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Ghana archives guide: Ghana

Archives Guides

IALS archives subject guide: Ghana

The records below, which hold specific references to Ghana, were transferred to the Records of Legal Education Archives (now subsumed into the IALS Archives) by individuals and organisations with a particular interest in legal education, both the UK and abroad. A particular focus of several collections was on legal education in the Empire and later the Commonwealth, including Ghana. The records listed below were identified using the keywords Accra; Ghana; Gold Coast. All the records, other than those containing personal data, may be viewed by prior appointment in the IALS Library. Closed items are designated in red. Requests for an appointment to examine any of the records should be made to the Archivist (

Related material

Though there are few specific references to Ghana in the records of the Archives, there is doubtless much information of relevance in the records covering the Commonwealth and Africa generally. For these records see the IALS Archives Subject Guide: Colonialism, Decolonisation and the Law. To browse the Archives catalogues for more information see this link:

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Council of Legal Education (CLE): Archives, 1852-1997

Administrative history: The Council of Legal Education (CLE) was established by Resolutions of the Inns of Court in 1852, following the recommendation that year of a Legal Education Committee of the Four Inns. The CLE was entrusted with the power and duty of superintending the education and examination of students who had been admitted to the Inns and was to consist of an equal number of Benchers appointed by each of the Inns. Five Readerships or Professorships were set up, to each deliver three courses of lectures per year. Students were required to attend a certain number of lectures and to pass public examinations. The examinations were held thrice yearly, in Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms. The CLE was given the power to grant dispensations to students unable to attend all required lectures. The CLE continued to oversee legal education for the Bar until 1997. In that year the CLE transferred most of its responsibilities and assets to the ICSL. Its responsibility for supporting education and training for the Bar was passed to a new body, the Inns of Court and Bar Educational Trust (ICBET), while its regulatory function was passed to the General Council of the Bar. In 1997 the CLE ceased to operate.

The records: The file below specifically refers to colonial studies and students in Ghana

Selected items:

CLE 47: Dean's Overseas Correspondence, alphabetically arranged, 1959-1994
Reference Title Date
CLE 47/04 Ghana 1969-1981

Commonwealth Legal Records Project (CLRP): Archives, 1989-1993

Administrative history: The Commonwealth Legal Records Project (CLRP), which began its investigations in 1990, was jointly sponsored by the Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Records Managers (ACARM) and the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA), and was financed by a grant from the Leverhulme Foundation.  It comprised a three-year programme of research into modern legal records throughout the Commonwealth.  The objectives of the study were to:

  • analyse questions relating to the nature, extent and potential uses of legal records of all kinds;
  • collect information about the state of legal records in selected Commonwealth jurisdictions;
  • analyse factors relevant to devising informed policies regarding the management, appraisal, preservation and destruction of legal records and suggest guidelines;
  • produce and disseminate the findings of the study in a form that would be useful to interested institutions and individuals in different jurisdictions in the Commonwealth, especially developing countries. 

Publications: The project produced one book, Legal Records in the Commonwealth, and one major study, Legal Records in Accra (Ghana). 

The records cover both the specific research resulting in the production of the publication and the collection of evidence relating to all aspects of the creation and disposal of legal records.

Selected Items:

CLRP 05: Research Files – Ghana, 1990-1992
Reference Title Dates
CLRP 05/01 Case Study: Correspondence and Background Papers 1990-1992
CLRP 05/02 Case Study: Original Manuscript and Completed Case Study 1992
CLRP 05/03 (Parts 1-2) Legal Records Workshop: Aims, Objectives and Background Papers 1990
CLRP 05/04 Legal Records Workshop: Correspondence Concerning Arrangements and Participants, with Evaluation Reports 1990-1992
CLRP 05/05 Legal Records Workshop: Correspondence Relating to Financial Arrangements 1990-1991
CLRP 05/06 Legal Records Workshop: Working Papers-Master Set with Contents List N.D.

Sir William Dale (Ref: DALE): Papers, 1930s-2003

Biographical history: Sir William Leonard Dale (1906–2000), lawyer and civil servant, was born on 17 June 1906 at The Rectory, Preston in Holderness, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the elder son and eldest of the three children of the Revd William Dale (1852–1934), Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Rose (1870–1963), daughter of Herbert Leonard, farmer, of Marfleet, Yorkshire.

Dale moved to an administrative position in the wartime Ministry of Supply in 1940, returning to the Colonial Office after VJ-day to the legal complexities of Raja Brooke's cession of Sarawak to the British crown. He was made CMG in 1951, in which year he fielded a request to identify a legal adviser for the new kingdom of Libya by promptly volunteering himself. He returned in 1953, despite the Libyan government's entreaties to stay on as a Supreme Court judge.

