Research is undertaken on three levels: Centre level, staff level and student level.
At the Centre level, research continues on various aspects of drafting and law reform, especially the production of Drafting Manuals and Impact Assessment Manuals. At the same time we continue to support research in the fields of EU criminal law and the Transposition of EU legislation. For many years the Centre has undertaken comparative research for the European Commission involving multi-member multi-national research teams from the older and new EU member states and the accession countries. The 1999 and 2000 FALCONE studies analyse the use of criminal records as a means of preventing organised crime and the need for harmonisation at the EU level, and a study on the legislative text by which a European Criminal Record may be introduced in the national legal orders of EU member states and accession countries. The Centre is proud to announce that its work in this field is now bearing fruit and a draft Framework Decision on a database for convictions is already before the Council of the EU for consideration and, hopefully, agreement. The Commission's Communication on the draft Framework Decision makes direct and repeated reference to the IALS studies.
The Centre has developed unique expertise in databases for the prevention of crime at the EU level. In collaboration with Europol and Eurojust, the 2003 study on "the methods of preventing the infiltration of legal entities by the organised crime and terrorism" explores the feasibility of the compilation of a database of legal entities as a means of facilitating the availability of data on legal entities within all EU member states. The 2003 AGIS study on the creation of a database on prosecutions and investigations explores the feasibility and legality of a EU-wide database on prosecutions and investigations as a means of ensuring effectiveness in the prosecution and investigation of transnational crime that, in most cases, is investigated and prosecuted by more than one national authority.
The 2000 GROTIUS study analyses the manner in which EU instruments in the field of Justice and Home Affairs are received by the laws of Member States. The study constitutes a guide of best practice for existing and aspiring member states in the method of transposition of instruments in the area of EU criminal law. Moreover, it includes recommendations of best practice for the Commission that drafts the relevant EU instruments.
The Centre also conducts studies of a smaller scale for other departments of the EU institutions. An example of this activity is the 2000 study on disciplinary proceedings and criminal trials within member states that was conducted for the Legal Service of the European Commission.
Our wealth of experience from teaching and researching these issues is carried on to our training programmes. Apart from other postgraduate and professional teaching in drafting and law reform, the Centre has secured funding for the organisation of tailor-made training for members of the legal professions in the area of EU law and EU criminal law. The 2003 GROTIUS CIVIL project on the training of EU judges in the recent developments in EU civil procedural law enabled 40 national judges and court officials from nine EU member states to train in our London seminar; many more have benefited from the free manual produced with the kind support of the European Commission.
The 2004 AGIS training programme enables judges from the EU member states to acquire up to date knowledge on the recent developments of EU criminal law.
The 2004 PHARE programme enables a small number of judges from the new member states to follow an intensive interactive seminar on the role of national judges in the enforcement of EU law.
The 2004 PROGRAMME OF EXCHANGES OF JUDGES enables 40 judges from EU member states to exchange views on the role and scope of national judiciaries within the EU legal system and to experience judicial reality in two member states. This takes place in a structured environment with the facilitation of our experienced staff.
The Centre is honoured to have secured the European Commission's seal of approval for the JEAN MONNET module titled "Drafting for EU Accession and Membership". This success was followed in 2004 by a second seal of approval for the JEAN MONNET module "Theories of European Integration". Both modules are offered in the LLM for Advanced Legislative Studies and also as stand-alone summer courses.
The Centre completed successfully the Ukraine Legislative Drafting Project (2000-2005) which provided aid to the government of Ukraine for the establishment of capacity in drafting legislation.
At staff level, research is undertaken mainly by the Director of the Centre Dr Constantin Stefanou as well as Centre Fellows Prof Helen Xanthaki and Dr Maria Mousmouti. Other Fellows at the Centre produce research under the auspices and in collaboration with other units of the Institute, such as the Centre for Legal Education. Findings of this research is published in British and international journals.
The Centre collaborates with academics and practitioners from research units within the Institute and elsewhere in order to organise author teams writing on different aspects of a particular topic. The aim is to publish the result in a book edited by or under the aegis of the Centre. Practising drafters or members of the academic community put specific suggestions for topics and titles forward. Another source of research and publications is the annual Legislative Drafting Course and the contribution of students and alumni in the publications of the Centre, such as the European Journal of Law Reform. Dr Constantin Stefanou was the editor of the EJLR from 2012 till 2023. From April 2023 Dr Stefanou and Prof Xanthaki are joint chief editors of the Statute Law Review.
Centre and staff research also benefit from research undertaken by the Centre's postgraduate students. The LLM programme and courses taught at the Centre constitutes an excellent source for the recruitment of postgraduate students, for M.Phil. and Ph.D. level. The students are encouraged to publish under the auspices of the Centre and in collaboration with Centre staff. Country reports are part of the Centre's ongoing research activity mainly undertaken by alumni.
Between 2015 and 2020 the Centre developed a new research agenda with the support of Erasmus Mundus funding. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies has developed a joint Master’s Degree in Parliamentary Procedures and Legislative Drafting (EUPADRA) in partnership with the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and the School of Government at LUISS Guido Carli University (Rome) and the Parliamentary Law Institute of Complutense University (Madrid).
In recent years the Centre has cooperated with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and together they have worked in areas such as Post Legislative Scrutiny with considerable success.