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Introducing BIICL

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) is one of the leading independent research centres for international and comparative law in the world. Our high quality research projects, seminars and publications encompass almost all areas of public and private international law, comparative law and European law, and we are at the forefront of discussions on the many contemporary issues of international and comparative law.

BIICL was created in 1958 by the merger of the Society of Comparative Legislation (founded in 1895) and the Grotius Society (founded in 1915 and named after the 16th century Dutch jurist regarded as one of the founders of international law). This merger created an independent research body, unaffiliated to any university, which is committed to the understanding, development and practical application of international and comparative law. It is both a limited company under UK law, and a registered charity.

We continue our mission first begun in 1895:

  • To advance the understanding of international and comparative law;
  • To promote the rule of law in international affairs; and
  • To promote their application through research, publications and events.

It undertakes its mission by providing practical assistance based on strong conceptual foundations in order to influence law and policy making. In particular, the Institute aims to:

  • Clarify and apply international law in global problem-solving;
  • Foster a comparative understanding of national legal systems;
  • Assist states through legal capacity-building and training; and
  • Encourage and support the best scholarship and talent in this legal field.

BIICL seeks to achieve these aims through its research programmes, events and publications. We promote our work globally through our website, books and other publications, and via our widely respected journal, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly.

Our membership comprises lawyers from the academic community, from legal practice (including judges, solicitors and barristers), and from government and non-governmental organisations, as well as many non-lawyers who are interested in international and comparative law. Our governance brings together the expertise of some of the most senior practitioners in the field of international and comparative law. Based in London, BIICL is uniquely placed to interact with these varied constituencies, as well as its growing international membership.

BIICL's diverse membership and its wider public engagement activities ensure that it remains a relevant and essential institution. We provide an excellent environment for valuable and helpful discussions between those advising governments, corporations and others, and with the academic community. We work with leading scholars, judges and practitioners in their fields, to examine many contemporary issues and seeking clear practical outcomes via our research.

BIICL has been vitally important in enabling greater understanding of the changes in the international community and in international and comparative law. Indeed, it is a unique body in the United Kingdom and one of very few similar organisations in the world.

We do hope that you engage with BIICL as a member or participant.