Online legal research - IALS Cafe Lex

Information Projects

Since the advent of the web, the IALS and its Global Law Library have been actively involved in innovative legal information delivery - developing and promoting public access to materials capable of supporting legal research on the Internet. Through the ongoing work of IALS Information Projects, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, is committed to extending the reach of digital provision of legal information by delivering specialist legal research tools and niche web services - maximising access to key or hard to find information to facilitate legal research, public understanding, and promote justice and the rule of law.

Initiatives undertaken by IALS Information Projects include a range of established national services and new publicly available web resources. Each project is designed to best meet the needs of a distinct legal information purpose and address the requirements of legal researchers. The IALS website includes a portfolio of national online services for law and research tools

Amicus Curiae online
as a result of a successful JISC funded project in the School of Advanced Study which developed the SAS Open Journals system, past issues of Amicus Curiae - the official journal of both the Society for Advanced Legal Studies and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies - are freely available online. This open journal version of Amicus Curiae includes over 600 articles by more than 400 authors. Many of the articles are appearing online for the first time.

Amicus Curiae online

BAILII British and Irish Legal Information Institute
a sophisticated searchable database of online primary legal resources, updated daily and included among the Guardian's top 100 UK websites. It has made a huge contribution to freeing the law for students, educators and the general public, and is increasingly important in difficult financial climates as an alternative to expensive commercial databases. BAILII contains judgments, decisions, legal texts and commentaries of all kinds. In supporting all legal researchers and demonstrating its value to citizens, the service also reinforces the wider relevance of higher education and academic research. The innovative funding model uses charitable status to generate funds to cover all its costs and supplement the provision of infrastructure and expertise by the Institute. IALS is the host institution for BAILII since its establishment in London, is represented on the Board of Trustees of BAILII and is involved in the management, administration and promotion of the service.

BAILII British and Irish Legal Information Institute

CaLIM Current Awareness for Legal Information Managers
a searchable database of current awareness information giving bibliographic details of newly published books and journal articles of specific interest to law library and legal information professionals. caLIM can be searched by author, title or by a free text search of all fields.

Current Awareness for Legal Information Managers search

CLRT Current Legal Research Topics
This IALS open access database detailing the legal subjects of research in progress by students of law in the UK - aiding the identification of topical gaps, collaborative opportunities and expertise in supervision.

Current Legal Research Topics search screen

Digitial Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review
Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review brings articles, legal developments and case reports to academics, practitioners and the industry in relation to digital evidence and electronic signatures from across the world. An Open Access version of Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review is being developed by Stephen Mason (founder, publisher and general editor) with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) on the School of Advanced Study's Open Journals System - further raising the visibility and accessibility of the journal and its contents. Our project, in collaboration will safeguard online access to all the back issues for legal researchers, support the publication of publicly available future issues and help stimulate new areas of legal discussion and scholarship.

Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review

Digitisation Projects
IALS is continuing work on digitisation initiatives to build selective collections of digital versions of rare and unusual items from its historic collections. As well as digital content creation and provision from its own collections (made freely available as IALS Digital Collections), IALS is also involved in co-ordinated content-building with other law libraries and specialists online services.

IALS Digital Collections

Eagle-i Internet Portal for Law
The successor to the award-winning national Intute and SOSIG law gateways, provides description and evaluation of selected high quality and authentic legal information sources on the web. By agreement IALS has harvested and enhanced law records rescued from Intute - helping to ensure the continued availability of quality-driven facilities for the national legal research communities and encourage inclusion in skills training.

Eagel-i Internet Portal for Law search

Eagle-i REcCE : Legal Research Centre Locator
A database in development, derived from the Eagle-i Internet Portal for Law, to provide quick information locating and describing Legal Research Centres.

Eagel-i REcCE Legal Research Centre Locator

FLAG Foreign Law Guide
An award-winning database forming a collaborative Internet gateway to holdings of foreign, comparative and international law in UK national and university libraries, locating and describing the collections in libraries throughout the UK. Increasingly FLAG proves to be a foundation upon which a national strategy for the acquisition and retention of foreign, international and comparative primary law materials can be built. In a time of reduced budgets it provides an important tool to identify gaps and overlaps in coverage aiding informed decisions on cancellation or rationalisation of resource provision.

A project at IALS in 2013-2014 has undertaken a major update of FLAG.

CLRT search screen

FLARE Index to Treaties
A project to create and maintain a searchable database of basic information on over 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1353 onwards and a number of significant bilateral treaties signed between 1353 and 1815, with links to full-text where available, providing a research tool aiding scholars and students, lawyers and librarians in researching the international law of treaties - whether they are new or experienced in the field.

Flare Index to Treaties search screen

FLARE Foreign Law Research
IALS is chair of the Flare (Foreign Law Research) group, a collaboration of the major libraries collecting law in the UK , which includes the British Library, Bodleian Law Library - Oxford, IALS Global Law Library, Squire Law Library - Cambridge and School of Oriental and African Studies Library.

