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Nigeria archives guide: Nigeria

Archives Guides

IALS Archives subject guide: Nigeria

The records below, which hold references to Nigeria, 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 was on legal education in the Empire and later the Commonwealth, including Nigeria. 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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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: the files below have been selected as they specifically refer to colonial studies and students. Some records are closed to access 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 47/01 Nigeria 1969-1980
CLE 47/02 Nigeria - legal problems 1959-1960

CLE 52: Records relating to Changes in Part I of the Bar Examinations, 1963-1966

Reference Title Dates
CLE 52/06 Nigeria 1965-1966

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.  The President may be elected from any part of the Commonwealth: the Vice President must be established in the UK. 

Access to the records: some records are currently closed to public access under the Data Protection Act. Closed items are designated in red.

The records: passed to the IALS Archives by officers of the CLEA.  There is one record relating to Nigeria.

Selected items:

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

Reference Description Dates
CLEA 01/47 Nigeria: reports and correspondence 1974-1988

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

Access: The ILA stipulates a 30 year closure rule. Some items are further closed to public access under The Data Protection Act. Closed items are designated in red.

Selected items:

ILA 01/08: Projects and partnerships with external organisations, 1968-2003

Reference Title Dates
ILA 01/08/31 International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). Correspondence relating to the ILA’s participation to ICJ meetings and events. Also includes: ‘Newsletter of the International Commission of Jurists’, nos. 9 to 13, September 1960 to February 1962; annotated circular letter to the participants and observers of the African Conference in the Rule of Law held in Lagos, Nigeria 3-6 December 1961 and related literature, 1960 to 1961; ‘The Review’ [ICJ journal], no. 35, December 1985 1960-1986

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

ILA 04/27 International Law Association in Nigeria, 1975-1995

Reference Title Dates
ILA 04/27

Correspondence re Tenth Annual Celebration of the Nigerian Society of International Law in 1979, and the establishment of a branch of the ILA in Nigeria, inaugurated in 1980 and formally recognised by the Executive Council in 1982. Later correspondence covers subscription fees and conference attendance. Subsequent failure to remit contributions or communication resulted in the declaration of the branch as inoperative in 1986. Also included in the file is a leaflet 'Nigerian Legal Documents Collections and Catalogues 1987/88'. A small number of letters have been withdrawn from the folder and are CLOSED until 2057. Their contents are personal and do not relate to either the Nigerian Society of International Law or the branch of the ILA in Nigeria. Recommended for de-accessioning. Additional correspondence re the possible re-establishment of the Nigerian branch in the mid-1990s has been temporarily separated from the main file and CLOSED until 2070 (private addresses).

Some material (private addresses) CLOSED until 2071 for data protection (temporarily separated from the main file).


Sir Dingle Mackintosh Foot (FOOT): Papers, 1926-1979

Biographical history: Sir Dingle Mackintosh Foot (1905–1978), politician and lawyer, was born on 24 August 1905 in Plymouth, the eldest child in the family of five sons and two daughters of Isaac Foot (1880-1960), MP and solicitor, and his wife, Eva Mackintosh (1878-1946).  He was educated at Bembridge School, Isle of Wight and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a second in modern history in 1927. He was president of the University Liberal Club in 1927 and of the Oxford Union one year later, before becoming secretary to his father in the House of Commons after the latter's election in 1929.  

He was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1930, joining the western circuit.

Foot served several terms as a member of parliament.  He became a bencher of Gray's Inn in 1952 and took silk two years later. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Justices of the Peace from 1946 to 1948, was appointed a member of the Committee on Intermediaries in 1949 and chaired the Observer Trust from 1953 to 1955. It was at this time that Foot cultivated his links with legal practice in the Commonwealth, being admitted as an advocate in the Gold Coast, Ceylon, Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, India, Bahrain, Malaysia, and Southern Rhodesia. He specialized in constitutional and civil liberties cases, defending Dr Hastings Banda, then leader of the Nyasaland African Congress Party, when he was gaoled in Southern Rhodesia, and Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah, the former chief minister of Kashmir, in the Kashmir conspiracy case. He was expelled from Nigeria in 1962 while challenging the Emergency Powers Act on behalf of the western Nigerian premier, Alhaji D S Adegbenro, and was refused entry the next year when he sought to represent Chief Enaharo on a treason charge after his expulsion from the United Kingdom. Lord Diplock described him as 'an ambassador of common law throughout the Commonwealth' (The Times, 20 June 1978), and he established one of the first multiracial chambers in the Temple.

He died on 18 June 1978, during a case in Hong Kong, by choking on a sandwich in his hotel room. His remains were cremated in Hong Kong.

The records: the collection comprises legal files, administrative papers, photographs and newspaper cuttings.

Selected items:

FOOT 01: Legal files, 1926-1960

Reference Description Dates
FOOT 01/01

Legal file comprising:

- One letter [from Foot?] to Mr Adalabu, 6 December 1957. Concerning whether the Secretary of State will confer powers on the Minority Commission to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents.

- Two untitled summarising typescript memorandum, nd. [Possibly written by Foot].

‘Memorandum for Submission to the Minority Commission by the Western NCNC [National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons] Official Opposition’, typescript paper, nd.

‘A Memorandum Submitted by the Central Yoruba State Movement. Sponsored by the NCNC delegation’, typescript paper, 24 May 1957.
FOOT 01/02

Memoranda and other papers relating to the Minority Commission with reference to the United Muslim Party.   Including:

- Minutes of the Proceedings of the Minorities Commission’s Sitting at Lagos on 28 December 1957.

- ‘The National Muslim League’s Memorandum on the Fears of the Muslim Minorities in the Regions’, typescript paper by Hassan T A Funsho, Administrative Secretary, 28 December 1957.

- ‘United Muslim Party Memorandum on Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Threat to Legislate Against Political Parties Based on Islamic Religion’, typescript paper, n.d.

- ‘Human Rights in Nigeria. United Muslim Party Proposals on Fundamental Rights of Citizens of Nigeria and on Matters Relating to Minorities in a Self-Governing and Independent Nigeria, typescript paper, n.d.
n.d.; 1957

Professor William L Twining, Law Teacher (TWIN): papers, 1944-2014

Professor William L Twining, Law Teacher: papers, 1944-2014

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).

Selected items:

TWIN 03 Papers relating to research projects, 1965-2014

Reference Description Dates
TWIN 03/27/03 Papers relating to William Twining’s role as an External Examiner for law examinations at: Ahmadu Bello University; University of East Africa and the University of Ife, Nigeria 1967-1970