Edited by Jani McCutcheon and Fiona McGaughey
Chapter 13: Classifying art in diverse legal regimes: the function-aesthetic divide and the public interest
This chapter examines UK courts’ classification of artistic objects in land, heritage, tax and ecclesiastical law disputes. It does so in an effort to identify themes common to the classification of objects across this diverse sample of legal areas. In interrogating specific examples, the chapter shows that a number of common themes emerge: the relevance of the art object’s placement within a particular space and, the maintenance (typically) of a distinction between utility and aesthetic enjoyment as the primary means of classification. The application of these rules to works of art have implications beyond the parties involved in a dispute, affecting the broader community, or communities, that may have an interest in preserving these art objects in a particular location.
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