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Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Established 1947 (1947)
Type Law school
Parent institution
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Chairman Rt Hon Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill
Director Jules Winterton
Location London, England, United Kingdom
Campus Urban

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Founded in 1947, it is a national academic centre of excellence, serving the legal community and universities across the United Kingdom and the world through legal scholarship, facilities, and its comparative law library.

The unique mission of the Institute is to be "the focal point of legal research for the United Kingdom and the countries of the British Commonwealth." [1] The Institute is home to world-renowned scholars in the areas of legislative drafting and international financial regulation and drives cutting-edge legal inquiry through its comparative research library.

Since 1976, the Institute’s home has been Charles Clore House, located in the heart of Bloomsbury, at 17 Russell Square.


  • History 1
  • Library 2
    • Collections 2.1
    • Projects 2.2
    • Collaborations 2.3
  • Research 3
  • Postgraduate Programmes 4
  • Lectures and Exchange Programmes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies was established in 1947 in response to recommendations made in 1932 by Lord Atkin [2] that the United Kingdom needed an institution "which would be a headquarters for academic research and would promote the advancement of knowledge of the law in the most general terms." [3] On 11 June 1948, the Institute was officially opened by the Lord Chancellor, William Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt. The first director was Professor Sir David Hughes Parry, a distinguished Professor of English Law at the London School of Economics and for many years Vice-Chancellor of the University of London. The Librarian, K. Howard Drake also acted as administrative secretary for the Institute.

Charles Clore House at 17 Russell Square, London, the present home of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

Housed at 25 Russell Square, the Institute occupied all floors of the building, the ground and first floors reserved for the library with rooms on the second and third converted into offices or study/seminar rooms. The library held 11,000 books in its first year, a substantial number donated by Dr. Charles Huberich. An internal telephone system connected all the rooms with a hand book lift installed to move books from floor to floor.[4]

By 1949, the Institute was running out of space and were given permission to extend into the basement and ground floor 26 Russell Square. Here it remained until 1976 when the Institute moved into No. 17 Russell Square, part of the newly built Charles Clore House designed by Sir Denys Lasdun. At the official opening on 1st April 1976, the then Chancellor of the University of London, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother overstayed and her official schedule had to be abandoned.[5]

In 1994, the IALS became a member of the School of Advanced Study. The Institute is also home to the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

A five-year refurbishment of Charles Clore House is currently underway, the first phase of which was completed in September 2012, incorporating a larger café and improved lecture facilities on the ground floor.



The IALS library holds a collection of over 300,000 legal texts, complemented by over 3,000 current serial titles, reports, and legislative materials.[6] It has been described as the "jewel in the Institute’s crown",[7] and is a repository library for legal texts published in the United Kingdom.[8] The library covers five floors of Charles Clore House with the library entrance on the fourth floor. The library catalogue forms part of a shared catalogue with its fellow School of Advanced Study institutes and that of Senate House Library.

The Institute library is considered one of the world’s leading comparative research libraries, holding significant material not otherwise available in the United Kingdom. Jurisdictions covered include countries in, North America, Latin America, Europe (including the European Union) and the Commonwealth. The library is particularly strong in Public International Law. It has a large collection of United States Federal resources and holdings of State primary resources, focused on California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Louisiana.[9] Postgraduate law students of the University of London colleges, including University College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, King's College London, and Queen Mary, University of London rely exclusively on the Institute's research holdings for coursework.


Since the late 1990s, IALS has participated in award-winning collaborative and standalone digital projects resulting in a number of searchable databases publicly available via the website. These include FLAG (Foreign Law Guides), FIT (Flare Index to Treaties), and Eagle-I, which builds upon the original Jisc funded Intute: Law project (formerly SOSIG Law).[10] [11]


The IALS library has partnered with other libraries and organisations in promotions and projects to highlight legal research. The library concentrates on printed and digital resources, often as lead developer for web-based initiatives. Ongoing collaborations with the British Library and BAILII have led to increased web presence for legal research, with IALS hosting BAILII and supporting its role in providing free access to full text British and Irish legal materials.[12] The Concordat with the British Library is a collaboration to map existing holdings in foreign legal materials in both libraries and collate information to form a national collection of foreign official gazettes.[13] Recently the library became a charter member of LLCM-Digital, a US-based consortium of libraries dedicated to the preservation of legal documentation for dissemination via a searchable online database.


