On Wednesday 24th and Friday 26th February 2016, a small delegation from the Kenyan judiciary visited IALS Library. Mr Naim Bilal Yaseen, Director (Public Affairs & Communication) led the group which was seeking to find legal documents and books relating to Kenyan Independence on 12th December 1963 in order to contribute to a newly established museum. Apparently many of the key legal documents relating to the transfer of power from Great Britain to Kenya were lost at the time and the high-level delegation were hoping to copy relevant items from our extensive collections.
Following on from the transfer under trust deed of material from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1992, IALS Library holds one of the best collections of Commonwealth legal materials in Europe. We were able therefore to provide copies of a number of the key legal documents including the “Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference of 1962” and the UK Statutory Instrument entitled, “The Kenyan Independence Order in Council of 1963”. Copies of these items will be placed in the new Kenyan Independence Museum.
Interestingly our collection also includes a number of key textbooks covering the period and a very rare typed official transcript of the 1948 Supreme Court of Kenya case on the trial of “Rex v Ngugi Mungai and 16 others”. As this verbatim case transcript is so rare and important in the history of Kenyan independence, IALS Library has decided to digitise it and therefore make it available more widely for legal researchers via our website.
David Gee, IALS Deputy Librarian