A move to the Ministry of Education in 1954 produced a change of work. But Lord Hailsham's arrival as minister in 1957 led to clashes, to which Dale responded by declaring himself semi-redundant, and taking up work for half the day at the Foreign Office. In 1961 he became the legal adviser to the Commonwealth Relations Office (CRO), and in the following year he was seconded to the central Africa office to help deal with the break-up of the Central African Federation. He was promoted KCMG in 1965, and retired a year later, a period which spanned the CRO's amalgamation with his old department, but not the final merger into a single Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In London on 17 June 1966, his last day in service, he married Gloria Finn (b. 1922), textile designer, of Washington, DC, daughter of Charles Spellman, stockbroker. They had one daughter, Rosemary.

A spell in the law officers' department (1967–68) was followed by a decision to move to Beirut as general counsel to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. Return home in 1973 opened the most productive and creative phase of Dale's legal life, and a working partnership with Kutlu Fuad, head of the legal division in the Commonwealth Secretariat, which had been founded in Dale's CRO days. First came a study of how to provide competent Commonwealth draftsmen, commuted into a fuller investigation into what legislative style would best meet the needs of newly independent countries, and unlocking Dale's interest in simpler approaches to writing statutes. Then came the call to take over the Government Legal Advisers course (another Dale–CRO creation), through which over the next quarter-century Dale persuaded eminent British figures into nurturing the practical skills of generations of overseas lawyers. The final flowering came in the decision of London University's Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) to found a centre for legislative studies in Dale's honour on his ninetieth birthday. The mark of his continuing vigour and determination lay in his becoming its founding Director and establishing a firm base for its activity before stepping down shortly before his death.

He died of prostatic cancer on 8 February 2000 at Compton Lodge, 7 Harley Road, Camden, London, and was buried at St Pancras Church, Finchley, London. He was survived by his wife and their daughter.

Selected Items:

DALE 04: Research Notes and Papers Written or Compiled by Sir William Dale, 1934-1998
Reference Title Dates
DALE 04/02/01 ‘Ghana Press Release No. 53/61. Address by Hon P K K Quaidoo, MP, Minister of Social Welfare on the Occasion of the Official Opening of a Septic Tank at WA on 14th January, 1961 at 2pm’, typescript memorandum, 14 January 1961. 1961

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS): Institutional Archives, 1934-2021

Administrative history: The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) was established in 1946 as part of the University of London.  Its aims were "the prosecution and promotion of legal research and the training of graduate students in its principles and methods" (39th Annual Report, 1985/86).  Since its inception the scope of the Institute has expanded considerably, with sponsorship of and support for many research projects and the provision of facilities for other research bodies and for conferences, seminars and workshops.  The Library provides facilities for academic and research staff and postgraduate research students from universities all over the world, and is one of the world's largest legal research libraries.   In 1994 IALS became a major component of the School of Advanced Study. 

Selected Items:

IALS 13: Printed and Published Papers produced by or concerning the Institute, 1947-2019
Reference Title Dates
IALS 13/12/24 Dennis Dominic Adjei, IALS Inns of Court Judicial Fellow, The Right to Information to Promote Transparency and Accountability, and the Right of Protection provided by International and National Laws within the Ghanaian Context 2023

IALS 26/03 Nuffield Foundation Fellowship programme: Hilary Lewis-Ruttley’s papers, 1993-1997

Administrative background: the Nuffield Foundation Fellowship Scheme was intended to “strengthen the capacity of legal and judicial institutions in Commonwealth developing countries, in addressing current problems relating to law and the profession, in particular through indigenous designs for law reform and continuing legal education (CLE)” (see pamphlet in IALS 26/03/01).  The programme formed part of the IALS’s law reform and initiatives in professional legal education and was co-ordinated by the IPTU.  The first Nuffield programme took place at IALS in 1994 and ran until 1997.




IALS 26/03/08 Part 1

Nuffield Fellows’ final proposals (originals)and synopses:

  • Anita M H Ababio, The Impact of the constitutional Provisions on the Customary Disabilities of Women in Ghana; report on the Abolition of Ritual Slavery, Forced Labour and other related Practice


International Law Association (ILA) Archives, 1866-2019

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 has consultative status, as an international non-governmental organisation, with a number of the United Nations specialised agencies.

Selected Items:

ILA 04 Regional branches of the ILA: records, 1877-2013

ILA 04/16 International Law Association in Ghana,1954-1965

Reference Title Dates
ILA 04/16/01 Drafts of the constitution of the Gold Coast branch, and related correspondence between W. Harvey Moore and Edward Akufo-Addo 1954-1955
ILA 04/16/02 Letters concerning financial returns from the Ghana branch. Includes letters from Thomas D. Hardy regarding political developments in Ghana and the implications for the future of the branch. One letter has been temporarily removed in compliance with the Data Protection Act and is CLOSED until 2041. 1954-1965