'Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults' (LADA) is the term coined to describe adults who have a slowly progressive form of autoimmune or type 1 diabetes that can be treated initially without insulin injections. The diagnosis of LADA is currently based on three clinical criteria: (1) adult age at onset of diabetes; (2) the presence of circulating islet autoantibodies, which distinguishes LADA from type 2 diabetes; and (3) insulin independence at diagnosis, which distinguishes LADA from classic type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of LADA in adults presenting with non-insulin-requiring diabetes is approximately 10%. Recognition of LADA expands the concept and prevalence of autoimmune diabetes, but LADA remains poorly understood at both a clinical and research level. In this perspective, we review the nomenclature, diagnostic criteria, genetics, pathology and therapy of LADA, to arrive at recommendations that might advance knowledge and management of this form of diabetes.