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ILBF 15th anniversary film launches today!

Celebrating 15 years supporting access to justice and legal education for all. 

Our 15th anniversary film is launched today. Hear from Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Paul Lowenstein QC, Mark Stephens CBE, Jane Colston, Maryann McMahon, and student volunteers, about our work, as well as from organisations in the DRC, Niger State Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe about why our books are important to them.  

The ILBF was launched in 2005, when a group of like-minded lawyers took up the challenge from Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd to find a way to re-purpose good quality law textbooks from the UK and ship them to organisations overseas. The mission was and is simple: support access to justice and legal education for all through the provision of legal texts. 

In 15 years, tens of thousands of law books have been donated: from students, lawyers, law firms, barristers’ chambers, universities, academics, courts, police forces, local government, in-house legal teams, and retiring judges. Everything from law reports to encyclopaedias to textbooks to practice manuals – the ILBF has been incredibly fortunate to receive excellent and valuable books. We work with student groups who collect and pack books at the University of Nottingham and the University of Law in Guildford, and in 2020 we are excited to expand that to include the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter and King’s College London.  We work with HMCTS and in particular the library team at the Royal Courts of Justice to ensure that key legal texts are recycled and not sent to landfill.

Since we made the film, we have shipped another 1,200 books; this brings the total to over 66,000 books shipped to 200 organisations to 54 countries.

The ILBF partners with organisations from across the pro bono sector to complement their programmes, including ROLE UK, SIFoCC, A4ID, the Slynn Foundation, the UK Sierra Leone Pro Bono Network, Justice Defenders, and Lawyers Against Poverty. We are also proud to support justice initiatives in the wake of natural disaster, war and conflict.  

The recipients of the books are law schools, universities, law commissions, judiciaries, bar associations, Attorneys-General’s offices, pro bono groups, and prisons.  Our books replenish existing libraries and help to create new libraries. The importance of access to information cannot be overstated; whilst comprehensive online sources are available, they rely on good internet connections, and also subscriptions which are beyond the reach of many organisations. Books from the ILBF provide a tangible information asset.  As Abiola James, Chairperson, Library Committee, Ministry of Justice, Niger State, says in film:  

‘Books are synonymous with lawyers.’

The availability of good quality legal texts has an incredibly positive impact on the training of lawyers and judges, the administration of justice, the revision and updating of laws, and access to justice for whole communities. These are some of the measurable impacts of our work:

  • Pass rates at law schools have improved 
  • Judiciaries have up to date and comprehensive texts to inform judgments
  • Law Commissions have access to comparative texts to assist with the updating of legislation
  • University law departments have been able to provide students with course books for new courses
  • Prisoners and prison officers have been equipped with the texts they need to complete the University of London Law Diploma, and to advise other prisoners and the wider community
  • Libraries destroyed in conflict or natural disaster have been replenished
  • Bar Associations and human rights have authoritative texts to support legal arguments.

In the context of the United Nation’s universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), the ILBF’s work supports SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all. 

The ILBF is incredibly grateful for the financial and in-kind support of its volunteers and partner organisations.  The production of our film in the time of Covid-19 was a challenge: huge thanks to Toufique Ali and Guy Crossley for producing and editing the film.

Our future plans are ambitious and need your help:

  • Continue to build partnerships with organisations whose work supports the rule of law, and in particular to support rebuilding and reconstruction post conflict and natural disaster
  • Engage with the next generation of lawyers through university groups
  • Expand engagement with recipients through mentoring schemes, online materials, webinars etc
  • Meet the demand for books: we currently have applications for books from around the world: countries include Uganda, Pakistan, Cameroon, Iraq, Uganda, Zambia, Chile, and Brazil.

The work of the ILBF is only possible because of the donations we receive. Access to justice for all is our mission: please help us to continue our work to support lawyers across the world with the vital resources they need.  Every donation counts and will go directly towards funding shipments of books.

Thank you for your support!

From the ILBF trustees, patrons and volunteers


Katrina Crossley, CEO