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Hong Kong archives guide: Hong Kong

Archives Guides

IALS Archives subject guide: records in the IALS Archives
Legal Education in Hong Kong

The records below, which hold specific references to Hong Kong, 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. 

Related material: in addition to the specific references to Hong Kong in the records of the Archives, there is probably information of relevance in the records covering the Commonwealth and Asia 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:

Access: some items are closed to public access as they contain personal data. Item descriptions are nevertheless included in this guide as indicative of the various organisations’ work relating to legal education in Hong Kong.

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 (  

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

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: some records may be closed to access under the ICBET’s 30 year closure rule. Others, which contain personal data, are closed for 75 years under the Data Protection Act. Closed items are designated in red.

Selected items:

CLE 47: Dean's Overseas Correspondence, alphabetically arranged, 1959-1994

Reference Title Dates
CLE 47/05 Hong Kong 1994

Commonwealth Legal Association (CLEA): Records, 1971-1995

Commonwealth Legal Association (CLEA): Records, 1971-1995

Administrative history: the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) was founded during the Fourth Commonwealth Law Conference in New Delhi in 1971.  The idea was initiated by Indian lawyer Dr Laxmi Singhvi, CLEA's first chairman. The Association's objects were to foster high standards of legal education and research in Commonwealth countries: to build up contacts between interested individuals and organizations, and to disseminate information and literature concerning legal education and research.

The CLEA's structure, objectives and functions are set out in its Constitution, adopted soon after its foundation. Membership is open to individuals, schools of law and other institutions concerned with legal education and research.  Patrons are appointed from various Commonwealth countries. The affairs of the Association are managed by an Executive Committee, drawn from the Commonwealth regions, which meets annually: its actions are reviewed at 5 yearly General Meetings, the first of which was held in Edinburgh during the Fifth Commonwealth Law Conference in 1977. There is an Advisory Panel in the United Kingdom. The administration of the Association was carried out by a chairman and two secretaries, one in London and one abroad. In 1990 the office of chairman was replaced by a president and executive chairperson (since renamed vice president).  The President may be elected from any part of the Commonwealth: the Vice President must be established in the UK.  In 1994 a South Asian regional chapter was formed.

Selected items:

CLEA 01: Secretary's Correspondence and Papers, alphabetically arranged, 1971-1991

Reference Title Dates
  [Overseas legal education]:-  
CLEA 01/39 Hong Kong: reports and correspondence.  Contains some confidential material. CLOSED until 2060 1974-1985

CLEA 02: Papers of W L Twining as a CLEA Officer, 1973-1994

Biographical note: 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.  He has been 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) and Professor of Law at the University of Warwick (1972-1982).  From 1983-1996 he was the Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London.  

He has edited many publications concerning legal education, including Legal Records in the Commonwealth (joint editor with E Varnden Quick), for the papers of which project see the Commonwealth Legal Records Project (CLRP) collection in the IALS Archives.

Professor William Twining was a CLEA officer as follows:

  • Advisory Panel member 1977-1983
  • Executive Committee member 1980-1983
  • Chairman/President 1983-1990
  • Executive Chairman 1990-1994

Scope, content and arrangement: the Twining papers include material relating to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), 1988-1990.  CHRI was an area in which the CLEA was involved primarily as a member and supporter.  CLEA nominated one member to CHRI and had representatives on the CHRI's Advisory Commission and Steering Committee: William Twining was one of those representatives.  CLEA also played a major role in drafting the CHRI report Put our World to Rights.  

Selected items:

Reference Title Dates
CLEA 02/85 "CHRI for Hong Kong": correspondence, papers, reports, minutes of steering committee 1991

CLEA 07: Conference on emerging educational challenges for law in Commonwealth Asia and Australasia: the implications for Legal Education – conference papers, 1992

Administrative history: this conference was run by the CLEA together with the Hong Kong Law Teachers’ Association, the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong from April 10-12, 1992.  

