The IALS Blog | News, views and info from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Fellowships: 2018-2019


Applications are now being invited for Visiting Fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies for the period 1 October 2018 – 31 August 2019 or for any period (being at least three months) between those dates. 

These non-stipendiary Fellowships are designed for people already established in their own field of activity who are undertaking work within fields covered by or adjacent to the Institute’s own research programmes or interests, which are currently in the following areas of research: Law Librarianship, Public Law and Regulation; (eg: Information/Data Law and Policy, Human Rights, Labour and Equality Law, Law and Development, Law and Language); Legislative Studies and Legislative Drafting; Legal History and Legal Theory; European and Comparative Law; Interdisciplinary Research on Law, Society and the Humanities Law; Legal Profession and Access to Justice (eg: Legal Education, Legal Profession, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Law, International Economic Law, Private and Commercial Law).

NB: While these topics are preferred, the Institute is ready to consider other proposals.

The Fellowships are not confined to academic lawyers but are also open to scholars of other disciplines working in the relevant fields, and to practising lawyers or judges with scholarly projects to pursue.

They are not available to support postgraduate students’ research.

Further details can be found at:


Call for Papers: Building a 21st Century Bill of Rights



We are pleased to invite submissions for papers to be presented at the WG Hart Legal Workshop 2018 –‘Building a 21st Century Bill of Rights’ – to be held at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, 11th and 12th June 2018.

Almost all States have some form of a bill of rights in their national legal system. Whilst their specific content will vary, most cover many of the same issues such as the procedure for amendment, links with international law and institutions, and the status of the bill of rights in relation to other laws. The purpose of this workshop is to fill a significant gap in practice and scholarship and make an original contribution to current debates by bringing together scholars to discuss the construction of an effective 21st century bill of rights.

Whilst there has been discussion in the UK concerning the adoption of a “British” Bill of Rights, debate has focused on – and been largely limited to – addressing perceived negative characteristics of the Human Rights Act 1998. Creative thinking about topics such as the process of drafting a bill of rights, the role of human rights-promoting institutions, the extension of human rights law to the private sector and the experience of other jurisdictions is largely either absent or compartmentalised.

Confirmed speakers to date include:

  • Harriet Harman M.P., Chair, Joint Committee on Human Rights
  • Professor Conor Gearty, LSE
  • Judge Tim Eicke, European Court of Human Rights
  • Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty
  • Professor Colm O’Cinneide, UCL

Alongside keynote addresses, the following nine sessions will address a number of the most important questions any State concluding, or revising, a bill of rights should address. These questions encompass issues relating to the process of adoption, content and institutional position of a bill of rights, as well as the relationships between the various governmental, non-governmental and international actors conditioned by the bill of rights.

  1. Establishing the bases of a bill of rights. What are the purposes of a bill of rights? Can a bill of rights embed in the absence of a human rights ‘culture’?
  2. Design and implementation. How can popular ‘ownership’ be secured? What role can be played by social media and other methods of public engagement? Is it possible to ‘crowdsource’ a bill of rights?
  3. Linkages with international and comparative laws and institutions. Do bills of rights have a common, universal, core? To what extent might (or should) constitutional ‘borrowing’ influence the development of a bill of rights? Can international coordination enhance the effectiveness of a bill of rights?
  4. The protected rights. What challenges are presented by the inclusion in the bill of rights of economic, social and cultural rights? Should bills of rights protect third generation or group rights? Is the list of civil and political rights most commonly protected by national bills of rights unsuited to combatting new threats to human interests in the 21st Century?
  5. The bill of rights in the national constitutional order. Should the bill of rights be considered as apart from ordinary law? How might questions of interpretation and (dis)application be resolved? How could a bill of rights allocate complementary roles to the branches of government?
  6. Claimants and respondents. What are the benefits and drawbacks of an actio popularis? Should national human rights commissions have special status to bring claims under the bill of rights? What is the role of interveners? Should the bill of rights reach into the private sector or beyond the territorial jurisdiction?
  7. Remedies. Does a bill of rights offering less than a strike down power for courts really provide effective protection? Are damages an effective and appropriate remedy? What alternatives to damages are possible? Should judges be able to direct respondents to make changes to law, policy or practice in response to a finding of violation?
  8. Rights and civil society. How important is access to justice when seeking to put in place an effective bill of rights? How can the abilities of legislatures to prevent violations, and secure broader rights-compliance, be enhanced? How important is it for the executive to have a strong human rights policy and procedures in place to check for violations of the bill of rights?
  9. Addressing the populist backlash. Is there a backlash against courts and national human rights law or is this only the experience in a handful of states? Are current criticisms of national human rights law justified? Is it possible to successfully combat a backlash? Can human rights only gain acceptance in tandem with societal responsibilities?

