Services for IALS Research Students (MPhil and PhD)

IALS Library Services and Collections for 2021

“Click, Collect & Return” book loan service

IALS Library members can continue to request books via the IALS Library catalogue at home and then come in to IALS to borrow the library’s books. Find out more about how it works.

Scanning Service for IALS students

IALS students can place online requests for scans of journal articles and book chapters from the printed volumes on the IALS Library shelves (and which are unavailable from the library’s e-resources):

Copyright Form for External Request

For any external requests for items not held in the IALS Library, please fill in the copyright declaration form.

All other library services continue to be available virtually for your legal research needs:

IALS Library contact

Your primary contact in the Library is Hester Swift, the Foreign and International Law Librarian.

If you would like a brief library induction, or if you require advice about using library resources, including databases, please contact Hester. Any questions or suggestions about the Library, its services and its collections, are also welcome.

Classmarks and the Location of Resources in the Library

Masterclass sessions

Computing services in IALS Library

Legal research environment in IALS Library

Borrowing from IALS Library

IALS research students (MPhil and PhD) are entitled to our most generous borrowing privileges. However, IALS Library is primarily a reference library, so borrowing is limited.

You may borrow:

  • Four books from the main collection, for four weeks. (Please note that this period may be shortened should another reader reserve the book after you have borrowed it.)
  • Three books/ looseleaf volumes from the short loan collection, for three hours. Books borrowed after 4.45 p.m. ( or 2.15 p. m. on Saturdays) are due back an hour after the Library opens the next morning (or Monday morning if borrowed on a Saturday or Sunday).

Journals and looseleaf volumes - whether short loan or main collection - are confined to the Library.


Main collection loans can be renewed by telephone or via the Library Catalogue ; this can be done up to three times, as long as no one has reserved the book. Short loans cannot be renewed in this way, but you can bring short loan books back to the Issue Desk to be reissued, unless someone else has booked them.

For more information about loans and renewals, see the Loans and Renewals page.

Access to IALS e-resources

IALS Library subscribes to a large set of electronic resources and most can be accessed remotely.

Databases: To access a database, go to the Electronic Law Library and click on the name of the database. Select "onsite" if using an IALS Library PC, or "remote access" if using your own computer. For remote access, you will need to enter the barcode number from your Library card.

Electronic journals: To access an e-journal , either remotely or in the Library, find it on the Catalogue and click on the link to the online source. (Individual e-journals are not listed on the Electronic Law Library page.)

Access to library e-resources SAS students guide cover

Access to library e-resources - SAS students Guide.

Full details about remote access to electronic resources are available here.

Information skills and Electronic Information Training Sessions - Training at IALS Library.

Library research carrels

IALS Library research carrels are primarily used by IALS Visiting Fellows and other visiting academics. However IALS PhD students can use them for daily hire on a “first-come, first-served basis” if there is a vacant carrel available. IALS PhD students should ask in person at the Library Admissions Desk each day to see if a vacant carrel is available for hire that day: The daily hire of an available vacant library research carrel is a free service for IALS PhD students only. At present IALS Library offers 30 research carrels. As part of the upcoming refurbishment, we plan to offer 40 lockable research carrels.

Additional Library study desks

At present IALS Library has 231 study desks available for users (excluding Library research carrels). As part of the Library refurbishment, we plan to increase the number of Library study desks by 50 additional desks. This should ensure that all Library users find a desk during busy periods.

Using other libraries

PhD research normally involves the use of several different libraries. There are numerous excellent University of London libraries close to IALS and the British Library is not far away.

Senate House and SAS Libraries

IALS Library is part of a group of libraries consisting of Senate House Library itself and the libraries of the institutes of the School of Advanced Study (SAS Libraries):

Your IALS Library card, or "SAS card", admits you to all of these libraries. However, borrowing is only available at Senate House Library and IALS.

Other University of London libraries

You are entitled to reference use of other University of London libraries under the University of London Libraries Access Agreement , on production of your SAS card.

You may borrow from many of these libraries, including SOAS, UCL, the LSE and King's, if you apply under the SCONUL Access scheme (see below.)

You can access electronic resources at some other University of London libraries. For example, at SOAS Library, visitors can use the computers on level D to access databases, while at the LSE and UCL there are dedicated computers for visitors. Please refer to individual libraries for further details.

The British Library

The British Library is fifteen minutes' walk from IALS. Information about the collections and details of how to apply for a reader pass are available on the Library's website.


If School of Advanced Study (SAS) research students wish to access and borrow from other UK university libraries who are members of the SCONUL Access Scheme, they should:

  • Complete the SCONUL Access application form online:
  • Once your application is approved by IALS Library, please print out the confirmation email and take this to the university library you wish to access.
  • You will also need to bring along your SAS ID card or library card (check with the library beforehand to see if you need to bring a passport photograph with you).

For further information contact:

Claire Miller
Library Administrative Officer
020 7862 5801

Nearby libraries offering borrowing under SCONUL Access include:

Page last updated: 12th November 2021