Law and the Historic Environment (Online)


Anybody conducting or planning investigations of the historic environment will be confronted by a wide range of issues that may have legal consequences. This course provides an introduction for all who need to gain a broad understanding of the main legislative, regulatory and policy regimes for the historic environment, the ways in which those regimes are being applied at present, and the implications in practice for those working in the area. The course will cover the law of England and Wales only. Health and Safety law will not be covered in this course.

The course will run on three consecutive mornings. Sessions will be 2 hours, and include time for questions and discussion following the presentations. The sessions will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams, starting at 10.00am UK time each day. There will be time for questions and discussion at the end of each session.


Programme details

Session 1 (Weds 14 April, 10.00 am - 12.00)

Law and the historic environment: an overview (Roger Thomas) - a broad and rapid overview of the different types of law in England and Wales, with an emphasis on the principles of public or administrative law.

Protecting the historic environment (Robin Barnes) - an introduction to the various forms of legal protection for different aspects of the historic environment (scheduling, listing, etc)

Session 2 (Thurs 15 April, 10.00 am to 12.00)

Making changes to the historic environment (Nigel Hewitson) - an introduction to the planning system and how it controls changes to the historic environment. Discussion of the other main 'consent' regimes, such as scheduled monument consent and listed building consent.

Session 3 (Fri 16 April, 10.00 am to 12.00)

Archaeological investigations (1): human remains (Dr Louise Loe) - an introduction to the law on the removal and treatment of human remains during archaeological investigations.

Archaeological investigations (2): other issues (David Woolley QC) - a brief introduction to other issues which may be encountered, including land ownership and right, finds agreements, protected species and habitats and contaminated land.

Discussion and 'surgery' - general discussion, and the opportunity to share experiences and get feedback on legal issues which you may have encountered in your work, or think that you might encounter in future. [NB - course tutors cannot give you formal legal advice as part of this course.]

Dates, Times and Delivery

Law and the Historic Environment (Online) course will run over three days, from 14 – 16 April 2021.

Sessions will be 2 hours, delivered online via Microsoft Teams, from 10:00 – 12:30 (UK time).

A world clock, and time zone converter can be found here:

No attendance at Oxford is required and you do not need to purchase any software.



Participants who attend the full course will receive a University of Oxford electronic certificate of attendance. 

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended.

You will be required to attend all of the live sessions on the course in order to be considered for an attendance certificate. 


Description Costs
Standard course fee £225.00


Fees include electronic copies of course materials.

All courses are VAT exempt.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.



Mr Robin Barnes


Robin Barnes is a solicitor at Maples Teesdale who specialises in planning and related areas of law.

Mr Nigel Hewitson

Course Director

Nigel Hewitson, retired solicitor, who specialised in planning law throughout his 30+ year career. He has worked in local government and private practice and held the post of Legal Director at English Heritage (now Historic England) for 5 years. He is the co-author (with Charles Mynors) of Listed Buildings and Other Heritage Assets 5th Edition published by Sweet & Maxwell.

Dr Louise Loe


Louise Loe is Head of Burials Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology.

Mr Roger M Thomas

Course Director

Roger M Thomas, barrister and Honorary Research Associate, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford.

Mr David Woolley


David Woolley QC is a retired senior barrister who specialised in planning and environmental law.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online using MS Teams.

To participate you must be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
It is advised to use headphones with working speakers and microphone.