The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies was founded in 1947. It was conceived and is funded as a national academic institution, attached to the University of London, serving all universities through its national legal research library. Its function is to promote, facilitate and disseminate the results of advanced study and research in the discipline of law, for the benefit of persons and institutions in the UK and abroad.
The role of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is to conduct research; to promote and facilitate, within London and nationally and internationally, research and scholarship at an advanced level across the whole field of law; to disseminate the results of such research and scholarship; and to provide to all those undertaking research in law a library facility with up to date technology, that is international in character and standing.
IALS is a postgraduate research institute with a core of researchers, research students and legal information professionals, but which draws its primary membership from academic researchers and postgraduate research students from other institutions throughout the UK, and which also provides services to researchers in the wider legal community. IALS is a member-institute of the School of Advanced Study in the University of London.
IALS Library is a national and international resource for legal research and has over 300,000 volumes the majority of which are housed at the Institute site on Russell Square in Bloomsbury. The collections of foreign and international law are the most extensive in the UK and contain much unique material. The collections concentrate primarily on common law, civil law and Roman-Dutch law systems throughout the world and include material in western European languages for all jurisdictions for comparative and general reference purposes.
IALS Library's primary function is to serve a national academic research community but it has other significant and diverse communities to which it provides services including the world's largest taught course master's degree programme, large numbers of subscribing practising lawyers, and a small community of researchers and PhD students at the Institute itself. The Library seeks to support law librarians in other universities and organisations to provide specialist library and information services in law, particularly in foreign, comparative and international law.