museums, galleries and auction houses, as well as dealers, insurers, bankers, collectors and all others with an interest in the art law interface.

Aims of the course

The course aims to provide a firm grounding in all aspects of English law pertaining to the world of art, and also to provide knowledge of pertinent international and EU legislation.


By the end of the course you will:
i) have the knowledge and expertise to recognise situations which might involve legal problems or disputes, and to apply the relevant law, in relation to all types of transacting in art;
ii) be able to use this knowledge in your day to day transactions in order to minimise risks, forestall dangers and further your skills in transacting.

Qualifications required

Students enrolling on the course should be educated to degree level or equivalent, or should have substantial relevant professional experience requiring level of expertise.

Overseas students

The course is open to candidates from the UK and abroad. However, as a firm grasp of the English language is essential, applicants will be required to satisfy the Institute of Art and Law Academic Board that they are suitably qualified to the follow the course.

Structure of the course

The five core modules for the Foundation Certificate are:

  • Criminal Law
  • Contract Law I
  • Contract Law II
  • Tort Law
  • Sale of Goods

The five additional modules are to be selected amongst the following:

  • Bailment and Art Loans
  • International Conventions
  • Treasure and Finds
  • Sites and Monuments
  • Charities and Trusts
  • Museums
  • Taxation
  • Artists’ Rights (including copyright)
  • Repatriation of Art and Artefacts
  • Auction Law and Practice
  • Recovery of Stolen and Looted Art and Limitation of Actions

Learning materials

Each student will be provided with a set of distance learning modules, each of which comprises all the reading necessary for successful completion of that module.. In addition, upon commencing the course each student will receive an introductory module, providing basic information about the English Legal System and the operation of the Common Law. all modules are sent out via email.

Methods of teaching

Three methods of teaching will be used throughout the course, combining both contact and non-contact tuition. The principal mode of teaching will be self-study, using a series of distance learning packs as described above. This will be supplemented by a series of optional lectures and tutorials. The distance learning packs, together with feedback from assessed exercises, will contain all the material necessary for successful completion of the course.


On-going assessment is provided by means of short assessment questions which are completed at the end of each module. Formal assessment will be by means of three pieces of written coursework, to be carried out in the student’s own time..

Cost of course

The cost of the course is £2,300 + VAT (total £2,760). A limited number of bursaries are available to offset some of the costs of the Foundation Certificate.

Download application form
(Opens in new window)