Reference Title Dates

CLEA 07/01

Keynote address: Upendra Bai, Delhi University: Observations on Law, Language and Culture


CLEA 07/02

Peter Slinn, SOAS: The Training Course for Young Commonwealth Lawyers


CLEA 07/03

Hilary Lewis-Ruttley, IALS: The Internationalisation of Legal Practice in Commonwealth Asia and Australasia


CLEA 07/04

Prof S C Srivastava, Kurukshetra University: Horizons of New Lawyers of the Commonwealth Asia and Australia


CLEA 07/05

E Eugene Clark & Dr Martin Tsamenyi, University of Tasmania: An Australian Perspective on Overseas Students and International Legal Education


CLEA 07/06

Helen Endre, Queensland University of Technology & Erika Martens, University of Adelaide: Deconstruction, Decolonisation and reconstruction in the Australian Legal Culture: the place of the Indigeneous Australian


CLEA 07/07

Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland: Decolonising Legal Education in Aoteroa [New Zealand]


CLEA 07/08

Prof Dr Pyayag Singh, University of Patna: Decolonisation of the Common Law and its Implications


CLEA 07/09

Isan A Eddie & Fay Hicks, University of New England: Comparative Law, Culture and Legal Education in the Asia-Pacific Region


CLEA 07/10

Naorem Sanajaoba, Gauhati University: Asianisation and Easternisation of received Common Law in Asian Legal Systems (ALS)


CLEA 07/11

Shah Alam, Rajshahi University: Bilingual Hazards in Legal Education and Legal Practice in Bangladesh


CLEA 07/12

Eva Lau: Bilingual Legislation in Hong Kong – a Bilingual’s View


CLEA 07/13

Albert Chen, University of Hong Kong: Law in a Foreign Language: the Case of Hong Kong


CLEA 07/14

Alison W Conner, University of Hong Kong: The Regulation of Foreign Lawyers in Hong Kong


CLEA 07/15

William Macneil, University of Hong Kong: Hong Kong, the Bill of Rights and the Question of Identity


CLEA 07/16

H M Zafrullah, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong: Law and Language in a Multi-Racial Society – the Switchover from English to the National Languages in Sri Lanka


CLEA 07/17

Prof Jack Goldring, University of Wollongong and Prof Neil Gold, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong: The International LLB


CLEA 07/18

Bart Rwezaura, University of Hong Kong: The Constraints of Adopting Kiswahili as a Language of the Law in Tanzania


CLEA 07/19

NRM Menon, National Law School of India, Impact of Cultural Pluralism in Political Discourse and Legal Development: Some Reflections from the Indian Scene


CLEA 07/20

Mrs Kazi Ashraf Unnisa, University Law College, Bangalore: Lex Loci and the English Language – Lessons from the Indian Experience


CLEA 07/21

Dr Nik Ramlah Mahmood, University of Malaya: Bilingualism in Legal Education – a Malaysia Experience


CLEA 07/22

John Nongorr, University of Papua New Guinea: Language Problems in Papua New Guinea Courts


CLEA 07/23

Ann Stewart: Women and Law


CLEA 07/24

Margaret Davies, The Flanders University of South Australia: Back to the Common Law? The Limits of Law and the Problems of Translation


CLEA 07/25

Michael Kyriacon Peters, The University of Sydney: Social engineering and the Law: Immigration and Multicultural Legal Principles


CLEA 07/26

D D Kaushik, Meerut College: Distance Education – Perspectives for Legal Education


CLEA 07/27

Dr V B Coutinho, Bangalore University: The Changing World Economy and the Challenge of Providing Quality Legal Education to Meet the Demands of the Twenty First Century


CLEA 07/28

Monica Langford, The College of Law: Internationalisation of Legal Practise


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'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'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.

Selected items:

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

ILA 04/43 International Law Association in Hong Kong, 1980-1989

Reference Title Dates
ILA 04/43 Administrative correspondence concerning foundation of the Hong Kong branch in 1980, including statutes (two copies); subsequent organisation and administration, including subscription fees and temporary suspension of branch activities due to financial difficulties and membership levels. 1980-1989

The Law Society (LSOC): Examination Records, 1836-1989

The Law Society (LSOC): Examination Records, 1836-1989

Administrative History:  The Law Society was founded in London in 1825 as the Society of Attorneys, Solicitors, Proctors and others not being barristers, having been previously established in 1823 as The London Law Institution. It acquired its first Royal Charter in 1831 and a further charter in 1845 established it as an independent professional organisation. The Society has delivered legal education in England since 1835 and has set examinations since 1836.   From 1887-1984 these were also set for those sitting the examination in the colonies and Commonwealth.

