Diploma in Art Law

This distance learning course provides specialist knowledge of the main aspects of the law pertaining to the world of art and relevant comparative law, together with international instruments. Modules will cover topics including artists’ rights, bailment, recovery of stolen and looted art, repatriation of art and artefacts, auctions and taxation. While much of the focus will be on English/UK law, there will be significant comparative elements with other legal systems, as well as coverage of international and EU law.

By the end of the course you will:

  • have a thorough understanding of how the rules of the common law apply to art and antiquities transactions;
  • be familiar with the relevant legislation of England/UK, together with the most significant statutes from other jurisdictions;
  • understand the operation and interaction of international conventions and EU rules relating to the protection of cultural heritage.

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This course is offered throughout the year on rolling admissions.


This is a distance learning course that can be completed from your location.


This course is designed for practising and academic lawyers wishing to further their knowledge of the law relating to art and antiquities transactions.

You should possess a minimum of LL.B. (or equivalent) from a university or law faculty of a common law jurisdiction. Students from countries which do not have a common law legal system should also have successfully completed the Preparatory Certificate in Art Law (for overseas lawyers), or be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Institute of Art and Law that their knowledge and understanding of the common law is sufficient to follow the course.


The course is assessed through on-going short questions which are completed at the end of each module. There will also be three pieces of written coursework for formal assessment (each 3,000 words in length) that can be completed in your own time.


The principal mode of tuition will be self-study. Each module is supplied electronically and is designed to be fully comprehensive, containing a variety of materials, including:

  • Commentary on each subject area
  • Relevant statutory provisions
  • Published literature on the relevant subject area
  • Series of brief self-assessment questions

You will also be given a tutor from the IAL who will oversee your progression on the course.

You will also be invited to attend occasional Saturday study forums (2-3 times per year), either hosted in London or running online, at which you will have the opportunity to discuss important aspects of the course.


The cost of the course is £2,300 + VAT (total £2,760).

The cost of all teaching materials and tuition at study forums is included in the course fees. A limited number of bursaries are available to offset some of the costs of the diploma. For more information, contact jo.crabtree@nullial.uk.com.

Note: a 5% admin charge will be added for credit card payments.


“I have really enjoyed [the course] and learnt so much and I often refer to the materials in my day-to-day work. I always recommend it to budding art lawyers!” (Becky Shaw, Assistant Legal Counsel, Phillips Auction House)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and can only thank you for your help and input.” (Vivian Haines, Director, Stonehage Fleming Law Limited)

“I thought the whole programme was incredibly well done, giving detailed coverage of the main areas of law affecting the art world, including contracts, taxation, art crime, the international trade in antiquities, acquisition of museum pieces, and copyright. Very impressed.” (Dr Andrew Lynn, Barrister, Gilt Chambers, Hong Kong)

“The IAL Diploma in Art Law has provided such a stimulating and inspiring course of studies. I enjoyed the challenge of the dissertations and the chance to take a deep dive into the range of different topics that touch these areas.” (Helen Conybeare Williams, international arbitration and dispute resolution lawyer)

For a full interview with Becky Shaw about her experience, see here.


The course comprises ten modules, each addressing key areas of law of particular relevance to those who transact in art. Modules include:

  • International Conventions and Private International Law
  • Artists’ Rights (including copyright, moral rights and artists’ resale rights)
  • Bailment and Art Loans
  • Recovery of Stolen and Looted Art
  • Limitation of Actions
  • Museums and Galleries
  • Repatriation of Art and Artefacts; Codes and Ethics
  • Sites, Monuments, Treasure and Finds
  • Auctions
  • Taxation

Note that nothing provided on the course should be taken as legal advice.

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To apply please download the application form. Once completed, please return the form to jo.crabtree@nullial.uk.com