Papers are welcome on any of these themes. Abstracts of approximately 300 words and a short speaker biography should be submitted to the Academic Directors (Merris Amos (; Roger Masterman (; Hélène Tyrrell ( by 31st December 2017, with full versions of the accepted papers due for submission by 30th April 2018. Contributions from early career researchers will be particularly welcomed and will be integrated into the workshop sessions. It is our intention that a selection of the presented papers will be published as an edited collection following the workshop.

NB a conference registration fee will apply.

Merris Amos, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London,

Roger Masterman, Durham Law School, Durham University,

Hélène Tyrrell, Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University.

For a copy of the Call for Papers, please click here

Call for Papers: IALS Student Law Review




The IALS Student Law Review (“the Review”) is an electronic open access peer-reviewed law journal established by the Institute, run by IALS research students and made freely available on the School of Advanced Study’s Open Journals System. The journal is well-placed to build on the Institute’s national role in facilitating legal research – developing its own role in publishing articles from legal researchers across the UK and beyond.

The Review (ISLRev ISSN 2053-7646 Online) publishes articles, developing work or case notes that meet scholarly standards, on all areas of law with a particular focus on the main expertise of IALS.

The unique offering of the Review is that it allows for publication on multi-dimensional legal studies. The Review proactively encourages analytical and comparative papers, interdisciplinary work, as well as examination of legal issues from the historical to the highly topical and divisive.

Contributions must adhere to the Review’s published Submission Guidelines and are welcome from post-graduate students and early career scholars to well-established academics and practitioners.

Submissions can be made through the Review’s online Submission Form or by email to:

Deadline: Tuesday 31 October 2017

The Review also accepts proposals for Special Edition Issues. Please contact the Editorial Board to discuss this further.

More information about the Journal can be found here.

OBserving Law – the IALS Open Book Service for Law


Picture of  IALS Open Book Service on PC

OBserving Law

OBserving Law – the IALS Open Book Service for Law ( is being developed as part of the School of Advanced Study’s Humanities Digital Library ( open access book publishing initiative.

The School launched the Humanities Digital Library in January 2017 with monographs in history, law and classics. Over the coming months it will grow to include books from other disciplines researched in institutes across the School, implementing plans to take a flexible approach to scholarly writing, publishing monographs and edited collections as well as innovative research in longer and shorter formats. Each title is published as an open access PDF, with copies also available to purchase in print and EPUB formats.

We were delighted to launch the new service with the fourth edition of Electronic Signatures in Law. It is written by IALS Associate Research Fellow Stephen Mason, who is a barrister and leading authority on electronic signatures and electronic evidence.

Stephen Mason’s enthusiasm and commitment to open access in the current project builds on a successful earlier collaboration with the Institute to provide an open access online version of the innovative Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review published by the IALS on the School of Advanced Study’s Open Journals System His manifesto for future updates ( illustrates the ambitions and opportunities for engagement and collaboration provided by the new service.

To further develop the IALS Open Book Service for Law and provide editorial oversight the Institute is establishing an Editorial Board and Advisory Board with representatives drawn from the UK legal research communities and scholarly professional associations for law such as the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS). The aim is to develop a broad team of consultant editors with particular subject expertise in law to help provide a new UK service with international reach.

Launch of the Humanities Digital Library album on IALS Facebook:


A Reflection on What We’ve Achieved, and a Preview of What Lies Ahead for 2016/17


It is now 18 months since the official launch of the Information Law and Policy Centre at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

As the Centre’s first director, Dr Judith Townend, moves onto a new post at the University of Sussex, we thought it would be an opportune moment to offer you a brief summary of some of the Centre’s activities so far.

