Can the body commissioning an artwork subsequently terminate the agreement?

Invariably when undertaking a public commission you should have a written agreement with the commissioning body before you undertake any work.

Unless the agreement specifically addresses the possibility of the agreement either being terminated or performance of it being denied due to circumstances beyond the control of either part, the courts will require that you receive a fair and reasonable sum for the work which you have undertaken and compensation for any expenditure incurred or losses suffered as a result of having committed yourself to a now defunct project.

The County Courts have a quick a cheap method for deciding disputes involving claims not exceeding £5,000.  This is sometimes referred to as the ‘small claims court’ – but actually refers to the special processes of the County Courts.

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This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material. The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.