Foundation Certificate in Art Law

This course aims to provide a firm grounding in all aspects of English law pertaining to the art world, as well as the relevant international rules. Given the volume of cross-border transactions and the numerous conflicts arising in international settings, this area of law has become incredibly important. The course is designed for those 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.

By the end of the course you will:

  • have the knowledge and expertise to recognise situations which might involve legal problems or disputes, and to apply the relevant law, in relation to the transacting in art;
  • 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.

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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.


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.

You should be educated to degree level or equivalent or should have substantial relevant professional experience requiring a level of expertise.

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 that they are suitably qualified 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 one piece of written coursework for formal assessment (3,000 words in length) that can be completed in your own time.

Learning Materials

You will be provided with a set of distance learning modules, each of which comprises all the reading necessary for successful completion of that module. All modules are sent out via email.


Different 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. The distance learning packs, together with feedback from assessed exercises, will contain all the material necessary for successful completion of the course. You will also be assigned a tutor from the Institute who will oversee your progression on the course. In addition, there will be optional Saturday study forums (2-3 times per year), taking place either in London or online.


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. For more information, contact

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


“It has been a great experience to study a new area over the past two years, I did enjoy challenging myself and getting my head into a completely new zone. I found the study days a great bonus too.” (Annika M.)

“I’ve learnt a great deal over the last 18 months, and the articles and overviews for each of the modules furnish a really helpful resource for the future. It’s been a pleasure to work with the IAL team on this.” (anonymous)


The five core modules for the Foundation Certificate are:

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

Students can then choose five modules from the below:

  • Bailment and Art Loans
  • International Conventions
  • Sites, Monuments and Treasure
  • Equity, Trusts and Charities
  • 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

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

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To apply please download our application form. Once completed, please return the form to