Anders Bratholm played an essential role in the foundation of PRIO. Bratholm was also a major supporter of the Institute for Social Research (ISF), where PRIO was first established as a department in 1959. He was part of the informal circle referred to as the gentlemen club (‘herreklubben’), alongside Torstein Eckhoff (1916-93; also Professor of Law at the University of Oslo) and Einar M. Hauglie (colonel in the Norwegian Army).
The gentlemen club contributed to shape the agenda and organization of the new institution, and played a major part in lobbying with Norwegian bureaucrats and politicians. On 18. November 1962, for example, the club (with Erik Rinde), met with Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Halvard Lange and Minister of Church and Education Helge Sivertsen, with the purpose of securing long term financing for the peace research effort. The same group proved instrumental in lobbying for PRIO’s interests on numerous occasions throughout the 1960s.
In order to allocate funding, while safeguarding independence, the Council for Conflict- and Peace Research was established in 1963. This was an important institutional arrangement. Bratholm was a member of the Council since the beginning. Again, when PRIO’s status as an independent institute was on the agenda in 1965, we find Bratholm as a key supporter. Bratholm served on the PRIO Board until the end of 1977.
Bratholm was a prominent voice in the Norwegian public debate. His main expertise was in criminal law and child law. He argued that it was his specialization that informed his interests in the rights of underprivileged and weak groups. His engagement in documenting police violence in Bergen, which unfolded over some two decades, stirred considerable controversy. Bratholm published widely on issues of law and society.