ILA: International Law Association Archive

International Law Association Archive (PDF handlist)

Address: International Law Association (HQ); Senate House, Malet Street London WC1E 7HU
Secretary: Claire Martin
Telephone: +44 (020) 7323 2978
Telephone: +44 (020) 7323 3580
Follow the ILA on Twitter: @ILA_official
Registered Charity No. 249637


Reference: ILA
Title: International Law Association Archives
Dates: 1866-2019
Level: collection (fonds)
Extent and medium:179 archive boxes, 8 unboxed volumes, 1 outsize folder (32 shelf metres)
Name of Creator: International Law Association
Catalogue last updated: March 2022


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 01/01). 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 27/01) 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 (c1990s), and Juliet Fussell (since 2000). 

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.


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 
System of Arrangement: each class of records is arranged differently; some are chronological, some alphabetical and others have no discernable system of arrangement.
Physical characteristics: the collection comprises papers, some in files, plus a number of photographs and framed portraits.


Conditions governing 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 period 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).
Conditions governing reproduction: copies may be made for private use.  Requests for permission to publish any material copied or extracts thereof should be made to the copyright holder.  A Copyright Declaration – request for copies or a  Copyright Declaration - self service photography form must be completed. 
Copyright: vested in the ILA.


Archivist's note: Rules or conventions: original catalogue compiled in 1999 by Clare Cowling, Archivist.  It was updated in 2020 by Zoe Karens; the project was funded by the ILA. Some more additions were made in 2021 by Clare Cowling.
The catalogue has been compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Page last updated: 14th September 2022

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