LL445E      Half Unit
Cultural Property and Heritage Law

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tatiana Flessas NAB7.27


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.

Available to Executive LLM students only. This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website.

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.


Courses are taught over 5 days (Mon-Fri) with approximately 5 hours teaching per day. There is a morning and an afternoon session, so 10 sessions in total with the overall contact time being 24-26 hours.

Formative coursework

Students will have the option of producing a formative exam question of 2000 words to be delivered one month from the end of the module’s teaching session by email.

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).


Assessment path 1
Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Assessment path 2
Take-home assessment (100%).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills