LL4BT      Half Unit
Cultural Property and Heritage Law

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tatiana Flessas


This course is available on the MSc in Law, Anthropology and Society, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Intellectual Property Law.

This course is capped at 30 students.  Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSE for You.

Course content

This course looks at cultural property and heritage law from legal, social theoretical and practice-oriented perspectives. It provides an overview of existing and emerging cultural property and heritage legislation (domestic and international). We will be looking in particular at the development of cultural property legislation in the 20th century and emerging international cultural property and heritage initiatives under the auspices of the UN and UNESCO. Topics to be covered include the origins of cultural property law, the problems in defining cultural property and heritage, current issues and cases in repatriation and restitution of cultural objects, the National Trust and other heritage protection regimes, and intangible cultural heritage. The course also addresses the creation and management of museums and heritage sites, primarily within the UK, but also including sites in North and South America, Europe and Asia. We consider how the issues that we've identified throughout the course arise in the ongoing construction, protection, and (primarily economic) uses of heritage. Along with specialist seminars, the course includes visits to museums and contact with practising experts in the field.


20 hours of seminars and 2 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Week 6 in the MT is a Reading Week.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Neil Cookson, Archaeological Heritage Law (2000 Barry Rose); John Henry Merryman and Albert E. Elsen, Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts (2002 Kluwer Law International); Lyndel V. Prott & P.J. O'Keefe, Law and the Cultural Heritage Vol 1 (1984 Abingdon); Lyndel V. Prott & P.J. O'Keefe, Law and the Cultural Heritage Vol 3 (1989 Butterworths); J.E. Tunbridge and G.J. Ashworth, Dissonant Heritage: the management of the past as a resource in conflict (1996 J. Wiley); Norman Palmer, Museums and the Holocaust: law, principles and practice (2000 Institute of Art and Law); John Henry Merryman, Thinking about the Elgin Marbles: critical essays on cultural property, art and law (2000 Kluwer Law International); Nick Merriman, Beyond the Glass Case: the past, the heritage and the public in Britain (1991); Jeanette Greenfield, The Return of Cultural Treasures (1989); Richard Prentice, Tourism and Heritage Attractions (1993); G.J. Ashworth and P.J. Larkham, eds. Building a New Heritage: tourism, culture, and identity (1994); Peter Mandler, The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home (1997); Patrick J O'Keefe, Trade in Antiquities: reducing destruction and theft (1997); Ismail Serageldin, Ephim Shluger, Joan Martin-Brown, eds. Historic Cities and Sacred Sites: cultural roots for urban futures (2001); Federico Mayor, Memory of the Future (1995); Peter J. Fowler, The Past in Contemporary Society: then, now (1992); David Brett, The Construction of Heritage (1996); Karl Ernest Meyer, The Plundered Past (1974).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 5

Average class size 2015/16: 5

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills