Instructions for Authors

Statement of Policy

The Journal of Law and Courts follows a policy of submission exclusivity. The journal will not consider papers under submission to another journal.


The core mission of the interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Courts is to publish outstanding peer-reviewed articles, each of which speaks to a large and diverse audience of scholars interested in legal institutions, actors, processes, or policy.  The Journal’s scope is wide, with topics including but not limited to the following: causes and effects of litigation, the development of judicial institutions, the impact of courts and law, judicial decision making, judicial independence, juries, the legal profession, and the selection of judges. Scholarship published in the Journal may focus on law and courts of any type, any time, and any place.


Submissions are evaluated on three chief criteria: (1) the importance of the questions or ideas addressed, (2) analytical rigor, and (3) success in crossing boundaries that often divide scholars from different disciplines or even segments of the same discipline.  Theoretical and empirical studies are equally welcome.  Empirical studies may be descriptive or causal and may employ any rigorous method, qualitative or quantitative.


Papers should not exceed 10,000 words, except where extra length is essential to the integrity of the article, as, for instance, in a work of qualitative research where fairly extensive descriptions are required to allow readers to evaluate the evidence.  Brief papers–empirical research notes or sharply focused and tightly argued essays–will be looked on favorably.


Most JLC articles consist of original scholarship.  The two types of exceptions that will be considered for publication are theoretically sophisticated “state of the discipline” pieces and papers elucidating little-known empirical methods–qualitative or quantitative–that could be valuable to many researchers in the law and courts community. 


Although empirical or conceptual analyses of the substance of law are highly appropriate subjects for JLC articles, papers whose primary purpose is to describe or evaluate doctrinal developments will not be considered for publication.


The Journal follows standard peer-review procedures, with three referees providing reports on each submission via a double-blind review process. In addition, one or more associate editors assess the paper’s success in speaking to readers that do not share the theoretical or methodological perspective of the submitting author(s).


Preparation of Copy

Please prepare a final draft of your manuscript that conforms to the following format and style specifications. All manuscripts should be submitted as one Microsoft Word file, with tables and figures at the end. All elements should be double-spaced. In addition, please ensure that the manuscript is anonymous by deleting all self-identifying references.


Preparation of Artwork

A high-quality photocopy of each illustration should accompany the manuscript. Reproduction-quality electronic files of illustrations will be required for manuscripts accepted for publication.


Preparation of Tables

Tables should be prepared with the table feature of the software used. Keep horizontal lines to a minimum and do not use vertical rules. Tables should be numbered consecutively starting with table 1. Do not use letters (e.g., table 1A) to distinguish tables.


Submitting Your Manuscript

Go to to submit your manuscript. The system relies on automated processing to create an Adobe Acrobat (pdf) file from your submission. Step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process, and you should receive an e-mail confirmation from the system when your submission is complete. If you have problems, please contact for assistance.


Citations and References

Submissions should follow the author-date system of documentation as outlined in The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). Simple citations of works are given in the text in chronological order by enclosing the author's last name and the year of publication in parentheses—for example, (Friedman 2003)—and are keyed to an alphabetical list of references at the end of the article. Specific page or section citations follow the date, preceded by a comma: (Friedman 2003, 96). Other examples are as follows: for dual authorship of a single work, (Newman and Principle 2002); for three or more authors of a single work, (Koehlstedt, Smith, and Brown 1999 [subsequent citations would list Koehltedt et al.]); for two works by the same author, (McMullin 1990, 1985); for two works by different authors, (Burian 1977; Westfall 1980); for reprints (Hume [1740] 1978).


Footnotes are used for material commenting on or adding to the text and should be used only for citations of archival materials, unpublished interviews, and such sources. Within footnotes, citations to published works should refer to the author's last name and date. Do not use op. cit. Footnotes should be typed double-spaced at the end of the article following the list of references.


Full documentation appears in the references. References must list all works cited in the text, including citations in footnotes. List works alphabetically by author and, under author, by year of publication. References not cited in the text should not appear in the reference list but should be incorporated into the text or notes.

Example references:

Book, one author
Smith, John. 1990. Law and Courts Today. New York: Publisher.


Book, multiple authors
Smith, John, and Susan Brown. 1998. Law and Courts Today. New York: Publisher.


Book Chapter
Smith, John. 2003. “Law and Courts Today.” In A History of  Law and Courts, ed. Susan Brown and James Jones, pp. 94–114. New York: Publisher.


Journal Article
Smith, John. 2008. “Law and Courts Today.” Journal 61 (1): 149–64.


Unpublished Paper
Smith, John. 2011. “Law and Courts Today.”  Unpublished manuscript, University of Law.


Numbered Working Paper
Smith, John. 2010. “Law and Courts Today.” Working Paper no. 567, Think Tank, New York.

Open Access Policy

Journal of Law and Courts authors have the option to make their accepted paper freely available online immediately upon publication. The fee for Open Access is $2,500.


UK authors should note that this option cannot be used to comply with RCUK regulations for gold OA, as the University of Chicago Press requires permission for commercial reuse. UCP does comply with the RCUK regulations for green OA.

"Green" Open Access

The University of Chicago Press supports Green Open Access for all articles, as defined by the RCUK Open Access Policy, under the Press’s Guidelines for Journal Authors’ Rights.