The Law Department at SOAS is one of the most highly-regarded law departments in the UK for the quality of both its teaching and research. The Department has an unrivalled concentration of specialists in the laws of Asian and African countries, with additional areas of expertise in the areas of comparative law, human rights, transnational commercial law, environmental law, international law and socio-legal method. Lecturers in the Department maintain close links with professional practice and frequently have first-hand knowledge of the latest developments in business, government and international organisations. Each year, the Department attracts a number of distinguished lawyers as Research Fellows or Visiting Instructors. A thriving research community includes the following Centres:
- Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law (CCEIL)
- Centre of East Asian Law (CEAL)
- Centre for Human Rights Law (CHRL)
- Centre for Islamic and Middle East Law (CIMEL)
- Law, Environment and Development Centre (LEDC)
The Department also has close links with the internationally-renowned Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) and the Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden University, with which it publishes the London-Leiden Series on Law, Administration and Development.
Why study at SOAS?
SOAS is one of few institutions in the world that specialises in the study of law within, or in relation to, the developing world. It has unrivalled expertise in the field of comparative law (China, Africa, South/ South-East Asia, the Middle East) complemented by a range of experts dealing with issues of international and transnational law. Specialist fields include trade law, law and development, comparative law, commercial law (including copyright and patent law), human rights, environmental law, Islamic law, dispute resolution and international law, to name but a few.
In every area, SOAS modules are designed not only to introduce students to the general fields of law that relate to the developing world, but also an understanding as to how generic legal structures and processes may operate in non-Western social and cultural settings.
All teachers on modules offered at SOAS are experts in their designated field. Many have years of experience advising governments, international organisations or non-governmental organisations. Many also have professional experience as qualified practitioners. Teaching is provided not only by the Department's full-time members of staff, together with teachers from other University of London law schools, but also by other part-time visiting teachers drawn from leading experts working in private practice, governmental departments and international institutions. An official survey of teaching standards in British institutions gave SOAS the highest rating, and the School of Law scored a 5 in the last Research Assessment Exercise.
Apart from its expertise, SOAS also benefits from its social and geographical environment. Because of the specialist nature of the institution, the student population attending the SOAS LLM is extraordinarily diverse: students from all parts of the world come to SOAS to study law, bringing with them a unique range of experience and expertise which frequently enlivens the learning experience. At the same time, the SOAS LLM programme is relatively small by London standards, and students can therefore enjoy its strong collegiate atmosphere. SOAS law school is located in the heart of the university district in Central London close to a range of libraries (including that of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies to which all post-graduate students have access), and ideally positioned for students to enjoy the range of academic activities (lectures and seminars) that occur on a daily basis within London.