Background to the Law PORT project

1 May 2015 marked the launch of the Law PORT project, an initiative of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, funded by the School of Advanced Study. The project had as its aim 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.

The training resources that were created are hosted on the School’s postgraduate online research training platform, PORT, where they are freely available. They are maintained and updated by IALS Library staff to ensure they remain a national resource for law. Access to the resources is by either of the following links.

User Needs Survey for Law PORT

From July to October 2015, postgraduate research students in law from across the UK were surveyed in order to help establish the priorities of the project and gain a better understanding of the type of support materials that researchers would most benefit from. Data was collected on the kinds of support that researchers felt they needed but which they did not currently receive. The results of the survey are available to download and read. Below is a short summary of the findings:

  • The survey results indicated a need for interactive resources for UK postgraduate researchers. IALS Library therefore had an opportunity to be one of the first to offer open access training modules to support various aspects of legal research and thesis writing.
  • The postgraduate research students surveyed highlighted a lack of available support on research methods, legal subscription database searching, writing and communication skills, and keeping up-to-date with changes in the law.

Following the survey it was decided that in the first instance Law PORT tutorials should be created to help researchers to correctly cite their references using OSCOLA, and to improve their information literacy skills in public international law research.


Once the training resources were completed, feedback was sought from academics, PhD students and law librarians from within the University of London and external institutions. The comments received were used to fine-tune the resources before their launch.

The Completed Resources

The following tutorials have been created as part of the project:


  • Introduction to OSCOLA by Laura Griffiths 

Public International Law

  • Customary international law by Hester Swift 
  • Treaties and international conventions by Lisa Davies 
  • Judicial decisions in public international law by Katherine Read

About the team

The Law PORT project was overseen by David Gee, IALS Deputy Librarian, and was managed in 2015 by James Parker, Learning Technologist, with the assistance of Lisa Davies, Access Librarian, Matt Phillpott, SAS Digital Projects Officer and Lindsey Caffin, Senior Library Assistant.

The tutorials were written and created by Lisa Davies, Laura Griffiths, Katherine Read and Hester Swift.


The project team welcomes your comments and suggestions. Any interested parties should contact Alice Tyson ( on 0207 862 5821.

Page last updated: 19th January 2022