In the art world, members of 3 Verulam Buildings act for defendant and claimant auction houses, dealers, and sellers involved in high-profile disputes.

- The Legal 500 UK Bar (2022)

Media, Entertainment, Art & Cultural Property

3VB has a well-established presence and reputation in this niche, always interesting, and often high profile field. Our barristers continue to act for a range of clients in the music, film, advertising, art & cultural property and new media industries.

Typically, members act in cases for and against art dealers, auctioneers, and buyers, sellers and custodians of works of art and cultural artefacts. Cases commonly involve questions of the attribution or dating of works of art, issues of title, and disputes as to the rights of owners against agents and bailees, copyright or related rights, or disputes concerning management, publishing, recording, production or licensing agreements; and more broadly allegations of breach of contract, fraud and negligence which make for a very good fit with more mainstream Chambers work.

Members have appeared in a number of the leading cases including Thwaytes v Sotheby’s [2016], the leading case on auctioneer’s duties to consignors; Thomson v Christie’s [2005]; Coleridge v Sotheby’s [2012]; Iran v Berend [2007]; Accidia Foundation v Simon C. Dickinson Ltd [2010]; Andre v Clydesdale Bank plc [2013]; and Spencer-Churchill v Faggionato Fine Arts Ltd [2012]. 3VB’s role in Thwaytes is now told in Caravaggio’s Cardsharps on Trial (2020), an account of the Thwaytes case by Professor Richard Spear, Sotheby’s expert at trial.

In recent years members of 3VB have acted and advised in some of the leading cases in the field (the Rybolovlev/Bouvier litigation, the Philbrick litigation, and claims concerning works by Chardin, Modigliani, Picasso, Basquiat and others, and cultural artefacts originating (or said to originate) from India, Iran, South East Asia and, in the case of 2,391 silver bars, found at the bottom of the sea.

Spin-offs from Chambers’ work in this field include instructions relating to film finance, entertainment-related professional negligence claims and litigation surrounding the collapse of a major record label.

Our barristers in this area come from a range of different spheres, some having had a previous career in the arts from art dealing to film and TV production.