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Refugees and the Law: Archives guide

Archives Guides

Update Information

Guide last updated by Clare Cowling, May 2023

This guide was created by Clare Cowling, IALS Archivist.




The records below, which hold references to refugees and the law, comprise material transferred to the Records of Legal Education Archives (now subsumed into the IALS Archives) by officers of the International Law Association. The following keywords were used: asylum; displaced person; refugee; stateless. There may be more relevant material in the collections which was not picked up in word searches. 

All the records listed below, other than some items in the International Law Association collection, 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 other than those described above should be made to the Archivist ( Requests for accelerated access to closed items in the ILA collection, other than those containing personal data, should be made to the Chief Operations Officer of the ILA (

The PDF version of this guide is available below:

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

Sir William Dale (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.

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 06: Newspaper Cuttings, early 20th century-2000

Reference Title Dates
DALE 06/02  

Newspaper cutting: ‘UNRWA’s Legal Advisor. Distinguished Career Behind Dale’s Work’, reporting on Dale’s appointment as General Consul of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 1968.


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

Reference Title Dates
DALE 08/02 ‘Farewell to Sir William’, typescript speech or memorandum by Pascal Karmy ‘…and his colleagues’, relating to Sir William Dale’s retirement as General Consul [of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)], 2 July 1973. 1973

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. 

Selected Items

ILA 02 ILA Conferences, 1874-2014

Administrative Background: The focal point of the ILA's activities is the series of Biennial Conferences. These conferences, of which 69 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 ILA's international committees.

Reference Title Dates
ILA 02/25

Conference at Copenhagen, 1950. Reports presented at the 44th Conference, including:

  • The Committee on Nationality and Statelessness;
  • The Conflict of Laws Committee
ILA 02/40/04

Conference at Seoul, 1986. Reports presented by committees, including:

  • International Committee on the Enforcement of Human Rights Law;
  • International Committee on the Legal Status of Refugees;
  • Committee on International Medical and Humanitarian Law
ILA 02/41/07

Conference at Warsaw, 1988. Reports by committees, including:

  • International Committee on the Enforcement of Human Rights Law;
  • International Committee on the Legal Status of Refugees;
  • Committee on International Medical and Humanitarian Law
ILA 02/42/05

Conference at Queensland, 1990. Reports presented by committees, including:

  • International Committee on the Enforcement of Human Rights Law;
  • International Committee on the Legal Status of Refugees;
  • International Committee on the Legal Aspects of Inter-Country Adoption and Protection of Children
ILA 02/45/05

Conference at Helsinki, 1996. Reports presented by committees, including:

  • Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (two copies);
  • Committee on Extradition and Human Rights;
  • Committee on International Human Rights Law and Practice;
  • Committee on Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (two copies);
  • Committee on Refugee Procedures;
  • Legal Aspects of Inter-Country Adoption and Protection of the Family
ILA 02/46/06

Conference at Taipei, 1998. Reports presented by the following committees, including:

  • Committee on Internally Displaced Persons;
  • Committee on Regional Economic Development;
  • Committee on International Human Rights Law and Practice;
  • Committee on Refugee Procedures

ILA 03 ILA International Committees, 1875-2019

Reference Title Dates
ILA 03/45/01

Early internal memoranda and articles, including:

  • ‘Proposed ILA Committee on Internally Displaced Persons’, Professor James Crawford, 1992;
  • ‘International Committee on the Legal Status of Refugees. Working Session’, 1992;
  • Photocopy of ‘Japan’s Approaches to the Indo-Chinese Refugees in the Light of Historical and Legal Developments’, Professor Yukio Shimada. Reprinted from ‘The Japanese Annual of International Law no. 34 (1991). With covering letter from Professor Luke T. Lee to Professor Crawford, 1992;
  • Photocopy of ‘The Declaration of Principles of International Law on Compensation to Refugees: Its Significance and Implications’ by Professor Lee from ‘International Practitioner’s Notebook, no. 56 January 1993;
  • ‘The Cairo Declaration of Principles of International Law on Compensation to Refugees’, by Professor Lee. Reprint from ‘The American Journal of International Law’, vol. 87 no. 01, January 1993;
  • ‘Preliminary Report on the Legal Protection of Internally Displaced Persons (Draft)’, 1993;
  • Report on the second informal meeting of the Internationally Displaced Persons held on 17 August 1994, Professor Lee, 1994. With covering note to Professor Crawford;
  • ‘Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees: Toward a Legal Synthesis?’, Professor Lee, [August 1994]

