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Libya Archives Guide: Libya

Archives Guides

Guide last updated by Clare Cowling, July 2023

This guide was created by Clare Cowling, IALS Archivist.


IALS Archives subject guide: records in the IALS Archives
Legal Education in Libya

The records below, which hold specific references to Libya, 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. 
All the records listed below may be viewed by prior appointment in the IALS Library.  Requests for an appointment to examine any of the records should be made to the Archivist (  

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Sir William 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.

After Hymers College, Hull, Dale entered into articles with solicitors in the city. After an external London University LLB, he read for the bar, supporting himself on a Gray's Inn scholarship and occasional appointments as a suburban church organist. Call in 1931 was followed by a London pupillage, practice briefly on the north-eastern circuit, and a return to chambers in the Temple. He then joined an English solicitor practising in Jaffa. In 1935 he applied for a legal post in the Colonial Office. On 12 September 1936 he married his second cousin, Emma Patricia Goulton (Biddy) Leonard (b. 1910/11), daughter of Thomas Goulton Leonard, stockbroker, but she was soon diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis and the marriage ended in divorce in 1943. On 30 November 1948 he married Elizabeth Romeyn Elwyn (1922-2002), an American architect, but that marriage, too, was childless, and they were divorced in 1953. She subsequently married the architect Henry Thomas (Jim) Cadbury-Brown.

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.

Selected items:

DALE 01/01: Professional correspondence of Sir William Dale, 1954-1999

Reference Title Dates
DALE 01/01/01

Two letters relating to Sir William Dale’s time as Chief Legal Adviser in Libya.  Comprising:

  • Letter from E B Boothby of the Foreign Office to Sir Kenneth Roberts-Wray. Expressing appreciation of Dale’s work in Libya, 16 January 1954.
  • Together with a covering letter to Dale from Charles Jeffries of the Colonial Office, 27 January 1954.


DALE 01/02: Personal correspondence and papers of Sir William Dale, 1933-2003

Reference Title Dates
DALE 01/02/01

Personal correspondence of Sir William Dale. Includes

  • Untitled handwritten account describing the country of Libya, nd.


DALE 02: Diaries of Sir William Dale, c1933-c1996

Reference Title Dates
DALE 02/04 Dale’s diary while working as a legal adviser in Libya, December 1951 to February [1953?]. 1951-[1953?]

DALE 07: Photographs, c.1930s-c.1990s

Reference Title Dates
DALE 07/02

Uncaptioned and undated photographs.  Including

  • Two colour photographs of an unidentified building and a lake or river in [Libya?]. nd.

DALE 08: Papers relating to tributes and memorials to Sir William Dale, c.1953-2000

Reference Title Dates
DALE 08/01 Translated transcript of an article in Al Taralubus Al Gharb, reporting the departure of Sir William Dale, Head of the Litigation and Legislation Department at the Libyan Ministry of Justice, for the British Foreign Office in London c1953

International Law Association (ILA): Archives, 1866-2019

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 04/23 International Law Association in Libya, 1963

Reference Title    Dates
ILA 04/23 Correspondence re the establishment of a branch of the ILA in Libya. 1963