Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) Archive

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Address: School of Advanced Study, University of London, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR. Ph.  Fax 
Director: Professor Carl Stychin
Archivist: Clare Cowling 
Telephone: 020 78625824
Fax: 020 7580 9613
Archives email:
Archives URL:


Reference: IALS
Title: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies: Institutional Archives
Dates: 1934-2007
Level: collection (fonds)
Extent and Medium: 20 archive boxes; 4 framed portraits; 2 albums
Name of Creator: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Catalogue last updated: May 2020


Administrative History: In 1932 a Legal Education Committee under the Chairmanship of Lord Atkin was set up to consider the organisation of legal education in England and to make recommendations as to further provision for advanced research in legal studies.  The Committee’s report in 1934 included a recommendation that an Institute of Advanced Legal Studies be established in London.  In 1938 another Committee, chaired by Lord Macmillan, was set up to find a practical means of effecting this recommendation.  The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) was established in 1946 as part of the University of London.  Its aims were "the prosecution and promotion of legal research and the training of graduate students in its principles and methods" (39th Annual Report, 1985/86).  Since its inception the scope of the Institute has expanded considerably, with sponsorship of and support for many research projects and the provision of facilities for other research bodies and for conferences, seminars and workshops.  The Library provides facilities for academic and research staff and postgraduate research students from universities all over the world, and is one of the world's largest legal research libraries. 

In 1994 IALS became a major component of the School of Advanced Study. The School was established in September 1994.  Its fore runner was the University of London Institutes for Advanced Study.  The School includes the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, Germanic Studies, Historical Research, Latin American Studies, Romance Studies, United States Studies and the Warburg Institute.  The School gives the Institutes a collective voice in the governance of the University of London, fosters the development of new activities and collective enterprises among Institutes and generally promotes efficiency and effectiveness in the Institutes' missions of supporting and developing research in the humanities and social sciences, nationally and internationally.

For a detailed description of the establishment and development of the Institute see the IALS First Prospectus, 1948, and Willi Steiner (former IALS Librarian), "The Establishment of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of the University of London", IALS Bulletin no. 17, Apr 1994, pp. 6-20.  The latter includes extensive references to published works and the minutes of the University of London Senate.  A commemorative volume for the 50th anniversary of the Institute is currently in preparation.


Scope and content: The records below comprise the catalogued portion of the surviving institutional archives of the IALS.  There is a considerable quantity of records, in both hard copy and digital formats, awaiting cataloguing.

Records of Legal Education Archives: the Records of Legal Education Archives at IALS, a collection of papers of individuals and organisations prominent in the field, was created as part of the Records of Legal Education project and entries were prepared by the Project Co-ordinator.  For a detailed catalogue see the 1998 Guide to the Records of Legal Education Archives at IALS.  In 2019 the Records of Legal Education Archives was subsumed into the IALS Archives and its collections will be found there.  


Language/scripts of material: English 
System of arrangement: each class of records is arranged differently; some are chronological, some alphabetical and others have no discernable system of arrangement.
Conditions governing access: Published material open; other items closed for 20 years after last date on file. Some items may be subject to extended closure under Data Protection legislation.
Conditions governing reproduction: Copies may be made for private use.  Requests for permission to publish any material copied or extracts thereof should be made to the copyright holder.  A Copyright Declaration – request for copies or a  Copyright Declaration - self service photography form must be completed. 
Copyright: IALS.  
Physical characteristics: The collection comprises papers, some in files, plus a number of photographs and framed portraits.


Archival history: A brief overall survey of the Institute's records was undertaken in 1996 as part of the Records of Legal Education Project, a research study conducted with the support of the Institute.  A further small-scale project to identify specific archival records of relevance to the compilation of the 50th anniversary history of the Institute was undertaken in 1997. These records were separated from their original context and placed in the Archives for safe keeping. The papers listed below have been identified using the findings of both surveys, but at present consist only of those records identified in the smaller survey and some isolated records deposited in the Archives at various times following the second survey.  

It proved impossible, primarily due to loss of original file covers and original order, to reorganise these files with a complete degree of certainty in their original order, though every attempt has been made to do so.  It is hoped that some at least will be reunited with the remaining files in their original series at a later date.  
Immediate source of acquisition: officers of the Institute.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: In 2001/02 the above collections were appraised by the Archivist, Clare Cowling.  A considerable amount of material of no value was destroyed and the remainder catalogued.  Subsequent accessions of material were added to the collection as part of a cataloguing backlog project in 2010 and further material was later deposited on an ad hoc basis.   In 2019/20 the Archivist identified c. 127 linear metres of material, much of it unlisted, in the Archives; This material awaits appraisal and cataloguing when resources permit.

Accruals: Further accruals are expected.


Archivist's note

Rules or conventions: The original catalogue was compiled in 2001 by Clare Cowling in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.  Further cataloguing was undertaken in 2010.  The catalogue was updated in 2020 by Clare Cowling.

Page last updated: 27th June 2022

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