Richard Lehun on the legal issues surrounding art fairs

GI: Do they change according to the fair’s location?

RL: Fiduciary duties only exist in the Anglo-American legal tradition. They traditionally do not exist in civil law countries. For a quick overview see:

GI: What are the preferred international and domestic jurisdictions for dispute resolution for different art fairs and why? Potential precedence of case law in one place vs. another?

RL: This is a difficult question. Jurisdictions place priorities on the protection of different interests. There are many layers of law that can apply to the same transaction, depending on how and where it is structured. The most important thing is to have an understanding of the risks attendant upon what you are doing at a particular place and time when you are creating legal relations. Most people assume that their common sense understanding of legal obligations will be valid. That is, whatever it is that they verbally or otherwise agree to will be valid and sufficient. Regrettably, the law does not work that way. The law expects you to be aware of it, and does not let you off the hook when you are not. A knowledgeable art law attorney will discuss your intentions with you, check your contracts and other documentation, and make you aware of important risks relating to what you are doing. This will not cost the world. There is no substitute for this.

Dr. Richard Lehun, Esq is a German-Canadian inter-disciplinary visual artist (film and photography), attorney, and holds a doctorate (SJD) in Fiduciary law. He is a regular guest lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art on the topic of fiduciary obligations in the fine art context. Richard Lehun is a founding member of the New York Stropheus legal and business collective for the arts, responsible for gallery, museum, and auction house ethics and fiduciary duties.

This is part 1 of our interview with Richard Lehun. This article © galleryIntell.

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