Best Paper by a Doctoral Student

Doctoral Student

Best Paper Prize by a Doctoral Student


The prize is open only to fully paid-up members of the Society who are Doctoral students. Where a paper has more than one author, all authors eligible for membership of the Society under its rule 3 must be members, and all co-authors must be Doctoral students (whatever their discipline). The decision as to eligibility of any co-authors will be taken by the Membership Secretary, whose decision will be final. The definition of Doctoral students for the purpose of this prize is someone who is currently registered on a doctoral-level research programme. Honorary doctorates are not included.

Entry Conditions

The Paper

•   Must have been accepted for inclusion in either the main programme.

•   Must have been submitted through Oxford Abstracts one week before the start of the Conference in the relevant year (see Guidance note 1 for the deadline in the relevant year).

•   Must not have been published previously or have been accepted for publication.

•   Must not exceed 12,000 words including footnotes (figures and tables are not included in the word count).

The Author

•   Must be a fully paid-up member of the Society.

Must present an oral version of the paper at the Annual Conference either in-person or virtually. See further Guidance notes 1 and 2.


Quality, in terms of

•   Originality
•   Contribution to scholarship
•   Clarity and style


At the end of the Conference, each Subject Convenor may nominate not more than one paper by a Doctoral Student from those submitted to their Section as above.

In deciding which paper to nominate (if any), Convenors and Chairs must apply the criteria outlined above and their academic judgement will be final. Convenors and Chairs are not obliged to nominate any paper, even where there are eligible ones in their section/session.

Where a Convenor or Chair is unable to judge, for example, where there is a conflict of interest, he or she will nominate another member of the Section to act as an alternate (see further Guidance note 3).

The judges will be the President of the Society, the Subject Sections Secretary, and a nominee of the Editors of Legal Studies. Where any is unable to act, the Executive Committee may nominate an alternate. There is no link to publication in Legal Studies arising from this award, but any winner would be welcome to submit their paper for consideration by the Society’s journal.

Judging will be based on the latest version of the paper submitted through Oxford Abstracts one week before the start of the Conference (see Guidance Note 1).

The Prize carries a £300 monetary award and may, in the judges’ discretion, be shared between two or more papers. 

The judges reserve the right not to present the award and neither they nor the Society will enter into correspondence about the decisions.
Where the author meets the eligibility criteria, the author may be nominated and considered for both the Best Paper Prize and the Best Paper by a Doctoral Student prize.

Where a paper eligible for this prize wins the Best Paper Prize, the judges may at their discretion award the prize for Best Paper by a Doctoral Student to a different nominated paper.

The judges may, at their discretion, announce a shortlist of candidates with the winner to be announced over summer.

Any issues relating to the application of the entry conditions and criteria for the prize shall be determined by the Subject Sections Secretary and the President whose joint decisions will be final.

Guidance Notes

1. In 2023, the deadline is Friday 23rd June 2023.

2. The author of a paper that satisfies these conditions will be deemed to have consented to that paper being considered for the prize unless they indicate expressly to the contrary.

3. A conflict of interest includes, but is not limited to, where a Convenor, Chair or Judge is a colleague or PhD supervisor of an author.

If you do have any queries please email Sarah Byrne on or call +44 (0) 1904 702165.

Please contact the Secretariat:

SLS 2024 Conference Secretariat
c/o Mosaic Events
Tower House
Mill Lane
Askham Bryan
YO23 3FS

Tel +44 (0) 1904 702165


Please note the SLS Treasurer and SLS web team are unable to answer questions relating to the conference.

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