The Professional Development Committee organises courses and social events for the benefit of BIALL members. The Committee tries to plan events that will be of interest to as many BIALL members as possible, and is always keen to receive suggestions for topics of interest to members.  Please contact the Committee Chair if there are any topics you would like to be considered for future courses.

Our two regular courses are the Legal Foundations Course and the Legal Reference Materials Course. Other courses held include Moys Classification, Cataloguing in law libraries, and EU law.


BIALL Mentoring Scheme update, November 2021

A pilot Mentoring Scheme was run in 2021. The Professional Development Committee are currently reviewing the scheme. If you have any questions about the Mentoring Scheme, please contact Alice Tyson, Mentoring Scheme Coordinator, at


Legal Foundations Course

The Legal Foundations Course is run by BIALL’s Professional Development Committee in conjunction with the University of Westminster Department of Professional Legal Studies.

This is an online course which will be of particular interest to new entrants to the legal information profession. The course provides a grounding in legal concepts for librarians, knowledge managers and information workers. It is not a course on how to conduct legal research, but rather a way of getting to grips with the concepts and terminology used in the legal profession, providing you with a better understanding of the law in England and Wales and how it has been applied in various subject areas.

Each week a new lecture is made available to participants; these lectures may be in the format of audio recordings with slides or video files. Subjects covered include: the English Legal System, Contract, Crime, Employment, Business, Immigration Law and more. A small activity such as a multiple choice quiz follows the lecture.  Participants are recommended to set aside 3 hours per week to complete the activities.   The students must pass the online activities in order to receive the end of course certificate.

Next course date:

Oct 2022

2021/22 Course

The topics for this year are:

English Legal System I and II
English Legal System III
English Legal System IV
Tort II
Contract I
Contract II
Consumer Rights
Criminal Law I
Criminal Law II
Employment Law
European Union Law
Contract Law
Consumer Rights
Employment Law
Immigration Law
Human Rights Law
Wills Probate and Administration
Civil Procedure
Family Law
Intellectual Property
Media Law
Land Law
Business Organisations and Company

Download sample course schedule

Legal Reference Materials Course

The aim of the course is to introduce the structure of the legal system in the UK and use of key legal information sources.  The course will run online, over two mornings or afternoons, and cover theory of the English legal system, legislation and case law and practical legal research experience.

The focus is on the law of England and Wales, but some consideration is given to the devolved nations.  (BIALL offers separate courses on European Union Law and Foreign and International Law).

This course is intended for recent entrants to law librarianship, and for those working in more general libraries which have legal materials, and it is suitable for both librarians and library assistants.

Next course date:

Summer 2022 TBC 

2021 Course

 Provisional timetable

Day 1 – Legislation

12:50    Registration

13:10    Overview of the English legal system

13:30    Legislation presentation

14:15    Break

14:30    Legislation exercises

15:30    Legislation answers

Day 2 – Cases

12:55    Registration

13:00    Case law presentation (with a break in the middle)

14:30    Case law questions

15:30   Case law answers

16:30    Close

An interesting introduction to the legal system and sources, delivered in an engaging way. It made what can be a complex subject much more manageable, and furnished me with some essential, practical legal research techniques that I’m using on a daily basis. I couldn’t recommend the course highly enough – Legal Reference Materials
Kate Manning

Lincoln's Inn

Clear, unbiased instruction on practical legal research skills. The instructors were engaging and their teaching was reinforced by the opportunity to practice the skills being taught within the session. I would highly recommend this course for anyone looking to brush up on legal research skills and legal reference materials – Legal Reference Materials
Jordan Murphy

Bircham Dyson Bell

I found the course very useful and informative; particularly with regards to understanding the difference between different kinds of Government publications and the difference between a law report and a copy of the judgment, so being explained the fundamentals helped to slot these aspects into place within the context of my own work – Legal Reference Materials
Rebecca Loughead

Reed Smith

How do I find out about these courses?

Forthcoming courses are advertised on our Events page, on this page, and on the Professional Development Committee page. We also  use the member only BIALL mailtalk email list to notify members about forthcoming courses.

Forthcoming Courses

Our next course will be the Legal Reference Materials course in December 2021.


BIALL offers bursaries to members to attend training events and conferences – see the Bursaries page for more details.

Terms & Conditions

The following terms and conditions apply when booking BIALL Professional Development Committee training courses and events

Booking Form
The booking form is an application to attend a course or event and does not guarantee your place. A confirmation email will be sent within 10 working days of receipt of your booking form. Please do not make travel or hotel bookings until you have received your confirmation email.

We reserve the right to refuse bookings from individuals or organisations if payment for previous courses or events is overdue.

Booking Fees
Course fees include course materials and refreshments (1/2 day course) and lunch (full day course) unless otherwise stated.
Member Discounts
To qualify for discounted course fees, you must have a valid BIALL membership (individual or institutional) and include your BIALL membership number at the time of booking.
An invoice for course fees will be sent (via email) from the BIALL Treasurer.

Payment for social events will be in the manner prescribed by the notice advertising the event. Methods of payment not specified in the notice will not be accepted for social events. You are advised to keep a record of any bookings or payments made online.

  • If you cancel your booking more than 5 working days before a course we will provide a full refund;
  • If you cancel your booking within 5 working days of a course, we will charge 50% of the course fees to cover our costs.

In the unlikely event that we have to cancel an event, we will provide a full refund of course fees, but we will not reimburse associated travel and hotel costs. We will also offer you priority booking if the cancelled event is rescheduled in the future.

If you are unable to attend an event, we are happy to accept substitutions, providing that you advise us of the change at least 1 working day before the event.

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