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DAVIES, DAVID JAMES LLEWELFRYN (1903-1981), academic lawyer

Name: David James Llewelfryn Davies
Date of birth: 1903
Date of death: 1981
Spouse: Mary Davies (née Thomas)
Child: Tomos Davies
Child: Huw Davies
Child: Lyn Davies
Parent: Mary Davies (née Evans)
Parent: Samuel Davies
Gender: Male
Occupation: academic lawyer
Area of activity: Education; Law
Author: Richard W. Ireland

Llewelfryn Davies was born on 27 June 1903 at Llanfihangel Rhos-y-Corn, Carmarthenshire, the eldest of three children of Samuel Davies (born 1873), farmer, and his wife Mary (née Evans). His sister Lizann Castle was born in 1905 and his brother Samuel Hywel in 1910. After education at Gwernogle School and St David's College School, Llewelfryn (the shorthand became a usual form of reference) began his study of law at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1921, graduating four years later, as was then the practice at Aberystwyth for an honours degree, with the award of a First Class, a performance which was matched when he then went on to study at Cambridge. His interest in International Law was fostered there and he progressed to working for a year on Prize Law at the Foreign Office before a Commonwealth Fellowship took him to Columbia University from 1927 to 1929.

He returned to Aberystwyth as an Assistant Lecturer for two years before gaining a Lectureship at the London School of Economics in 1931 and then a Readership at the University of Birmingham in 1936. He also acted as a Visiting Professor at The Hague Academy of International Law in 1937. In 1940 he returned to Aberystwyth as Professor of Law and Head of Department, succeeding his former teacher T. A. Levi. He held these positions until his retirement in 1970, serving also for a time as Vice-Principal of the institution. He was President of the Society of Public Teachers of Law in 1955-6, was deacon of his chapel and Chairman of the Bench of Magistrates for many years. In 1970 he was awarded an O.B.E. for his services to legal education.

In 1952 Llewelfryn married Mary Thomas (1915-2013), daughter of Lewis Thomas and the sister of Amy Parry-Williams. They had one daughter, Lynn, and two sons, Huw and Tomos. Mary played an important part in fostering the atmosphere of the Department during her husband's tenure as Head. This atmosphere was marked by openness and support, both for students and for the young members of staff attracted to begin their professional lives at Aberystwyth, many of both categories subsequently going on to have eminent careers. Llewelfryn was regarded with genuine and lasting affection, and the breadth of his vision attracted students to Aberystwyth from a range of Commonwealth countries. He taught a wide range of subjects at times when the Department was pressed for staff and whilst his interest in International Law had been important and had spawned publications, he also developed an expertise in Constitutional and Administrative Law. His journal articles included his published Presidential Address to the SPTL in which he stated his belief in a liberal, rather than narrowly professional, university education for lawyers. He also edited Jenks's Book of English Law in 1953. But it was for his leadership of the department with which he was, for a time, almost synonymous, and the ethos of generosity, care and encouragement which he created within it that he will be best remembered.

Llewelfryn Davies died in Aberystwyth on 6 April 1981 and his ashes were interred at Capel Nonni, Llanllwni.


Published date: 2017-12-19

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