BIALL Timeline


Catherine Bowl wins Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year.

The Wallace Breem Memorial Award is won by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library.

Annual conference held in Dublin.

Death of Derek Way, a Founder Member and holder of life membership of BIALL.

Life membership awarded to Guy Holborn, long time presenter of the BIALL Pepper v Hart training course, following his retirement as Librarian at Lincoln’s Inn.

BIALL Skills Framework is published for members.

New BIALL Logo introduced following a vote of the membership.


Anneli Sarkanen wins Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year.

Annual conference held in Brighton.

Life membership awarded to Loyita Worley.

Inaugural BIALL post-graduate study bursary is awarded to Josephine Bailey.

Death of Rikki Bream, a Founder Member of BIALL.


Lillian Stevenson wins  Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year.

2nd edition of the BIALL Handbook of Legal Information Management published.

Annual conference held in Harrogate.


Catherine McArdle wins Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year.

BIALL Legal Information Literacy Statement published.

BIALL Pro Bono project in Sierra Leone initiated.

Annual conference held in Glasgow.


Emily Allbon wins Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year.

Jennefer Aston presented with Life Membership.

Legal Journals Award won by Legal Action.

New edition of Moys Classification published.

New membership co-ordinator role created and new membership database goes live.

BIALL mailing list moves from MAILTALK to JISCMAIL.

Annual conference held in Belfast.


George Woodburn wins Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year.

Christine Miskin presented with Life Membership following her stepping down as editor of Legal Information Management.

Legal Journals Award won by New Law Journal.

Annual conference is held in Newcastle.


Mary Blake retires as honorary archivist.

BIALL archives are moved to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS).

Supplier of the year award is won by Wildy’s.

The Legal Foundations Course is available online for the first time.

JSI held in Montreal.

Annual conference held in Brighton.


Paul Richardson died on 30 April. He was the librarian of the Law Society in the 1970s, a leading figure in BIALL during that period, chairman in 1975-1976 and a life member.

Barbara Steiner (Willi Steiner’s wife) died on 28 April after a long illness.

BI-ALLSIG (British and Irish Academic Law Librarian Special Interest Group) mailing list created in January.

New BIALL web site goes live on 22 June.

BIALL celebrates its 40th Birthday with a party sponsored by Justis.

Annual conference held in Manchester.


Annual Membership payment by PayPal/Credit Card introduced.

Legal Foundations Course/Law for Librarians 20th anniversary celebration party held at BPP Professional Education, London in April.

JSI held in Washington.

Annual conference held in Dublin.


Annual Cheese & Wine Evening held at Lincoln’s Inn.

BIALL blog launched.

Annual conference held in Sheffield.

BIALL joins with CLIG, CiG and ICLG to hold its annual Christmas party.

The BIALL Awards for Excellence were re-launched as the Halsbury’s Awards (2007 – centenary of Halsbury’s Laws of England) and held at The Inner Temple.


BIALL joins with CLIG, CiG and ICLG to hold its annual Christmas party.

JSI held at St Anne’s College, Oxford.

Annual conference held in Brighton.


A reunion of students of the Law for Librarians course was held to celebrate its twentieth anniversary.

The course itself is renamed Legal Foundations Course.

First Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture.

Harrogate Conference attendance tops 400.

First Law Librarian of the Year award was presented to Sue Pettit.

LexisNexis Awards held at Lincoln’s Inn.

BIALL Code of Good Practice for Legal Publishers launched.


The Edinburgh annual conference was the first one to be held in a purpose-built commercial conference centre. It also had a revised format of three full days, rather than three days spread over four.

Register of Electronic Sources of Legal Information launched on BIALL website under the name LORD
Award of first Betty Moys Bursary.

Council agrees to set up a memorial lecture in Willi Steiner’s name. CUP becomes publisher of Legal Information Management.

Move from paper to electronic delivery of BIALL publications and papers to members.

JSI held at the Women’s College, Sydney University.

BIALL joins with CLIG, CiG and ICLG to hold its first ever Christmas party.

For its 2004-05 year, BIALL appoints its first Chair from a US law firm London office (Susan Doe).


Death of Willi Steiner, Founder Member.

Jobs Board added to the BIALL website.

New edition of the Legal Research Training Pack.

Legal Library Services offer a bursary to a librarian outside European or North America to attend BIALL’s conference.

Launch of Members’ Only Pages on BIALL website: Newsletter & Email Forum.

Duplicates Exchange Scheme moves to electronic delivery.


Death of Betty Moys, Founder Member.

