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Leading Silks

Gilead Cooper KCWilberforce Chambers  ‘Gilead is supremely intelligent, clear, concise, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. He works very fast because he is really familiar with the area of art and cultural property. Nothing is too much trouble for him and his drafting is a pleasure to read.
Henry Legge KC5 Stone Buildings  ‘Henry is very experienced in the art business market. He is very good with clients and respects their emotional attachment to art as well as the commercial issues.
Andrew Onslow KC3 Verulam Buildings  ‘Andrew is a top advocate with a thorough understanding of art law and he is also easy to work with. Regarded very highly in this area.
Rajesh Pillai KC – 3 Verulam BuildingsRaj is very bright, sees the points, great drafting and a tenacious advocate. He is a real asset on a team.
Philip Shepherd KCChambers of Philip Shepherd KCAn unflappable advocate.
Joe Smouha KCEssex Court Chambers  ‘A stellar advocate and a supersilk in all respects. Not grand and a great team player too. A huge pleasure to work with.

Leading Juniors

Andrew BruceSerle CourtA tenacious advocate who also prepares carefully considering written opinions.
Cleon Catsambis3 Verulam Buildings 'Cleon is a highly effective barrister. He is also very personable.
Claudia RentonEssex Court ChambersHer written work is faultless. She has a brilliant writing style. She is extremely collaborative – certainly one of her strengths.
Angharad Start3 Verulam Buildings 'A lot of experience across several branches of law which she is able to pull together very well. She gives clients a lot of confidence.

Rising Stars

James FennemoreXXIV Old BuildingsJames is very much one to watch in this area. He is hugely clever, hugely personable and brilliant at presenting a case in a way that a judge can easily grasp and be persuaded by.

Art and cultural property in London Bar

3 Verulam Buildings

Members of 3 Verulam Buildings act in a variety of art related matters, handling a range of work for auction houses, dealers and sellers. In Thwaytes v Sotheby’s, Andrew Onslow KC represented Sotheby’s auction house after it was alleged to have negligently catalogued an original art piece as a copy of Caravaggio’s Cardsharps. In FAP v Inigo Philbrick Limited & Others, Yash Bheeroo is representing German art finance firm FAP, in a claim alleging a company linked to the eponymous American convicted of wire fraud in May 2022, stole and sold valuable artworks belonging to the claimant, while fraudulently misrepresenting their status. Furthermore, Cleon Catsambis represented Belford Investment, while Angharad Start acted on behalf of Sotheby’s in Jeddi v Sotheby’s; Pishvaie; and Belford Investment Limited, a matter focused on the disputed ownership and provenance of a Fatimid rock crystal jar valued at approximately £12m.



Good quality at all levels. A preferred set.

They have a number of barristers with direct experience of art cases.’


Always sensible and easy to deal with.

The service of the clerks at 3VB is exemplary.

They are the best clerks, in particular Stuart Pullum, who is exceptional and brilliant with clients.

5 Stone Buildings

With experience acting for buyers, sellers and auction houses in complex disputes, the barristers at 5 Stone Buildings are considered a ‘first port of call for contract or art related disputes‘. In Gelber v Christie’s, Henry Legge KC was instructed against Christie’s in relation to its alleged negligent handling of a US$100m collection. Luke Harris is acting for the claimants in QIPCO and Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani v Eskenazi, a claim for misrepresentation, breach of contract of sale, and negligence connected to the purchase of antiquities claimed to be modern forgeries, valued at a combined total of US$4.9m. In addition, he is acting for a claimant in relation to the recovery of fragments believed to be a part of a valuable Ancient Roman ewer carved in sardonyx. 



Good contract law/commercial set. First port of call for contract or art related disputes.

Very good commercial set – the best for contractual disputes and art related claims.

5SB is the go to set for art law.

Extremely strong – 5 Stone Buildings are the leading set in this field.


The clerks are great and nice to deal with.

Good – always willing to go the extra mile.

Essex Court Chambers

The barristers at Essex Court Chambers stand out for their ‘deep experience‘, often acting for auction houses, collectors, and dealers in transactions and contractual disputes relating to the art world. Leading Claudia Renton, Joe Smouha KC represented the defendant in Sotheby’s v Mark Weiss Ltd, where Sotheby’s sought the rescission of a contract of sale for a painting by Frans Hals, disputing its authenticity as a ground for contention – a contractual dispute now settled. In QIPCO v Ariadne Galleries, Emily Wood KC represented the defendant, a New York based dealer, against claims by the Qatari investment company alleging mosaics sold to it valued at US$350,000 were forgeries. 



‘Top quality throughout their barristers.

One of the big beasts of art law – they have very deep experience in these cases.

Top quality set. One of our favourites. Huge strength in depth at every level, especially KCs.



Very good – Kevin Grubb will always go the extra mile.

Efficient and responsive.