The Institute actively promotes research by its own academic staff and students in conjunction with its role as a national legal research centre. Research centres at the Institute contribute to legal research via externally funded projects or study, with the Sir William Dale Centre, and Woolf Chair of Legal Education at the fore. High-impact areas of research conducted by the Institute include legislative drafting, human rights, international financial regulation, and transnational taxation law.[14] Notable recent works by Institute faculty includes Thornton's Legislative Drafting, Fifth Edition, by Professor Helen Xanthaki,[15] and Foundations and Future of Financial Regulation[16] and European Comparative Company Law by Professor Mads Andenas.[17]

Through its association with the School of Advanced Study, the Institute offers a number of fellowships for legal research to both national and international legal academics and practitioners. Fellows give lectures in their field of expertise during their tenure.

Postgraduate Programmes

There are over 40 Ph.D./M.Phil. students studying at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, in addition to postgraduate law students registered for LL.M. and M.A. degrees. These programmes are taught by leading scholars in residence at the Institute across the fields of legislative studies and drafting, international financial regulation, and taxation, allowing students to address some of the most pressing legal issues of our day in a seminar setting. Currently, the Institute offers three programmes of study: LL.M. in Advanced Legislative Studies, LL.M. in International Corporate Governance, Financial Regulation, and Economic Law, as well as the M.A. in Taxation.

The LL.M. in Advanced Legislative Studies, "prized by governments around the world as the flagship degree in the subject," trains lawyers from across the common law world in the art of statutory drafting, law reform, and the legislative process.[18] The programme emphasizes a unique "blend of academic and practitioner concerns in [an] area of critical constitutional importance." [19]

During the summer term, short courses are available on a variety of relevant topics. Modules include the Sir William Dale Centre Course on Legislative Drafting and the Certificate in International Commercial Arbitration.[20]

In 2013, the peer-reviewed IALS Student Law Review was founded, offering both Master's and Ph.D. students the opportunity to publish original research and manage a scholarly journal covering a broad range of legal issues.[21]

Lectures and Exchange Programmes

The Institute has one main lecture theatre complemented by a number of smaller lecture/seminar rooms. Each year, it arranges workshops and lectures for academics and practitioners. Recent years have seen notable figures including Stephen Breyer, Ronald Dworkin, Jeremy Waldron, Jack Straw, Lord Sumption, and other senior British and international judges, policymakers, and professors giving lectures at the Institute. Two annual conferences hosted by the IALS are the W. G. Hart Workshop and the Hamlyn Lectures series.

As part of its mission to serve as a global leader in legal research, the Institute actively maintains exchange programmes with foreign legal institutions. A partnership with the Beijing Arbitration Commission, established in 2012, seeks to promote the study of alternative dispute resolution, and deepen Sino-British legal relationships.[22] The IALS has also begun an exchange programme with judges from the Brazilian State of Pernambuco and the School of Advanced Judicial Studies of Pernambuco.[23] This program focuses on comparative common law/civil law features and law reform consequences.


  1. ^ University of London. "Annual Report / Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. First Prospectus 1947/1948" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  2. ^ University of London. "Annual Report / Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. First Prospectus 1947/1948" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Great Britain. Committee on Legal Education. (1934). Report of the Legal education committee. London: H.M.S.O. p. 13. 
  4. ^ University of London. "Annual Report / Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. First Prospectus 1947/1948" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "IALS Charles Clore House Opening Ceremony 1976". IALS Website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "IALS Library - Collection Statistics". IALS Website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  7. ^ University of London. Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Review Committee. (1999). Report of the Review Committee : to the Chairman of the Board, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. London: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. p. 46. 
  8. ^ Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (2008). "Library Collection and Retention Policy" (PDF). IALS Website. London: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "IALS Library Research Guide - United States". IALS Website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "IALL 2003 Website Award winner". IALL Website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Wallace Breem Memorial Award 2010 : Steven Whittle". BIALL website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "About BAILII". BAILII website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "FLARE Foreign Law Research". IALS website. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "IALS - Research and Education". IALS website. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Thornton's Legislative Drafting". Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Foundations and Future of Financial Regulation". Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "European Comparative Company Law". Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Annual Report 2013-14" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Periodic Review of LL.M. in Advanced Legislative Studies" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "Study at the IALS". IALS website. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "IALS Student Law Review". Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Visit of the Beijing Arbitration Commission". Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Brazilian Judges Course". Retrieved 18 May 2014. 

External links

  • Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  • School of Advanced Study
  • University of London
  • Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies
  • Woolf Chair of Legal Education
  • BAILII British and Irish Legal Information Institute
  • The British Library
  • LLMC-Digital Law Library
  • BIALL British and Irish Association of Law Librarians
  • IALS Student Law Review

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