The second Constitutional Crisis when John Miller resigned as Vice-Chair in June. Crisis was resolved when Valerie Stevenson agreed to remain as Chair for a second year. This was the only occasion that the arrangements for continuity from Vice-Chair to Chair, set up in 1994, has broken down.

Life Membership awarded to Derek Way, a Founder Member and long term contributor to many BIALL activities.

Establishment of SALLi (the Southern Academic Law Librarians). Laurence Eastham resigned as editor of LIM. Christine Miskin was commissioned as the new editor.

One Person Library/Small Teams Group set up within BIALL.

BIALL participates in IFLA’s Glasgow Conference.

JSI held at Royal Roads University, Vancouver Island, Canada.


The Law Librarian was renamed Legal Information Management.

Legal Journals Award set up.

Establishment of the US Law Firms Librarians Group as a separate group.


Publication of A History of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 1969-1999 to celebrate the Association’s first thirty years, written by Mary Blake with the assistance of Derek Way.

First Irish Chair of BIALL (John Furlong).

First Study Weekend held in Edinburgh in December.

JSI held at Yale Law School.


First annual conference held in June.
Transitional arrangements to change BIALL’s year to April- March resulted in a “short” 1998-99 year from July 1998 to March 1999.
Publication of Guy Holborn’s Sources of biographical information on past lawyers, a revised version of his 1992 award winning articles.
Publication of Law and Order: trends in legal information provision, the outcome of a study by BIALL and sponsored by Sweet & Maxwell.
Membership reached 700 exactly.


First BIALL official presence at the Library and Information Exhibition at the NEC.

First Joint Study Institute held at Cambridge in September immediately preceding BIALL’s conference in Portsmouth. Sixty two delegates attended from AALL, BIALL and CALL/ACBD.

Following two years careful preparation, the Web Editorial Board was set up to develop a website for BIALL.

Council decided formally to dissolve SIGs (Special Interest Groups) for lack of interest.

First BIALL Chair appointed from a law firm (Loyita Worley).


Princess Diana’s funeral was held on the Saturday of the annual Conference in Newcastle and caused a slight change to the programme.

A survey held into the timing of the annual conference came out in favour of moving it from September to June and maintaining the AGM at the annual conference, which necessitated a change to the Association’s year.

First BIALL Chair appointed from Scotland (David Hart)


First Pepper v Hart training course.

NZLLG (the New Zealand Law Libraries Group) joined the group exchanging delegates.

Membership again exceeded 600, having dropped below that number during 1994 and 1995.

Spring launch of the BIALL website.


The annual conference at UMIST in Manchester attracted 333 delegates: this figure was not reached again until 1998.

Philip Cohen of Oceana was presented with Life Membership in recognition of his support for BIALL on the occasion of the Conference being held in the city of his birth.

Discussions began with Canadian and American colleagues for a joint Institute, reminiscent of the 1986 Oxford Institute.

Guidelines for archiving BIALL’s documentation were drawn up by Mary Blake, who became BIALL’s archivist.

GRIP (Group on Relations with Information Providers) was set up to liaise with publishers.

Christine Miskin resigned as editor of The Law Librarian and a volunteer successor was not forthcoming. As a result BIALL decided to employ a professional editor and Laurence Eastham was commissioned to edit The Law Librarian.


A new Constitution was adopted. The term of office of BIALL Chair was reduced to one year and the offices of Vice-Chair and Immediate Past Chair were introduced (both of one year’s duration), resulting in a spread of workload. The office of Membership Secretary was abolished and the Hon Editor ceased to be an Officer.

BIALL appointed a part-time Administrator, Susan Frost, who had been a member of BIALL since 1979, to undertake the administrative tasks of a growing association. She took on the work of the Membership Secretary and some of the work of the Secretary.
The annual conference was held in a hotel for the first time and official delegate exchanges began with OSALL (the Organisation of South African Law Libraries).


Membership exceeded 600.

Establishment of the Newcastle Law Librarians’ Group as a separate local group.


The first Wallace Breem Memorial Award was made to Guy Holborn for his articles in The Law Librarian on biographical sources for past lawyers. Sally Phillips received a commendation by the Library Association Besterman Award panel for the Bibliography of Commonwealth Law Reports which she compiled jointly with the late Wallace Breem.

A Working group was set up to review BIALL committees. The change in committee structure led to a review of the role of Council and a consequent revision of the Constitution in 1994.


Publication of the Bibliography of Commonwealth Law Reports, edited by Wallace Breem and Sally Phillips.

Council decided to set up an award in Wallace Breem’s memory.

