Art & Cultural

Art & Cultural Property

What our barristers offer

39 Essex Chambers has a wide ranging Art and Cultural Property Group, comprising leading practitioners who are widely regarded as combining a strong academic background with pragmatism and versatility as well as being easy to work with, and as such members are instructed regularly involved in many significant Art and Cultural Heritage cases over the last few years.

We can draw together teams of barristers who range from experienced silks to the more recently qualified barristers, to offer a comprehensive and cost-effective service, combining strong analytical, advisory and advocacy skills with pragmatism and approachability.

Our experience

Our members specialise in wide ranging issues concerning works of art and cultural objects (such as archaeological finds and objects of value to ingenious peoples), regularly advising clients such as auction houses and galleries, owners, artists, museums and regulators including Arts Council England and Historic England. Members of the group are also Direct Access qualified, and are able to accept instructions directly.  Chambers is a corporate member of the Institute of Art and Law.

Areas of legal practice include:

Contractual issues of sale of goods, auctions, bailment, title (including in chattels and real property law, and restitutory/spoliation claims), disputes over attribution, valuation in contract or tort, listed buildings and the removal of works of art, treasure and other laws on finds (including military remains and shipwrecks), export licensing, recovery of unlawfully exported/excavated items, public international law, tax (including inheritance tax, VAT and heritage related provisions, such as conditional exemption and acceptance in lieu).

The team also regularly advises Cultural Institutions concerning the powers and governance of cultural institutions such as museums. These legal issues include: contractual arrangements, powers and duties under statutes (often specific to the institution) and charities law, de-accessioning (so return or sale of items)

Related practice areas

The Art and Cultural Property team draws on the strength of Chambers in Commercial, Planning, Property, Public International and Tax law, to provide comprehensive advice in all areas of Art and Cultural Property.

Click here to download our Art & Cultural Property Capability Statement

Who to contact

Andrew Poyser

Andrew Poyser is the Deputy Senior Clerk for the Art & Cultural Property team and will, along with the clerking team below, be able to help you with any questions.


Andrew PoyserEmail


Call: +44 (0)20 7832 1190


Mobile: +44 (0)7921 880 669


Elliott Hurrell

Elliott Hurrell is the Practice Manager for the Art & Cultural Property team and will, along with the clerking team below, be able to help you with any questions.


Elliott HurrellEmail


Call: +44 (0)20 7634 9023


Mobile: +44 (0)7809 086 843


View clerk's team

Paul Stinchcombe QC

Paul Stinchcombe QC

Call: 1985 Silk: 2011

Victoria Butler-Cole QC

Victoria Butler-Cole QC

Call: 2005 Silk: 2019

John Pugh-Smith

John Pugh-Smith

Call: 1977

David Sawtell

David Sawtell

Call: 2005

Ned Helme

Ned Helme

Call: 2006

Catherine Dobson

Catherine Dobson

Call: 2009

Tom Tabori

Tom Tabori

Call: 2011

Jonathan Darby

Jonathan Darby

Call: 2012

David Hopkins

David Hopkins

Call: 2013

Stephanie David

Stephanie David

Call: 2016

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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