The Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) was established at the Institute of Modern Languages Research in April 2021. CLACS continues the activity of the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS). Founded in 1965, ILAS was based at the University of London's School of Advanced Study housed in Senate House, London. Between 2004 and 2013 it formed part of the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

As part of the School of Advanced Study, CLACS occupies a unique position at the core of academic study of the Latin American and Caribbean region in the UK. Internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for research facilitation, it serves the wider community through organising academic events, providing online research resources, publishing scholarly writings and hosting visiting fellows. It possesses a world-class library dedicated to the study of Latin America and is the administrative home of the highly respected Journal of Latin American Studies.

CLACS supports scholarship across a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and cognate social sciences and actively maintains and builds ties with cultural, diplomatic and business organisations with interests in Latin America.

As an integral part of the School of Advanced Study, CLACS has a mission to foster scholarly initiatives and develop networks of Latin Americanists and Caribbeanists at a national level, as well as to promote the participation of UK scholars in the international study of Latin America.