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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50197
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have 3 paintings, a number of prints and money owed to me

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I have 3 paintings, a number of prints and money owed to me by a gallery that appears to have shut down in Maidstone. The previous arrangement was that he would sell the paintings and prints and take a 20% commission.
I have been in contact with the owner trying to reacquire my work. I have sent several emails since 20th April asking for my work which he has agreed to facilitate but to date has not. I have visited the gallery in person at a prearranged time and day but the gallery was shut, in this instance I gave him notice of one working week that I would come to the gallery. I have left a voice mail and a hand written note each asking for my work back and suggestions on how he should do this. More recently his emails have become unprofessional and rude to a point where I do not wish to interact with him. I still want my work returned to me even if I cannot get the money owed to me from the sale of a print. In a previous email sent on 23d May he stated that he would ensure the work left the gallery that week.
I have sort support from a mediation service and they have advised me to seek legal advice regarding my legal position and rights.
Many thanks

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Did you agree anything in writing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he has a contract on each painting which I and he signed, unfortunately I did not take any copies, he has them

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Many thanks for your patience. in the circumstances you could argue that the other party has acted in breach of contract for not paying you what you are due and for keeping hold of your own property against any terms you had in place or against your consent. Whilst you could of course consider a claim for the money owed, it becomes a bit more complex when you consider the paintings and prints. That is because physically you cannot force him to return these to you – even if you get a court order requiring him to do so, he can still keep hold of them. So what you may have t do instead is seek compensation to the value of these items and then your whole claim would become one of financial compensation to cover all the items in his possession. This is something which you can pursue in the county court and follow a set procedure to issue him with sufficient warnings before you go as far as issuing a formal claim.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks Ben, your advice is very welcome and I now have a plan on how to proceed.
Kind regards

You are welcome all the best