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Cambridge Squire Law Library: historical development and current status of International Law collections

Citation: Dingle, Lesley (2017) Cambridge Squire Law Library: historical development and current status of International Law collections. Legal Information Management, 17 (2). pp. 78-91. ISSN 1472-6696


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

The Squire Law Library has existed since 1904, and it has occupied three sites: Downing Street (till 1935); The Cockerell Building, Old Schools (1935-95); and West Road (1995-present), but until the mid-1950s, there was no designated collection space for International Law materials. Prior to this, the Whewell professors had their own collections, while the arrival of Harold Gutteridge as Professor of Comparative Law in 1930 saw a nucleus of international books develop in his room in the mezzanine of the Downing Street library. Similarly, when Hersch Lauterpacht became Whewell Professor in 1937, international material tended to be concentrated in his room 6 of the Cockerell Building. Finally a space was designated within the Squire Law Library for Foreign & International Law in 1957, and in 1962 the Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Room was created for this purpose. In the mid-70s, Professor Parry arranged for the whole of the 1st floor in the Cockerell Building to be set aside for these collections. Currently, the 3rd floor of the Sir David Williams Building on West Road houses both Foreign and International materials. Collection development policy has been driven by Faculty interests, especially those of the incumbent of the Whewell Chair of International Law, which was established in 1868. Since WWII, the main growth areas have been in Human Rights, Law of the Sea, Trade Law, and Investment Law, largely prompted by UN/EU/global trade-centric studies. Since 1982, journal acquisition policy has been increasingly dictated by the University Library, especially since 2003, when the UL Journals Co-ordination Scheme was piloted. After the 1980s, material has been increasingly of an electronic nature. Establishment of a specialist post (1997) singled out International Law as the premier component of the Squire Law Library collections. Currently ~30% of both Faculty staff and research students engage in International Law.

Additional Information: This is a pre-print of an article which will be published in Legal Information Management in 2017. It has been developed by the author (Lesley Dingle, Foreign & International Law Librarian, Squire Law Library, Cambridge) from a paper she gave at “Socio-Legal Sources and Methods in International Law” a national socio-legal training day held at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies on Friday 25 November 2016. The workshop was jointly organised by the British Library, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Socio-Legal Studies Association.
Creators: Dingle, Lesley (0000-0002-9070-6255) and
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Subjects: Law
Keywords: Squire Law Library Cambridge, International law, Public international law, Legal research methods, Legal sources
Divisions: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  • 1 February 2017 (accepted)
  • 29 June 2017 (published)


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