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Gilead Cooper QC

Call: 1983    QC: 2006

+44 (0)20 7306

Art & Cultural Property

Gilead has been involved in Art & Cultural Property cases since 2006, when he led Professor Norman Palmer QC in a claim by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for the return of a collection of human remains held by the Natural History Museum. He is now regularly instructed by museums and auction houses in claims for restitution or disputes over title, and art-related cases have become an important part of his practice. He has represented parties before the Spoliation Panel, and has given expert evidence in art-related cases in the US. Most recently, he was instructed to act as sole arbitrator (under LCIA Rules) in a claim by a wealthy collector to rescind the purchase of two Old Master paintings that had been bought from a major London gallery.

Gilead is recognised as one of three Leading Silks specialising in Art & Cultural Property in the Legal 500 2019 (“an experienced advocate with real knowledge of the art market and its issues”) and is featured in Band 2 in Chambers HNW 2019 (“He is steeped in knowledge of trusts and bailments as they relate to art matters”). He is the author of a chapter on the limitation of actions in Palmer on Bailment, and recently contributed a chapter to Trusts, Artistic Estates and Collections (2019) entitled “Inherited Guilt and Inherited Grievance: Prescription, Limitation and Ownership of the Past” (Trusts & Trustees review can be read here).

Key cases include:

  • Re Claim for Beaching a Boat [2014]. Claim before the Spoliation Panel for the restitution of a painting.
  • Schoyen v UCL. A case concerning disputed antiquities.
  • Trustees of the Natural History Museum v Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. A dispute about a collection of human remains in the custody of the Natural History Museum.

Gilead is a member of the LCIA, and has recently been listed as an arbitrator and mediator in Art Law cases by the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAfA).