The Squire Law Library at Cambridge: Historical Development and Current Status of International Law Collections

18 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2019

Date Written: February 9, 2017


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.

Keywords: Whewell Professor, Squire Law Library, Lauterpacht, Collection Development, International Law, Cockerell Building

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Dingle, Lesley, The Squire Law Library at Cambridge: Historical Development and Current Status of International Law Collections (February 9, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Lesley Dingle (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

10 West Rd
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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