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The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) has as its central remit the promotion and facilitation of research and scholarship at an advanced level across the whole field of law. Though based in central London and attached to the University of London, IALS draws its primary membership from academic researchers and postgraduate research students from other institutions throughout the UK, and provides services to researchers in the wider legal community.

IALS has been involved in innovative online legal information delivery for many years, developing and promoting public access to materials on the web through the creation of a wide range of e-resources, digitisation and collaborative ventures. The arm of the Institute actively involved in this field has recently been renamed IALS Digital. Through the ongoing work of IALS Digital, the Institute is committed to extending the reach of digital provision of legal information by delivering specialist legal research tools and niche web services – maximising access to key or hard-to-find information to facilitate legal research, public understanding, and the promotion of justice and the rule of law.

Some of IALS Digital’s recent initiatives are highlighted below, along with several of its more well-established research tools. All of the resources are freely available at ials.sas.ac.uk/digital.

Law PORT

Law PORT is a collection of open access, online training resources. The tutorials were created to support researchers with public international law research and the use of OSCOLA (the Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities). The tutorials are self-paced and contain interactive elements such as video demonstrations of online databases, and quizzes to test and consolidate learning. Tutorials are available on the following topics:

  • Citing references using OSCOLA
  • Researching customary international law
  • Treaties and international conventions

OBserving Law

The Open Book Service for Law (OBserving Law) aims to provide a showcase for the vibrant state of legal scholarship, by publishing the best monographic works in law. Titles are made freely available in PDF format with single volume and separate chapter versions. The latest publication from OBserving Law is an up-to-date edition of Electronic Evidence edited by Stephen Mason and Daniel Seng with a team of specialist contributors. Submissions are accepted from individual authors and editors, and a publishing service is also provided to learned societies and organisations.

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Case papers

IALS holds an important collection of case papers from appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and has undertaken a digitisation project to raise the discoverability, visibility and usability of the documents. Over 5000 searchable PDFs have been created. Case papers from the IALS collection from 1930 to 1985 and some selected papers from earlier judgments of special interest to researchers were chosen for the project. The digitised papers (case for the appellant, case for the respondent, record of proceedings, factums and appendices) are now available as searchable PDF files alongside the judgment texts that were already freely available on BAILII.

Eagle-i

Eagle-i (Electronic Access to Global Legal Information) is a database of selected law websites. It guides users to high quality legal information sources on the web for the purposes of research, teaching and learning. Eagle-i lists thousands of law sites from all over the world and provides a concise description of each site. The database can be searched by subject, keyword, jurisdiction, or type of legal material.

Current Legal Research Topics (CLRT)

CLRT is a database of working titles of MPhil and PhD research currently underway in universities in the United Kingdom. Its purpose is to provide postgraduate students (who are undertaking or thinking of undertaking a PhD or MPhil) and their supervisors and law schools with a comprehensive listing of legal research currently undertaken at doctoral level. It is updated annually.

FLAG Foreign Law Guide

FLAG is a guide to the print and microform holdings of foreign, international and comparative law in the UK’s academic, national and specialist law libraries. It contains a wealth of information to help researchers and librarians discover and locate collections of treaties, papers of the United Nations and other international organisations, the law reports and codes and legislation of many jurisdictions, and useful indexes and other finding tools.

Open Journals

The following open access journals relating to law are available on the School of Advanced Study’s Open Journals System.

Amicus Curiae is the official journal of both the Society for Advanced Legal Studies and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. The open version includes over 600 articles by more than 400 authors.

Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review brings articles, legal developments and case reports to academics, practitioners and the industry in relation to digital evidence and electronic signatures from across the world.

IALS Student Law Review is a peer-reviewed law journal run by IALS PhD legal research students assisted by an academic member of staff at IALS. The journal is intended as a showcase for legal scholars from postgraduate students and early career scholars to well-established academics.

FLARE Index to Treaties

The FLARE Index to Treaties is a searchable database of basic information on over 2000 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1353 onwards and a number of significant bilateral treaties signed between 1353 and 1815, with links to full-text where available, providing a research tool aiding scholars and students, lawyers and librarians in researching the international law of treaties – whether they are new or experienced in the field.

BAILII

BAILII, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, based at IALS, is a sophisticated searchable database of online primary legal resources, updated daily. BAILII contains judgments, treaties, legal texts and commentaries of all kinds. It has made a huge contribution to freeing the law for students, educators and the general public.

Lisa Davies is the Access Librarian at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies where she is responsible for co-ordinating information skills training, reference advice and outreach. She is currently a Council Member of BIALL. Email lisa.davies@sas.ac.uk. Twitter @ladyinladywell.

An event for the official launch of IALS Digital is planned for Thursday 16 November 2017. For further information please contact Steven Whittle, IALS Digital Manager at steven.whittle@sas.ac.uk.

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