Individuals in the national and international art arena may face many different types of legal disputes, from ownership conflicts to authenticity disputes, from intellectual property conflicts to unfair competition claims, and from fraud cases to tax issues involving Customs.
Our cultural assets and art team offers private art collectors, art dealers and designers a comprehensive dispute resolution service. We strive to find consensual means of resolving conflicts where possible, as negotiated settlements and mediated solutions are confidential, quicker, cheaper and less disruptive to our clients' lives. But if litigation is in the clients' best interests, we take vigorous, decisive action to promote or defend our clients' interests.
Clients come to us to resolve ownership and restitution claims, intellectual property disputes, authenticity disputes, compensation claims when art has been lost, destroyed or damaged, and cases of art fraud and theft. We act for and against auction houses and art dealers. Where people are the victims of theft, we can help trace stolen art and claim it back; and in the event that someone else claims to own our clients artwork, we fight this injustice.
Our team is frequently involved in complex international fraud cases, as well as art repatriation claims. We have made settlements with HM Revenue & Customs in the UK (HMRC), and represent clients in appeals against HMRC decisions. We also make representations to the Spoliation Advisory Committee (UK) and members of our team now advise the Panel. In addition, members of our team serve on the National Roster of Neutrals of the American Arbitration Association and have sat as arbitrators in copyright infringement disputes (New York). We also serve as commercial mediators through state court systems (New York) and have mediated and settled disputes involving unfair competition and intellectual property issues with respect to designers.
Such disputes attract media attention. We have a great deal of experience on how to best manage the media. We may take action to prevent the publication or broadcast of damaging stories. If it is too late to do that we seek damages, corrections and apologies from the media. We are also used to dealing with the media regulators on our clients' behalf.
Our client list comprises a wide range of art collectors, art dealers and family offices all over the world.
- Advising the heir to a prominent German Expressionist painter in relation to a contentious probate issue in various countries.
- Successfully suing defendants in three jurisdictions on behalf of a US collector in a high profile art fraud case.
- Winning judgment for a Swiss art collector against a shipping company that lost an important contemporary sculpture.
- Negotiating with a London auction house on behalf of an Italian collector, to cancel the sale of a forgery.
- Persuading the UK government that the British Library should return a 14th century manuscript that disappeared during World War II to the religious institution claiming ownership.
- Acting for the estate of an Argentinean collector in an ownership dispute.
- Advising the Spoliation Advisory Panel on various claims, including whether three Reubens oil sketches should remain in a British art institution or be returned to a Dutch family.
- Assisting a US family in recovering several important paintings stolen in Massachusetts almost 30 years ago.
- Representing a Swiss collector in court proceedings against a shipping company that lost an important contemporary sculpture.