Extent and form of records: 179 archive boxes, 8 unboxed volumes, 1 outsize folder; 32 shelf metres.
Access: Printed and published material open. Remaining records open 30 years after last date on file unless otherwise specified (some records may be closed for a further 10 years for reasons of confidentiality or to protect personal privacy; where this is the case the access conditions are specified in the individual series description). Requests for accelerated access to records by bona fide researchers should be made to the ILA Chief Operating officer (COO).
Scope and Content: The records as transferred comprise the complete archive of the ILA from its inception until 1990 and include membership books, Constitution and bye-laws, minutes of conferences, Council and various committees, correspondence, conference, committee and branch files, financial records, press cuttings, newsletters, miscellaneous printed material and photographs, 1873-1990.
Language of Scripts: English, French, German
Biographical / Administrative History: The International Law Association (ILA) was founded in Brussels in 1873 as an association 'to consist of Jurists, Economists, Legislators, Politicians and others taking an interest in the question of the reform and Codification of Public and Private International Law, the Settlement of Disputes by Arbitration, and the assimilation of the laws, practice and procedure of the Nations in reference to such laws' (afternoon sitting of the first conference of members, 19 November 1873: reference ILA/1/1). It was initially called the Association for the Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations, changing its title to the International Law Association in the early 20th century.
The Association was to consist of a Council of officers comprising a President, vice presidents, secretaries and other members of the Conference (called the Bureau), plus a series of local, departmental or provincial committees who were to report to the President. These committees have since expanded into International Committees. The ILA's activities are now organised by an Executive Council, assisted by the Headquarters Secretariat in London. Membership of the Association, at present about 4,200, is spread among branches throughout the world and ranges from lawyers in private practice, academia, industrial and financial spheres, and representatives of bodies such as shipping and arbitration organisations and chambers of commerce. The ILA has consultative status, as an international non-governmental organisation, with a number of the United Nations specialised agencies.
The ILA appointed its first executive secretary in about the early 1950s. A 1982 memorandum from the Executive Council chairman, Lord Wilberforce (see ILA/27/1) clearly distinguished this position from that of the honorary secretary general: the executive secretary has executive responsibility for the administration of ILA headquarters; the honorary secretary general has no executive responsibility for the running of the office but is available for consultation and advice. ILA executive secretaries have included the following persons: G Worsley (c1960s), John Churchill (1979-1985), R C H Briggs (1985), Ferdie L De May and Barbara Osirio (c 1990s), Juliet Fussell (2000–2019) and Claire Martin since 2019.
The ILA's objectives are pursued primarily through the work of its International Committees and the focal point of its activities is the series of Biennial Conferences. These conferences, of which over 70 have so far been held in different locations throughout the world, provide a forum for the comprehensive discussion and endorsement of the work of the committees.
Archival History: In 1999 the ILA Secretary agreed to transfer the pre-1990 archive of the ILA in its entirety to the Records of Legal Education Archives at IALS on permanent loan.
Scope and content: the records as transferred comprise the complete archive of the ILA from its inception and include membership books, Constitution and bye-laws, minutes of conferences, Council and various committees, correspondence, conference, committee and branch files, financial records, press cuttings, newsletters, miscellaneous printed material and photographs.
Appraisal, scheduling and destruction information: by agreement with the ILA Secretary, appraisal and weeding is being carried out by the IALS Archivist to remove ephemera and duplicate material. It is anticipated that series lists will be available on-line in 2001.
An article on the history of the ILA written by the former IALS Archivist, Dr Ruth Frendo, may be found here in PDF format: ILA Article
Accruals: Further transfers of records are expected.
Arrangement: The records are arranged, in roughly chronological order, in the following series:
- Membership lists
- Constitution and bye-laws
- Minutes of conferences, Council and various committees
- Cash books
- Press cuttings
- Grotius Society material
- Conference files
- General correspondence files
- Committee files
- Branch files
- Miscellaneous printed material
Copyright: Vested in the ILA.
International Law Association Archive (PDF handlist)
You can search records for the International Law Association Archive on the SHLs Archives Catalogue.
Access is by prior appointment. (Email: IALS.Archives@sas.ac.uk or telephone 020 7862 5824)