Tate operates under the Museums and Galleries Act 1992, which entrusts all its property, rights and liability in its governing body: the Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery.

The Act provides Tate with the freedom to acquire or dispose of land or property and enter into contracts and other agreements regarding the occupation and management of its galleries.

Importantly, the Act sets Tate’s statutory aims and objectives:

  • to care for, preserve and add to the works of art and the documents in their collections
  • to ensure that the works of art are exhibited to the public
  • to ensure that the works of art and the documents are available to persons seeking to inspect them in connection with study or research
  • generally to promote the public’s enjoyment and understanding of British art, and of twentieth-century and contemporary art, both by means of the Board’s collections and by such other means as they consider appropriate.

As the legal entity responsible for running Tate, the Board of Trustees can potentially incur both civil liability (e.g. for breach of contract or negligence) and criminal liability (e.g. under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974).