Butterworths offered to sponsor an exchange of conference delegates between BIALL and ALLG (the Australian Law Librarians’ Group). The first BIALL delegate to ALLG was Betty Moys.

Membership exceeded 500.


Death of Wallace Breem, Founder Member who had been a charismatic figure in the life of BIALL.

First visit to Ireland (Dublin) for the annual Conference.

Establishment of BRILL (the Bristol Law Librarians Group), the Leeds Law Librarians’ Group and the Manchester Legal Information Group, as separate local groups.

CALL conference held in Vancouver.


Membership exceeded 400 and conference attendance topped 200.

Overseas co-operation was discussed at the AGM and in a working party.

Election of first Chair from outside England (Elizabeth Nash, Cardiff).

Establishment of the Cardiff Law Librarians’ Group as a separate local group.


Establishment of SLLG (the Scottish Law Librarians’ Group) as a separate group.


Mary Blake ended an eleven year period as Secretary and the job was divided between two people, Hilary Boucher as Secretary and Loyita Worley as Membership Secretary.

The new Council at its October meeting agreed to adopt the term Chair in place of Chairman. The first Chair was Alex Noel-Tod.

The second edition of the Manual of Law Librarianship was published by Gower, again under the editorship of Betty Moys.

Establishment of ALLICE (the Association of Law Librarians in Central England) as a separate local group.

Publication of the first survey of University Library Expenditure on Law Materials, undertaking by University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.


Largest group to date of Irish delegates to the annual conference in Cambridge.
BIALL speakers and a few BIALL delegates attended the AALL post-convention Institute in Oxford organised by David Thomas.
BIALL course on American legal materials held at the US Embassy.
Membership exceeded 300.


Annual conference held in Manchester

‘Council Notes’ summaries of Council Meetings first appear in Newsletter

BIALL investigates buying a ‘microcomputer’ for admin and finance work

Official delegation of 11 BIALL members went to AALL Annual Meeting in New York with sponsorship from a US publisher.


A Workshop on Online Legal Information was held in London, rescheduled from the previous November due to lack of take-up!

Inauguration of English Law for Law Librarians, a course run by BIALL and the Polytechnic of Central London with 26 students – described as a ‘trial run’: the course was over-subscribed immediately. The course was later renamed Law for Law Librarians and was given with the University of Westminster.

BIALL conducted its first Salary Survey, published in The Law Librarian in 1985. David Thomas was AALL’s official representative to BIALL for several years and officially invited a delegation to AALL’s meeting the following year.


The Newsletter was launched with Diane Raper as its first editor. The aim was to bring news to BIALL members more speedily than the production schedule of The Law Librarian allowed.

Publication of Recommended Holdings for Law Libraries, an appendix to the 1981 Standards for Law Libraries.

BIALL’s Rules were amended again to separate the aims and structure of the Association into the Constitution and the implementing rules into Regulations. A new category of Standing Orders for administration was started. The Executive Committee was renamed Council.


The Conference was held at the University of Oxford and attendance topped 100 for the first time. The Executive Committee had decided on a circuit of conference venues, returning to Oxford or Cambridge every few years.

Butterworths and Sweet & Maxwell sponsored a Competition for Law Librarians to test their knowledge of legal literature and publishing. The Competition was repeated in at least two subsequent years. The third annual Competition was published in The Law Librarian 1984, vol. 15 no. 3, p 60 – Can you answer the questions?

Christine Miskin attended the CALL/ACBD Conference (the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit) as BIALL’s representative.


BIALL overseas study tour to Brussels, organised by Mary Davies.

Publication of Standards for Law Libraries.


Production of the first leaflet on careers in law librarianship.

BIALL undertakes survey of staffing levels in university law libraries.


Representatives from Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa and the USA were invited to attend the annual Conference and also take part in a panel session.

Sweet & Maxwell presented a gavel to BIALL to mark its tenth anniversary. The gavel is used at all Council meetings and the AGM.


Death of Allan Appleby of Professional Books and previously of Sweet & Maxwell. He had used his publishing expertise to advise BIALL on its publications since the Association’s establishment.

A course on Library Provision for Law Readers was jointly organised with the Library Association by Robert Logan.

Revised Rules were agreed which introduced postal voting for elections for Council Members and Officers and a category of Retired members.

BIALL membership exceeded 200.


Annual conference held in Durham.

Betty Boys retires as editor of the Law Librarian (succeeded by Don Raistrick).

First grants made to enable BIALL members to attend overseas conferences.


This year saw several significant events.

