On Saturday 12th September, we hosted our first ever virtual study forum. Whilst this time around the coffee break took place on Zoom breakout rooms, with each one’s coffee and tea of choice, the day’s schedule was still jam-packed with fascinating talks on a range of areas within the art and cultural heritage field.
To kick the day off, Ian Upjohn CSC QC (Barrister, Lieutenant Colonel of the Australian Army Reserves) was our first speaker, joining us all the way from Australia. He spoke about the Monuments Men, not the film with George Clooney in it, but the far more accurate and real story of many individuals who protected monuments and cultural treasures during World War II. His talk focused on key individuals such as the last surviving monuments man Private First-Class Richard M Barancik and the impressive Madame Rose Valland.
Next, Amanda Gray (Partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP) and Simon Chadwick (Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP) gave a fascinating talk on art crime, fraud, the new anti-money laundering provisions in the UK as well as a discussion of the different legal remedies available to art collectors, dealers and other buyers who fall prey to these crimes, from civil claims to private prosecution and public criminal cases. They also alerted the audience to the perils posed by the “new normal” in this Covid-19 situation, where transactions are increasingly taking place online and often times without the possibility of face-to-face inspection of the purchased objects until the buyer takes delivery and the deal has already been concluded.
Turning to a bricks-and-mortar reality, Dr Rebecca Hawkes-Reynolds (IAL Researcher) presented the Supreme Court’s recent judgement on the Dill case, concerning two 18th century urns, the definition of a ‘listed building’ and the requirement of ‘listed building consent’. She has also published a case note on this dispute in the latest issue of our journal, Art Antiquity & Law, available now to subscribers only, and has briefly commented on the matter on our IAL blog. Her talk also enlightened the audience on the complex and highly technical regulations on historic buildings in the UK, planning rules, permission requirements and the sometimes puzzling outcomes that come about in this area of property law.
Then, Professor Geoffrey Bennett (IAL Senior Fellow) examined the law of treasure in the UK and the many challenges faced since its inception in order to achieve a reasonable and yet protective enough definition of treasure, taking into account not only the nature of the actual metals and materials used in the making of the objects but also their historical significance. He also explained the recent consultation held on the subject by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to which IAL submitted a response, further details of which can be found here.
Still on the topic of treasure, Crispin Oliver (Barrister, Dere Street Chambers) furthered the discussion by offering his viewpoint as a local coroner. He explained who is responsible for holding inquests to determine whether an object is treasure and why some areas in the UK produce more treasure than others.
To conclude the day, Vittoria Mastrandrea (PhD candidate, The London School of Economics) gave a talk on export licensing for cultural objects. She provided a legal history on the matter showcasing the broad legislation that was once used to regulate all types of objects (not just cultural ones) to the more current and specific laws governing this area. She also spoke about how export licensing is and will be adapting in the UK as a result of Brexit and Covid-19.
The day provided a well-rounded examination into a breadth of topics, giving all the participants food for thought about the vast range of issues within art law and their recent developments, especially during these unprecedented times.
Whilst the date for the next study forum has not yet been announced, we are in the meantime looking forward to welcoming students to our Diploma in Law and Collections Management course (DipLCM) next month, which still has a few spots available. Until then, to those who wish to further immerse themselves in the latest from the field of art law, we recommend catching up with the latest issue of our journal, Art Antiquity & Law.