SALS was originally inspired by the work of Professor Terence Daintith, Director of the Institute between 1988 and 1995. In 1989, he established the Friends of the Institute to provide a means for those with an association with the Institute to remain in contact and support its activities.
In spite of the great success of the Friends, its role was limited, and a number of those involved in its running felt that there might be support for a more active organisation based at the Institute to foster and promote legal research by providing a vehicle for cooperation and collaboration between scholars, practitioners and the judiciary.
A proposal to wind up the Friends and establish the Society for Advanced Legal Studies was put to a special general meeting of the Friends on in February 1997, and was passed with overwhelming support.
SALS, as it became known, was formally inaugurated on 11 June 1997 by HRH the Princess Royal, and was led by Professor Daintith’s successor as Director of the Institute, Professor Barry Rider.