The publication in November of the first edition of the Manual of Law Librarianship, by Andre Deutsch, was the culmination of five years work by Betty Moys and her group of contributors. Publication was anticipated by a launch party at the annual conference in September.
The first edition of another BIALL publication, the Directory of Law Libraries in the British Isles, was also published in November under the editorship of Barbara Mangles.

But disaster struck at the Annual Conference in Oxford when Paul Richardson unexpectedly resigned as Chairman for health reasons. From what became known as the Constitutional Crisis, Wallace Breem emerged as Chairman; the post of Secretary/Treasurer that he had held was divided: Mary Blake became Secretary, and Robert Logan became Treasurer.


Paul Richardson of the Law Society was elected Chairman.

CLLG (City Law Librarians’ Group) formed. CLIG, as it now is, is not a sub-group of BIALL, but has many members and interests in common.


A joint meeting was held with the LA Medical Group.

Discussion at the annual Conference decided against holding a conference in the immediate future in Ireland because of the exceptionally high cost.


Publication of Community law: a selection of publications on the law of the EEC and the relevant law of the original member states known colloquially as the Bibliography of Community Law was finally published, somewhat later than intended.

IALL (the International Association of Law Libraries) requested a BIALL member to liaise between the two associations and Willi Steiner agreed to take on the role, being a member of both.


First major revision to the Constitution to include a provision for amending it. BIALL’s first training course, entitled Educating the Library User was held at Trent Polytechnic. 


Report on Co-operation (chaired by Edward Miller, from the British Library). Duplicates Exchange scheme set up by Muriel Anderson and Mary Blake, the latter of whom was the first administrator of the Scheme.

The Publications Sub-Committee began an ambitious programme of publications which took several years to come to fruition. In addition to editing The Law Librarian and being Librarian of Goldsmith’s College London, Betty Moys planned the Manual of Law Librarianship, “twisted arms” to obtain contributions and negotiated with Andre Deutsch to publish it.

Standing Committee on Training set up.

Marlene McGuirl, Head of the American-British Law Division of the Library of Congress, was the first overseas delegate to a BIALL conference, and represented the American Association of Law Libraries [AALL] at several subsequent conferences.

Butterworths and Sweet & Maxwell jointly hosted a Publishers’ Reception at the annual Conference – the first of many.


The first issue of The Law Librarian appeared in April, under the editorship of Betty Moys. Allan Appleby was production manager and adviser and both Sweet & Maxwell and Butterworths (who were the major – and almost only – law publishers at that time) helped in the production of the issue.

The first Annual Conference was organised by Derek Way at Liverpool University. Thirty five delegates attended. The charge was £10 for the conference fee and accommodation for two nights. (Non-members were charged 10 guineas. A guinea was still recognised currency in the legal world and Wallace Breem, the Treasurer, was very much of that legal world.) There was a small display of books on a makeshift trestle table. At the AGM it was decided to set up a committee to investigate the potential for co-operation amongst law libraries.

Towards the end of the year an agreement was drawn up between BIALL and Sweet & Maxwell for the latter to become the journal’s publisher from 1971. This arrangement continued for more than 30 years.


2nd Harrogate Workshop in April concluded with a meeting which set up an Association of Law Librarians. This was the inaugural meeting and those present are BIALL’s founder members.

The first AGM was held in a basement room of the old IALS building in Russell Square on Monday 22 September. It was chaired by Willi Steiner, as Don Daintree was not available on that date. Several hours were spent debating the minutiae of the draft Constitution. One of the decision was to be a separate organisation, not affiliated to, or part of, the Library Association, resulting from strong arguments that organisations (especially law firms) who had no professional librarians, would be excluded from membership if the Association were part of the LA. The principle of welcoming professionally qualified and non-qualified law librarians into BIALL has prevailed ever since.

Officers were Don Daintree (Chairman), Wallace Breem (Secretary and Treasurer) and Betty Moys (Editor).

An Executive Committee (the forerunner of Council) was elected. In November it set up a Sub-Committee of Betty Moys, Allan Appleby of Sweet and Maxwell, and Wallace Breem to produce a journal.

It also decided to look into the possibility of holding a conference in 1970 at which the 2nd AGM would be held, and this is why the Conference and AGM numbering does not tally.


1st Harrogate Workshop in February held at the Russell Hotel. A meeting at the end of the Workshop set up an ad hoc Committee to look into the possibility of establishing an association of law librarians. Committee members were Wallace Breem, Don Daintree, Betty Moys, Willi Steiner and Derek Way.

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