‘Contested Heritage – Removing Art from Land and Historic Buildings’ by Richard Harwood KC, Catherine Dobson, David Sawtell


Paperback: 978-1-914608-25-4
Published: May 2022
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Statues, sculpture and paintings may be part of buildings or land. If so, property ownership is made more complex. Removing such works might require a planning or heritage consent. These issues are important for the art market and of wider public interest in the debate over contested heritage.

It includes:

  • Property law on ownership, conversion of goods and sale
  • The working of listed building consent, planning permission, scheduled monument consent and conservation area;
  • The meaning of ‘building’, ‘fixed’ and ‘curtilage’
  • Full analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dill v Secretary of State [2020] UKSC 20
  • The recent changes in law and policy on contested heritage
  • Changing street names and moving church treasures
  • Full coverage of the law and policy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

This book will be of interest to art lawyers, planning, property and private client lawyers dealing with heritage, planning and heritage consultants, conservation students and art law students.


Richard Harwood OBE KC specialises in planning, environmental, public and art law at 39 Essex Chambers. In particular he acts for art owners, regulators and third parties on the removal of works of art, listing, export control and contested heritage. His recent major heritage cases have included Dill in the Supreme Court and the Stonehenge road tunnel.

David Sawtell is at 39 Essex Chambers. He was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 2005. His practice combines property law, construction law and commercial work, both domestically and internationally. He undertook his BA and his MPhil at the University of Cambridge, and completed the MSc in Construction Law at King’s College, London. David is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is currently researching towards his PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Catherine Dobson has a broad practice which combines general public law, environmental law and public international law. She has developed a niche expertise in historic environment matters, and has acted for owners and interest groups on art and antiquities matters, in particular on issues relating to the removal of art from historic buildings. She acted (led by Richard Harwood QC) for the successful for the former owner in Dill v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2020] UKSC 20, where the Supreme Court clarified the test for what can constitute a listed building. She has recently advised on the lawfulness of removal of a high value statue from a listed building. She has lectured on these topics at the Institute of Art and Law and is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, where she teaches constitution law. In 2020 Catherine was named Environmental and Planning Law Junior of the Year in the Chambers UK Bar Awards.



Chapter One – Listed Building Consent
Chapter Two – Planning Permission
Chapter Three – Scheduled Monuments and Conservation Areas
Chapter Four – Grant of Regulatory Consent
Chapter Five – Street Names
Chapter Six – The Church of England

Chapter Seven –Annexation to the Land
Chapter Eight –Conversion
Chapter Nine –Conveyance

Chapter Ten –The Statue of Edward Colston in Bristol


‘this fascinating and topical book…serves to render a highly complex and technical area of law eminently accessible…practical approach and succinct, incisive analysis in all areas addressed will be of significant benefit to lawyers specialising in art law, heritage, planning and property matters, as well as to art market participants and art law students…an extremely useful text and a most enjoyable read.’
– Review in ‘Art Antiquity and Law’ by Emily Gould, Assistant Director

‘aimed firmly at the lawyer or the heritage administrator. It is essential reading for all who need a clear and authoritative survey of the issues.’
Review in The Art Newspaper by Roger Bowdler