fonds PAL - Records of Professor Claire Palley

Identity area

Reference code



Records of Professor Claire Palley


  • 1965-1976 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.12 cubic metres

6 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Professor Claire Palley was born in South Africa in 1931, the daughter of Arthur Aubrey Swait and his wife, Cecile Audrey Nathan. She was educated at Durban Girls' College and went on to receive her BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town, and her PhD from the University of London in 1965. The following year she she published 'The Constitutional History and Law of Southern Rhodesia 1888 to 1964.'

An Advocate in South Africa and Rhodesia and lecturer at the University of Cape Town and University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Palley was later to be Dean of the Faculty of Law at Queen's University Belfast. From 1973-84, she was Professor of Law and Master of Darwin College at the University of Kent at Canterbury. She was also Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford between 1984 and 1991.

She has also held many advisory roles in the UK and abroad. As an authority on constitutional and human rights law, Palley acted as Constitutional Adviser to the African National Council at the constitutional talks on Rhodesia held in Geneva in 1976. She played a similarly important role in the constitutional development of Northern Ireland, authoring 'The evolution, disintegration and possible reconstruction of the Northern Ireland constitution' in the Anglo-American Law Review in 1972.

Palley was also a member of the Lord Chancellor's Committee on Legal Education, a trustee and a Council member of the Minority Rights Group (1975-94) and the UK representative on the UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (1988-98).

Professor Palley retired in 1991 to continue her advisory work. She was awarded the OBE in 1998.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Legal and political papers relating to Rhodesia, 1965-1976. Including: High Court judgements 1965-70; constitutional and settlement proposals, negotiations and political papers relating to the African National Council, 1972-76; electoral and political papers relating to Rhodesia, 1968-71.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

The documents relating to the Geneva conference may be accessed for information but should not be quoted from.

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute, University of York's terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Anne Akeroyd and Colin Lunt (eds), 'A Guide to the Southern African Archives in the University of York' (York, 1979).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For related material held by the Borthwick Institute, see the papers of the African National Council of Zimbabwe (ref. GB 0193 ANC(Z)).

Related descriptions

Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Archivist's note

Description compiled by Dr Charles Fonge, September 2010.

Accession area