While for 35 years, his practice has covered a full range of civil and commercial disputes, Adrian Parkhouse has had the benefit of spending the whole of his career with Farrer & Co in London.
The firm has had a history of representing individuals who own heritage property and from the outset, an element of Adrian’s work concerned assisting those clients to resolve disputes arising from the theft of art, auction sales, insurance claims and tax assessments. The firm’s clientele has developed with time with the clients, their issues and the solutions becoming markedly more international and the issues cross-border. Recent examples are cases concerned with obtaining an injunction against an auction sale for a Swiss vendor who was worried that poor cataloguing might lead to a sale placing him in breach of banking covenants; and obtaining a world-wide freezing order for a New Zealand collector against a UK and US dealer who had used consignments as collateral to fund its business.
At the same time Adrian had had the opportunity to advise both dealers and a range of museum clients. The variety of advice required has been unique – from the issues raised during the repatriation of aboriginal remains, through an airport arrest for infringing import controls and a trial concerned with the discovery of an Old Master, to the resolution of looted art claims.
He contributed the England and Wales chapter in The Art Collecting Legal Handbook, 3rd edition, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2023.
Adrian’s approach is pragmatic – he is an accredited mediator – and he is described in The Legal 500 as “combin[ing] meticulous professionalism with a realistic and pragmatic approach to complicated art and heritage issues.” He benefits from the support of an equally experienced team of colleagues.