Professor William L Twining's papers

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Archive Reference: TWIN  
Title: Papers deposited by Professor William L Twining, Law Teacher
Dates: 1944-2006
Level of description: collection (fonds)
Extent and medium: 28 archive boxes (7 shelf metres)
Name of creator: Professor W L Twining
Catalogue last updated: December 2020


Biographical History: William Lawrence Twining (b.1934) has had a long and distinguished career in law teaching and has been involved in many projects relating to legal education.  He was educated at Charterhouse School, Brasenose College, Oxford and the University of Chicago.  

University posts:

  • Lecturer in Private Law at the University of Khartoum (1958-1961)
  • Senior Lecturer in Law at University College, Dar-es-Salaam (1961-1965)
  • Professor of Jurisprudence at the Queen's University, Belfast (1965-1972)
  • Professor of Law at the University of Warwick (1972-1982)
  • Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London (1983-1996)
  • Director of University of London LLM Review (1992-1993)

Other activities:

  • Editor of Law in Context series, 1961-1991
  • Membership of the Committee on Legal Education in Northern Ireland (1972-1974)
  • Presidency of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (SPTL; now the Society of Law Teachers) (1978-1979)
  • Presidency of the UK Society for Legal and Social Philosophy (1980-1983)
  • Chairmanship of the Bentham Committee (1982- )
  • Chairmanship of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) (1983-1993)


Publications include: How to do things with rules with David Miers (1976); editor of Law publishing and legal information: Small jurisdictions of the British Isles with Jennifer Uglow (1981); Theories of evidence: Bentham and Wigmore (c1985); editor of Legal theory and common law (1986); editor of Essays on Kelsen with Richard Tur (1986); editor of Learning lawyers' skills with Neil Gold and Karl Mackie (1989); editor of Access to legal education and the legal profession with Rajeev Dhavan and Neil Kibble (1989); Rethinking evidence: exploratory essays (1990); editor of Issues of self-determination (1991); Analysis of evidence: how to do things with facts with Terence Anderson (1991); editor of Evidence and proof with Alex Stein (1992); joint editor of Legal Records in the Commonwealth with Emma Varnden Quick (Aldershot, Dartmouth, 1994); Blackstone's tower: the English law school (1994); Law in context: enlarging a discipline (1997); edited the Law in Context series and the Jurists' series.  See the IALS online library catalogue for further publications.


Scope and content: the collection comprises records relating to Professor Twining’s work for specific professional bodies and to research projects, predominantly focussed on the areas of the history of legal education and the teaching of legal education.


Language/scripts of material: English 

System of arrangement: there was no discernible original order across the two tranches of material.  Therefore, in order to give an overview of career and research interests and to support future accruals, the material has been sorted into three broad series relating to general academic career (TWIN 01), organisations and boards on which Prof Twining sat (TWIN 02); and research work (TWIN 03).  Third party articles and publications deposited have been retained as TWIN 04.  Within these series, the material has been sorted chronologically in order to give a sense of chronological development.

Conditions governing access: open 20 years after last date on file other than material containing personal data.  Closed items are designated in red.

Conditions governing reproduction: copyright remains with Professor Twining; requests to publish material should be referred to him (contact details available from the Archivist). Copyright declaration form to be completed. Digital photography copyright declaration form to be completed.

Physical characteristics: paper


Archival history: the records have been deposited with IALS in three tranches.  The first tranche was received between 1995 and 1997 as part of the Records of Legal Education project.  This project resulted in the creation of a Records of Legal Education Archives (now subsumed into the IALS Archives), into which these papers were deposited. The papers related to the Law in Context series, Laws In London project and the review of the University of London LLM course, as well as papers relating to the Committee of Heads of University Law Schools, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Society of Public Teachers of Law and of the Commonwealth Legal Records Project.

In March 2013, a second set of material was deposited at IALS via Professor Fiona Cownie who sorted, appraised and identified the material prior to its transfer to the Archives.  

In 2016 a further tranche of Twining material was deposited by Professor Cownie.  A detailed list of this material was made in 2020 as part of a project to catalogue SLS records by the project cataloguer, Zoe Karens.  The large amount of non-SLS material identified during this process awaits cataloguing.

Immediate source of acquisition: Professor Twining and Professor Cownie.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: during the Records of Legal Education project (1994-1998), records created or obtained by Prof Twining as an officer of the Committee of Heads of University Law Schools, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Society of Public Teachers of the Law and of the Commonwealth Legal Records Project were transferred to the collections held at IALS and catalogued as part of these collections (see Related Material below).  This practice has been discontinued and the material deposited at IALS after this period has been catalogued as part of the Twining collection. 

Obvious duplicates and material not related to legal education or Professor Twining’s career have been deaccessioned.  For specific appraisal decisions please see under the relevant series descriptions.

Terms of deposit: Deposit Agreement dated 11 February 2020.

Accruals: further accruals are expected.


Related material: material deposited by Prof Twining between 1995 and 1997 which was accumulated and created by him as an officer of a specific organisation or group was catalogued in the relevant collections under the following references:

Reference  Dates  Reference Description
CHULS 3 1983-1984 Papers of W L Twining as Convenor, Committee of Heads of University Law Schools working party on implications for law as a discipline of the Leverhulme Report and the Circular letter from the Chairman of the UGC No 16/83
CLEA 2 1977-1994 Papers of W L Twining as an officer of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association
SPTL 18 1965-1985 Papers of W L Twining as an officer of the Society of Public Teachers of Law
UOL Archives 1992-1993 Official papers of the UOL LLM Review ref: AC/8/33/5

Professor Twining was also Supervisor of the following projects whose papers are held by IALS:

  • The Commonwealth Legal Records Project, the administrative records of which were passed to IALS for safekeeping by the co-ordinator on the project's completion in 1993.  These papers are held in the IALS Archives; ref: CLRP.
  • The Records of Legal Education Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, from 1994-1998.  The administrative records of the project were passed to the IALS for safekeeping by the co-ordinator on the project's completion in 1998.  These papers are held in the IALS Archives; ref RLEP.
  • The Legal Records at Risk Project, financed by a generous philanthropic donor and based at the IASLS, which ran from 2017-2019.  Published material, including a book on the Project’s findings, is available on the IALS Archives website at

Related material held elsewhere: some of Professor Twining's papers relating to law teaching in Dar-es-Salaam are held at Rhodes House Library (ref: MSS Afr s 1825 811 (115).  


Archivist's note: The original listing, sorting, arrangement and appraisal recommendations of the first tranche was carried out by Clare Cowling as part of the Records of Legal Education project 1996-1998.  Subsequent cataloguing, arrangement and appraisal was carried out by Melanie Peart between 2014 and 2015, along with the sorting, appraisal, arrangement and cataloguing of the second tranche of material.  In 2020 the third tranche was formally accessioned by the SLS project cataloguer, Zoe Karens, as part of the SLS cataloguing project, to determine how much of the material comprised records of the SLS. 

Rules or conventions: original catalogue compiled in [-] by [-] 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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