The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is Nigeria ’s apex institution for research and advanced studies in law. It was a brainchild of the legal academic community established in March 1979. One of the main ideas in founding the Institute was to establish it as the centre for advanced legal research for all the Nigerian universities with Faculties of Law, so that all postgraduate work could be undertaken there under the joint auspices of the most experienced and learned academic lawyers available in the country, whether indigenous or foreign. The Library would be the best equipped collection of law books and publications. This would, no doubt, assist in resolving the difficulties hampering the organisation of postgraduate studies needed to fill in the gaps in the training of Nigerian lawyers at the time.
At inception, the Institute was funded with generous financial and academic support from external agencies such as the Ford Foundation and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Such assistance, however, declined over time. The National Universities Commission also funded the Institute through the University of Lagos until 1984 when by virtue of Decree No. 18 of June 27, the Institute became autonomous under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Justice. This development greatly enhanced the mandate and institutional capacity of the Institute to discharge its functions.
Additionally, in 1995 the enabling law of the Institute, now fully incorporated into the Laws of the Federation 2004 as section 4(c), Cap. N112, was amended to mandate the Institute to run post-graduate courses in legislative drafting. Consequently, the Institute’s Post-graduate School (PGS) was established in 1997 as the Post-graduate Studies Unit with the sole aim of running a Post-graduate Diploma in Legislative Drafting (PGDLD) and Masters Degree in Legislative Drafting (LLM.). This was the first of its kind, not only in Nigeria but in Africa . The Institute has also recently commenced a Ph.D Programme in Legislative Drafting.