The Centre was launched in February 2015 with a remit to provide opportunities for academics, lawyers, policymakers, journalists, NGOs, charities and other parties to explore the way information and data is controlled, shared and disseminated.

As well as a small academic staff, its members include a number of associate research fellows based at various UK universities, and visiting fellows from around the world. An expert Advisory Board has helped us develop our programme of research.

At the launch event, presentations were given on topics as diverse as institutional data sharing, privacy vigilantism and cybersecurity. In the evening, Timothy Pitt-Payne QC, barrister at 11KBW and specialist in information rights, gave an informative and entertaining talk entitled ‘Does Privacy Matter?’

After an encouraging start, the Centre pursued a variety of inter-related research avenues.

One of the Centre’s main areas of interest during this period has been the progress of the Investigatory Powers Bill. During 2015, a team led by Professor Lorna Woods sought to establish the legal provenance of as many clauses in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill as possible. The Centre also collated commentary and other materials related to the Bill. These online resources support research into issues raised by the Bill around privacy, security and data sharing.

The Centre has also taken an active interest in the government’s Prevent strategy and the potential impact on freedom of expression and academic freedom brought about by the enforcement of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. In October 2015, in collaboration with the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, the Information Law and Policy Centre held a one day event considering how the Act might affect universities, their staff and students. The keynote was delivered by the Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable.

The Centre’s work on intellectual property law, led by Dr Christina Angelopoulos (who will be taking up a post at the University of Cambridge in October), has focused primarily on the law of copyright. The Centre has been particularly interested in the relationship between human rights and copyright, the issue of intermediary liability for copyright infringement and the need to re-evaluate the position of copyright in the modern economic and technological landscape. Most recently the centre hosted the launch of Angela Daly’s new book on the legal implications of 3D printing for copyright law.

More broadly, the Information Law and Policy Centre has also contributed to events coordinated by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. In particular, the Centre has assisted with a number of events exploring the humanity of law including ‘The Humanity of Judging‘, ‘Judgecraft and Emotions’ and ‘The Humanity of Barristers: Stories from the Bar’. In June 2016, the Centre helped organised an exhibition of drawings from the UK Supreme Court and other courts which provide artist Isobel Williams’ perspective on the human participants involved in legal proceedings.

In between times, the Centre has considered a range of other issues including access to courts data and the principle of open justice, freedom of information and expression, the right to be forgotten, whistleblowing in the digital age, and the interaction of UK law with the EU in relation to the EU referendum.

Speakers have included the Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew, Heather Rogers QC, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression Frank La Rue, Dominic Grieve QC MP,  Jessica Simor QC, and investigative journalists Heather Brooke and Ewen Macaskill. Numerous academics have joined discussion panels or led seminars; among these were Dr Judith Bannister, Professor Eric Barendt, Professor Ian Cram, and Professor Lilian Edwards.

We have offered training in law and ethics for research, and on public policy engagement for PhD students and early career researchers. A list of resources from our events and training can be found here.

We believe the Centre has had a strong start over the last 18 months and we would like to thank you for all your support of the Information Law and Policy Centre during this time. The Centre is only successful because of those of you who have attended events, given presentations, written guest blog posts, contributed to our research activities and encouraged us in the Centre’s work. We are especially grateful to our excellent advisors – both official and unofficial – and to all the external organisations and institutions with which we have partnered.

And more events are to come! Activities for autumn 2016 include ongoing research on protection for whistleblowers and journalists, an annual workshop themed on information control and human rights sponsored by Bloomsbury’s Communications Law journal (9th November), and a seminar and panel discussion at London’s Free Word Centre to celebrate 250 years since Freedom of Information took root in Sweden in 1766 (8th December).

Looking ahead, we hope the Information Law and Policy Centre has an important contribution to make in the future bringing together academics, policymakers and practitioners in this field to discuss and research these issues.

As such, we are looking forward to seeing how the Information Law and Policy Centre develops under a new Director who will be appointed in the near future: the post will be advertised shortly via the University of London website.

For inquiries about the Centre’s activities, please contact our part-time research assistant Dr Daniel Bennett (