Resources include a web database version of the Flare Union List of Foreign Official Government gazettes which provides bibliographic and source information (including details of print holdings in UK libraries and links to online versions) for foreign official government gazettes publishing primary and secondary legislation - offering guidance to pinpoint the relevant portions and sources of gazettes which can be voluminous and complex publications.

Foreign Official Government Gazettes database

A database in development linking to our online lectures, offering search, browse and filtered access. IALS LawCAST (continually accessible scholarly transmissions) allows the Institute to serve a wider audience of legal researchers and online users, taking our onsite events beyond London - reaching those unable to travel on the day by providing a repeatable, self-paced research resource available for consultation at a time of their own convenience.

IALS LawCAST search

IALS SKiLLS Sources + Know-How in Legal Literacy Skills
This database provides access to sources and know-how in legal literacy skills available on the web. The service aids those new to a particular area of legal research and to provide additional support for new law students and distance learners. As access to law sources and legal materials becomes ever easier (and more plentiful) we anticipate continued need for parallel work on information literacy to raise awareness of electronic service contents and features and resources and increase effective use and evaluation of the information found.

IALS SKiLLS search screen

IALS Student Law Review
IALS Student Law Review (ISLRev) is an electronic open access peer-reviewed law journal established by the Institute on the School of Advanced Study's Open Journals System. The IALS Student Law Review is run by IALS PhD legal research students assisted by an academic member of staff at IALS. The journal is intended as a showcase for legal scholars from postgraduate students and early career scholars to well-established academics; and, intends to target both members of the legal academia and practitioners in addition to students.

IALS Student Law Review homepage

1 May 2015 marks the launch of the Law PORT project, an initiative of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), funded by the School of Advanced Study (SAS). The 12 month project will see the creation of a suite of free online training resources designed to improve the legal research and information literacy skills of postgraduate researchers in law.

At the end of the project the new training resources will be hosted on the School’s postgraduate online research training platform, PORT, where they will be freely available. Thereafter they will be maintained and updated by IALS Library staff to ensure they remain a national resource for law.

Law PORT project

Legal Research in the United Kingdom in the 20th Century
This IALS open access database provides a list of legal theses and dissertations successfully completed for postgraduate degrees awarded by universities and polytechnics in the United Kingdom from 1905-1984.

Legal Research in the UK in 20th Century search screen

Open Access Books Project
The Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies are developing a digital platform which will facilitate the publication of open-access books (monographs, edited collections, research guides). While in the first instance we will develop dedicated history and legal imprints, the platform will eventually be available to other institutes within the School of Advanced Study to develop their own series and programmes. Submissions will be accepted from individual authors and editors, both within and external to the University of London, and a publishing service will also be provided to learned societies and organisations.

Open Access Books Project

Privy Council Decisions Documents Project
In 2010/2011 a collection of Judgment texts from the Committee's Library in Downing Street was scanned and included in the BAILII Privy Council Decisions database. A special collection of rare related records and documents is held by IALS in paper only. These texts are far more detailed than the 8,000 reported decisions. They include: the case for the appellant and the case for the respondent prepared by their solicitors and records of pleadings and prior court proceedings. A project to digitise the additional papers held at IALS from Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decisions is currently in progress. Papers from the IALS collection from 1935 onwards are being digitised. Selected papers from judgments of previous special interest to researchers (including those from the top 20 Privy Council Decision judgments downloaded by researchers using BAILII) have also been included in the early batches of work.

The digitised papers (case for the appellant, case for the respondent, record of proceedings, factums and appendices) are gradually being made available as searchable PDF files alongside the judgment texts already freely available on BAILII

IALS Privy Council Documents Directory prototype

SLS / BIALL Academic Law Library Survey
The annual Academic Law Library Survey, conducted by David Gee and Laura Griffiths at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies on behalf of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) and British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL), provides a snapshot of the staffing, expenditure on acquisitions, subscriptions to databases and range of services provided in the academic year by university and college libraries in the UK and Ireland.

IALS Privy Council Documents Directory prototype

Survey of Major Law Libraries around the World
David Gee, IALS Deputy Librarian and Academic Services Manager, has been conducting a global survey about research support services in the major law libraries around the world. The global development of legal information needs and services has continued to stimulate much professional discussion in recent years. This detailed report, and the comparative assessments and analysis it aims to provide, follow from one of the first global surveys of major law libraries around the world to take account of the present period of challenges and change. The report analyses the results of a comprehensive survey of 124 major law libraries world wide undertaken from April to June 2012.

Survey of Major Law Libraries around the World

The IALS Electronic Law Library also includes links to each of the services resulting from IALS Information Projects

Through the work of IALS Information Projects, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is a member of the worldwide Free Access to Law Movement (FALM). FALM is a loose alliance of over 40 institutes and organisations which subscribe to the Declaration on Free Access to Law and collaborate in the free provision of legal information and on global policy issues.