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Finding IALS Collections and Resources

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library is in its entirety a research collection in law. It is one of the world’s leading comparative research libraries, holding significant material not otherwise available in the United Kingdom.

About the Collections

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library is in its entirety a research collection in law. It is one of the world’s leading comparative research libraries, holding significant material not otherwise available in the United Kingdom.

The Library has over 300,000 volumes and over 2500 current serial titles. 

Most material is on open access with some older sets in the basement store (normally available within 10 minutes of application). Some little used material is held in an Offsite Store (for more details see below).

University of London Colleges' Master of Laws Programmes

The Institute Library provides a comprehensive library and information service to the University of London colleges' LLM programmes. It aims to have all essential LLM course materials readily available for students.

Offsite store

Material held in store offsite is indicated on the library online catalogue by the location statement "IALS OFFSITE STORE". It can be retrieved for use at IALS normally within 72 hours of a request being placed.

Requesting material from the offsite store ahead of your visit to the library

We recommend that materials are requested in advance, prior to your visit to the library. Please check the online catalogue and email details to us at: or telephone our Library Enquiries service on 020 7862 5790. Subscribers to the Document Delivery Service should email 

Requests made in person at the Library Enquiry Desk will be processed as soon as possible to ensure prompt delivery from the store.

The material selected for offsite storage includes US journals and law reports which are available online via the Law Databases page.

Download IALS Library Collection and Retention Policy document (pdf)

Collections Coverage


  • All jurisdictions of the United Kingdom and its dependencies
  • European Union
  • Europe: particularly strong for Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland. Limited collections for eastern Europe mainly in translation
  • Commonwealth countries including much early material. Pakistan and Bangladesh not collected; there is limited federal material for India
  • United States of America
  • Latin America particularly Argentina and Brazil

International Law

  • Private international law/conflict of laws
  • Public international law: legal aspects of many international organisations and their publications; major collections of treaties including the Consolidated Treaty Series, the League of Nations Treaty Series, the United Nations Treaty Series, the United Kingdom Treaty Series, the Council of Europe Treaty Series, and United States Treaties and Other International Agreements 

Other Areas of Law

Areas covered at IALS include:

  • Comparative law
  • Jurisprudence
  • Legal reference and bibliographical works

Special, Named or Unpublished

The collections of the Library also incorporate materials associated with a name, or containing major unpublished elements. These include: the Commonwealth law Library of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, a unique collection of legislation from countries of the Commonwealth from the earliest period of colonial history to the present; the Roman-Dutch law collection which includes early works and extensive collections from influenced jurisdictions such as South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe; the Huberich, Kahn-Freund and Bischoff collections which cover various subjects and jurisdictions (mainly comparative law, German and other European law, Roman law and Roman-Dutch law); material relating to Royal Commissions and Inquiries on legal matters, including the unpublished papers and minutes of evidence of various inquiries; war crimes material including a full set of the original papers of the Nuremberg Tribunal donated by Lord Birkett; records of the Legal Education Archives. For further background information see: Buried Treasure: some lesser-known items in the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.


The Institute has several collections of archives, held in the Library - administered by the IALS Archivist.

The IALS archives are records of the Institute itself and also various manuscripts held by the Institute.

The Records of Legal Education archives were created as part of a broader project funded by the Leverhulme Trust to investigate records of legal education. They are records of organisations and individuals connected with legal education which otherwise had no institutional home or were at risk.

You can browse collection descriptions and finding lists or search both these archives using the Senate House Library (SHLs) Archives Catalogue.

Other Resources

Library Statistics

  • 302,220 : Volumes held in the library
  • 13,485 : Visitors
  • 90,753,769 : Digital Views
  • 3,725 : Library Members
  • 98.1% : Satisfaction Rating (Reader Satisfaction Survey)