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School of Law

Kevin Charles, Art, Business and Law LLM (2019)

"I found the course very rewarding and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone"

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Programme: Art, Business and Law LLM
Year: 2019

Can you tell us a little bit about your career and background?

My first degree was an LLB (Hons) in English & European Laws, which involved spending a year at the University of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands; an experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. Following University and bar school, at the Inns of Court School of Law, I was called to the Bar in 1996 and completed pupillage at 2 Field Court, Gray’s Inn, whilst Norman Palmer was head of chambers. I have since practised as a lawyer in-house and in solicitors’ firms, specialising in employment law. I currently work as a consulting barrister for a law firm which gives me the flexibility to pursue my interests in the arts, in particular the visual arts and art history. Over the years, I have undertaken a number of arts-based courses at Birkbeck, University of London and the British Museum.

What aspects of the ABL LLM did you enjoy most?

The teaching on the course was of a very high standard, notably, the lectures given by Emily and Alex, which covered a wide range of topics in a way which stimulated independent thought and debate. I especially enjoyed the seminars and discussions around the contentious issue of restitution and Nazi looted art, in which I have developed a strong interest. I also enjoyed the class visits and guided talks at the British Museum, Tate Britain, V&A and Bonhams auction house. It was very useful and insightful to hear directly from practitioners in the field, which helped the topics to ‘come alive’ outside the confines of a traditional classroom.

How has the course enhanced your career, or how do you envisage that it might?

Whilst the course has not directly enhanced my career, given that I am already established in the field of employment law, it has nevertheless enormously enhanced my personal development and allowed me to appreciate and value art in a much broader context and with a deeper understanding of the legal and ethical issues involved. I am very pleased that I have done the course.

Is there any advice you would offer to someone considering studying the ABL LLM?

Overall, I found the course very rewarding and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone wishing to pursue an interest in art law or to work in the wider arts/heritage field. Whilst this may sound trite, in order to gain the most out of the course, I would advise reading as widely as possible around the various topics prior to the lectures and engaging fully in class debates and seminars.

Would you be willing to share your Testimonial? If so, you could help a prospective student to make an informed choice to study at Queen Mary. (Class of 2020 and 2021 only).