Unpublished material CLOSED until 2024

ILA 03/45/02

Draft declarations of principles. Two texts prepared by Professor Yukio Shimada and Professor Rainer Hofmann. With a covering letter from Professor Luke T. Lee to Professor James Crawford.

CLOSED until 2026

ILA 03/45/03

Administrative correspondence. Predominately re-nominations and membership.

CLOSED until 2031. Some material (curricula vitae and address lists) CLOSED until 2075 (temporarily separated from the main file).

ILA 03/45/04

 Reports, including:

  • ‘Workshop on Compensation Issues as Part of a Comprehensive Solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem’, Professor Luke T. Lee, 1999;
  • Working Session Report, [London Conference], 2000;
  • Report of the Committee, ILA Helsinki Conference, 1996;
  • Report and Draft Convention for Consideration, ILA Taipei Conference, 1998;
  • Report and Draft Declaration for Consideration, ILA London Conference, 2000. [Two copies]

CLOSED until 2031

ILA 03/56 Refugee Procedures Committee - administrative correspondence and emails, reports and papers 1992-2002
ILA 03/56/01

Administrative correspondence, emails and database printouts. Predominately re resignations, nominations, and membership.

CLOSED until 2033. Some material (curricula vitae and address lists) CLOSED until 2077 (temporarily separated 
from the main file).

ILA 03/56/02

Reports and papers. Memorandum outlining the main issues which should be tackled the Committee, Prof Kay Hailbronner, 9 June 1992, including:

  • ‘Perspectives of a Harmonisation of the Law of Asylum After the Maastricht Summit, Prof Hailbronner. Offprint from ‘Common Market Law Review’ 29, (1992);
  • Report of the Committee, ILA Cairo Conference, 1992;
  • Memorandum, ‘Summary Report on Konstanz Meeting and Indication of Future Tasks’, David A. Martin [Committee Rapporteur], 22 December 1993;
  • Interim Report, ILA Buenos Aires Conference, 1994. Two copies;
  • Working Session Report, ILA Buenos Aires Conference, 1994. Together with a covering letter;
  • Memorandum re environmental refugees, and group eligibility refugees, Emmanuel Opoku Awuku, 20 November 1995;
  • Memorandum re the scope and due process of refugee procedures, Emmanuel Opoku Awuku, 19 June 1997;
  • Working Session Report, ILA Taipei Conference, 1998;
  • Memorandum, ‘Resolution 5/2002. Refugee Procedures. Guidelines on Temporary Protection’, 2002;
  • Memorandum, ‘Resolution 6/2003. Refugee Procedures. Declaration on International Minimum Standards for Refugee Procedures’, 2002;

CLOSED until 2033


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

Reference Title Dates
ILA 04/40/02 International Association in Korea, 1963-1989, Correspondence re membership, remittances and organizational structure. Includes nomination of members to the International Committee on the Legal Status of Refugees (1986); participation in the Committee on Legal Problems of Divided States (1988). 1976-1989

ILA 06 Library, 1866-1969

Reference Title Dates
ILA 06/09

‘The Spanish Civil War and other matters'. Newsletters, bulletins, and other propaganda publications from various 
organisations. Includes:

  • ‘Information Service/Service d’Information’, newsletter of the International Office For the Right Of Asylum And Aid To Political Refugees/Bureau International pour le Respect du Droit d’Asile et l’Aide aux Réfugiés Politiques (February – April 1937).