The Institute is keen to explore and understand legal rules, institutions, practices, and cultures in their social, cultural, economic, and historical contexts. Drawing upon empirical, theoretical and philosophical approaches, as well as doctrinal legal research, the Institute is concerned with the engagement between law and society as well as considerations of law in context.
The Institute promotes a wide range of research methods, but has particular strengths in socio-legal research (and training). The Institute regularly hosts research events, workshops, and PhD training sessions in this field.
Each year, IALS offers a 2-week socio-legal research training workshop to PhD students – which is also available to PhD students in other institutions.
Workshops focusing on specific aspects of socio-legal research (examples include: legal biography, law, gender and sexuality, international law, and criminology and criminal justice) are run in collaboration with the Socio-Legal Studies Association and the British Library.
The Institute Director, Professor Carl Stychin, is editor of a leading international journal in this field: Social & Legal Studies.