Archive of the University of Liverpool: Faculty of Law

Scope and Content

This series comprises Faculty Records (1908-1910; 1917-1965; 1988-1991) including minute books of the Faculty Board and Committees; material relating to Chairs and Lectureships (1908-1910), Minute book of the A F Warr Memorial (1908-1910),Publications of the Faculty of Law (1979, 1985).

Administrative / Biographical History

In the Charter of 1903 establishing the University provision was made for a Faculty of Law (clause 1). Prior to this provision, the direction of legal studies in University College was made by a Board of Legal Studies, established in 1886 initially with representatives of the College, the Law Society, and the Law Students' Association on the Board. Lectures in law were given in the College as early as 1882-3, by Frederick Pollock, and in 1883 and 1884 F.W. Maitland gave further courses of lectures. W. Lyon Blease was appointed Queen Victoria Chair of Law, and F. Raleigh Batt Chair of Commercial Law in 1919. The curriculum was strongly focussed on professional training and centred on the Law Society's Library in Cook Street. Blease and Batt were not full-time Professors, although they were both very involved in Senate business. In 1924, Betram B. B. Benas submitted to the Standing Commitee of Convocation a plan for the teaching of law on humanistic lines; the plan was unsuccessful, but an Honours school for Jurisprudence was established in the Faculty of Arts in 1927. Moves to increase the University's control over the teaching of law, suggested by McNair in 1939, began in 1942 after a Joint Committee recomendation that was opposed by Batt. However, the University gave the Law Society notice to terminate the agreement concerning the Board of Legal Studies at the close of the 1944-1945 session and arrangements were made to move the Faculty to the University precinct at the beginning of the following session. The Faculty occupied buildings around Abercromby Square and Chatham Street; the Law Society library as used by the Faculty was lost during war-time bombings although over time a new library was built up. The curriculum was revised in the late 1960s - early 1970s, the most noticeable change being the replacement of the study of Roman Law with the study of the English Legal system, Common Market Law, Revenue Law and Welfare Law. A third Chair in law was established in 1965 due to an increase in student numbers.


Arranged into two broad sections:

  • Faculty Records
  • Records Relating to Staff and Students

Access Information

Please phone (0151 794 2696) or email for an appointment; you may reserve material in advance.

For non University of Liverpool visitors, please bring some form of photo id (e.g. driving licence, travel pass, passport); Sydney Jones Library reception desk staff will issue you with a day pass.

Please note that some materials may be closed or have restricted access.

Related Material

Records of the Liverpool Board of Legal Studies are held by the Liverpool Law Society,  comprising Minute Books (1941-1975), Annual Reports and Statement of Accounts (1941-1963).

The Papers of Walter Lyon Blease (Chair of Law 1919 - 1949) are available at D55


  • H.A. Ormerod,History of the University of Liverpool: Chapter X: Section 4 The Faculty of Law,(pp.29-44), typescript [c.1950]; incomplete (covers period 1878-1903 only)
  • The Faculty of Law, The University of Liverpool,n.d. [1966], (brochure published on the opening of the new building and containing a history of the Faculty)