Finding aids: records up to 1946 have been digitised by Ancestry and access to the digitised versions, including downloading digital copies for private research, is subject to Ancestry’s terms and conditions. To find the examination record of any individual in the collection search here: .

Selected items:

LSOC 14: Colonial and Commonwealth Examinations, 1887-1984

 Reference Title Scope and Contents Dates

LSOC 14/16

[Colonial Intermediate and Final Examinations]  Entries from 1948 CLOSED under the Data Protection Act

Divided into 2 sections - Intermediate at front, finals at rear of volume, then arranged chronologically according to sitting. 

Intermediate, information recorded: name of candidate; [marks] Trust Accounts and Book- Keeping.  Finals, information recorded: name of candidate; address; date and place of exam[marks] conveyancing; equity; common law and bankruptcy; divorce, probate etc; total. 

This volume is difficult to identify.  It is titled "British Guiana Final Examinations {Including Trust Accounts and Book-Keeping}.  However, elsewhere trust accounts and Book Keeping form part of the intermediate exams.  In addition, on the spine alongside the embossed "British Guiana" written in ball point pen is "Hong Kong".  There is no immediate indication in the volume of there being two separate countries as the entries are chronological.  Other volumes containing two or more countries generally are clear as to which country is being referred to.


LSOC 14/23

Commonwealth examination papers (loose)

Examination papers (incomplete):

Qualifying Examinations Parts I-II: Hong Kong, May 1968; Nov 1968; May 1969; Nov 1969

Qualifying Examinations Parts I-II: possibly Zambia, May 1970, Nov 1971; Nov 1972

Qualifying Examinations Parts I-II: Jamaica, Nov 1970

Qualifying Examinations Parts I-II: Trinidad, May 1971; Nov 1971

May 1968 – Nov 1972

LSOC 14/24

Commonwealth examination papers (loose)

Examination papers (incomplete):

Qualifying Examinations Parts I-II: Barbados Nov 1973; Nov 1974

Qualifying Examinations Parts I-II: Hong Kong Nov 1973

Qualifying Examinations Part I: Jamaica Nov 1973

Nov 1973 – Nov 1974 

Professor William L Twining, Law Teacher (TWIN): Papers, 1944-2006

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.

He was Chair of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) from 1983-1993 and Supervisor of the Commonwealth Legal Records Project (records held in the IALS Archives; ref: CLRP). 

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)

Selected items:

TWIN 02: Papers relating to organisations and bodies of which Prof Twining was a member, 1965-1996

Extent and form: 8.5 archive boxes

Access: see subseries descriptions for specific closure periods.

System of arrangement: Arranged chronologically during cataloguing.

Copyright in published articles: vested in the authors

TWIN 02/01: Papers and publications from The Law Society, 1974-1995

Extent and form: 12 items

Item list:

Reference Title Dates
TWIN 02/02/11

Brief typescript report on ‘How Can You Learn Practice in Theory?’ Paper delivered by Rod Meagher QC at the 7th Commonwealth Law Conference held in Hong Kong from 18 to 23 September 1983.

With related handwritten notes by William Twining.


TWIN 03: Papers relating to research projects, 1965-2014

TWIN 03/05: Research for Learning Lawyers' Skills, 1970s-1987

Extent and form: 8 items

Scope and content: research material and submissions for Learning Lawyers’ Skills (working titles the skills book and Teaching Lawyering Skills: The State of the Art), edited by Neil Gold, Karl Mackie and Prof Twining.  The volume was produced by the Commonwealth Institute for Legal Education and Training (CILET).  Correspondence with law schools is annotated with a reference code, indicating it was part of a filing scheme.

Reference Title Dates
TWIN 03/05/02

Post Graduate Certificate in Laws Information Handbook, University of Hong Kong. Includes covering letter.  Annotated: "J1".

TWIN 03/05/03 Submission for Teaching Lawyering Skills by Stephen Nathanson, Lecturer in Law at the University of Hong Kong. Annotated: "J4". 1987