Records of Lawyers Against Apartheid, pressure group, London, England

Scope and Content

  • Committee minutes 1987-1991
  • Steering Committee minutes 1987
  • General minutes 1987-1989
  • Prisoner of War Sub Group minutes 1989
  • Sub Group of Domestic Support Unit minutes 1987
  • Political Detentions, Trials & Punishments Sub Group minutes 1987
  • Annual general meeting minutes 1990
  • London Anti Apartheid Committee minutes 1988
  • Political Trials Sub Group papers 1986-1989
  • Minutes of sub groups and correspondence 1987-1989
  • Membership records 1987-1991
  • Correspondence 1987-1990
  • Case files 1983-1989
  • Subject files relating to detainees 1988-1989
  • Political prisoners 1982-1988
  • No Executions campaign 1987-1989
  • Prisoners of War 1987-1989
  • Conference papers 1986-1989
  • Newspaper cuttings 1977-1990
  • Domestic Support Sub Group papers 1987-1988
  • Anti Apartheid Movement papers 1986-1989
  • Human Awareness programme papers 1987
  • Petitions and lobbying papers 1988-1990
  • Bulletins and correspondence 1986-1996
  • Financial records 1987-1989
  • Constitution, campaigns and aims 1987
  • Miscellaneous papers, drafts and reports 1985-1990
  • Associated organisations minutes and papers 1987-1988
  • Press releases 1987-1990
  • Lawyers Against Apartheid: Washington papers received 1987

Administrative / Biographical History

Lawyers Against Apartheid  Lawyers Against Apartheid was formed following a legal conference in December  1986  to mobilise the support of the legal community in Great Britain for the liberation struggles in South Africa and Namibia. Membership was open to all members of the legal community in Britain, including practitioners, academics, students and legal workers. The group was affiliated to the Namibia Support Committee, London, and the Anti-Apartheid Movement with whose guidelines for Local Groups it adopted for governing the conduct of its activities.

The first official meeting of the group was in London in January  1986  where aims and objectives were discussed. It was decided that the aims of Lawyers Against Apartheid were to include exposing the nature and illegitimacy of the apartheid regime to the British legal community, campaigning for anti-apartheid policies and practices within the British legal community, and providing advice and assistance to the local anti-apartheid groups. The group challenged the established ideas of the South African legal system, especially the myth of impartial hearings from an independent tribunal. They also promoted the issue of Prisoner of War status for captured freedom fighters and supported the campaign for Namibia's independence following South Africa's illegal occupation.

Lawyers Against Apartheid held at least 4 speaker meetings a year, usually at Greys Inn, London, and had a number of sub-groups that worked on specific issues such as Prisoners of War, Domestic Legal Support, International Law, and Trials & Punishments.

The group was run by a committee consisting of a chair, secretary, treasurer and 9 ordinary members who were elected each year at the annual general meeting. A Steering Committee operated the group until the first AGM when a properly elected committee was established and the steering group abolished. The group was financed through a subscription from its members as well as special functions and fund-raising events. With the fall of the Apartheid system in South Africa, the group folded in  1996 , donating much of its remaining funds to Action for South Africa, London (ACTSA), formerly the Anti-Apartheid Movement.


The material is arranged into series as shown in the scope and content. Within series, items are generally arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Bona fide researchers only. Written research proposals should be submitted to the Research Collections Manager.

Acquisition Information

Following a visit to the University in the autumn of 1998 by the High Commissioner for South Africa, Her Excellency Ms Cheryl Carolus, a member of the visiting party, George Johannes, Counsellor for the Political Section of the Commission, offered to donate material from his own books and papers to form the basis of a new Special Collection. The original deposit, which consisted mainly of books, pamphlets, serials, and posters, has been supplemented with two additional deliveries of predominantly archive materials.


Please note that the archive is not yet fully catalogued and further materials have yet to be identified.

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom. Further information can be found via the Glasgow Caledonian Research Collections homepage .

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Research Collections Manager

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures

Custodial History

Held by George H Johannes


Accruals expected

Related Material

  • GB 1847 GHJARC-HE Records of Health and Refugee Trust of South Africa (HEART)
  • GB 1847 GHJARC-RP Records of Regional Political Committee
  • GB 1847 GHJARC-JP Papers of George H Johannes
  • GB 1847 AAMS Records of Anti Apartheid Movement Scottish Committee

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Fonds level description compiled by Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 14 November 2002.

Geographical Names