Art Resolve Services

Art Resolve provides in person and online specialist dispute resolution services for art and cultural heritage.


Mediation is a voluntary, flexible and confidential method of resolving disputes outside the court system with the help of a neutral third party. The role of the mediator is to assist the parties with negotiations and facilitate discussions enabling them to reach a settlement. The mediator does not impose a result and the parties maintain control of the outcome of the mediation and whether or not a settlement is reached. The mediation is ‘without prejudice’ to the parties’ legal position, but, if a settlement is reached, it can be converted into a binding agreement.

Examples of our usual agreements and rules of mediation are here.

Mediation is highly effective in resolving cultural heritage and art disputes, as it allows the parties privacy, convenience and control and is also more time and cost effective than court proceedings. Moreover, a mediation agreement can incorporate solutions that a court could not provide, such as future trading agreements. The focus of a mediated solution is on the interests of the parties and can allow the parties to preserve their reputations in the marketplace. Mediation also easily accommodates cases of a cross-border nature. There is a high percentage of settlement in mediations.

Early Neutral Evaluation

Early neutral evaluation is a voluntary, non-binding process by which the parties agree to obtain an opinion about their dispute from a respected neutral third party with relevant expertise. The neutral hears each party’s submissions and then states his/her view on the likely outcome of the dispute or issue. The neutral can also give advice on how it could or should be resolved. The evaluation given by the neutral may well influence the parties to settle the dispute, either in accordance with the advice, or in some other way depending on subsequent negotiations. Early neutral evaluation is ‘without prejudice’ to the parties’ legal position.

Expert Determination

Expert determination leads to the chosen expert imposing a binding decision on the parties and can be an effective, quick and economic means of settling certain types of dispute. The expert will be appointed based on his or her professional background, and some cases may call for the appointment of two experts. The process by which the decision is reached is informal. Expert determination is best used where there is no conflict of factual evidence and where the issues are of expertise and/or of law. In international cases, expert determination should not be used unless there is agreement about the language of the decision and the legal system for its enforcement. A decision made by the expert is final and binding and can be challenged only on very limited grounds arising from its fundamental validity, and not from differences on issues of fact, law or professional opinion.


Arbitration is a formal system of dispute resolution leading to a binding result which is similar to a court judgment, and is known as an arbitration award. There are very limited grounds to challenge an arbitration award. Arbitration is suitable for disputes of all kinds, particularly where there are issues of fact, law and expertise, and where international enforcement is required. Arbitration awards are enforceable in over 100 countries, whereas judgments of the English courts are enforceable only in Europe and certain Commonwealth countries. Elsewhere (notably in the United States) fresh proceedings are required to enforce an English judgment. Depending on the case and the agreement between the parties, one or more arbitrators of appropriate expertise will be appointed.