Best Paper Prize and Best Paper Prize by Doctoral Student

Best Paper Prize

Best Paper Prize

The Best Paper Prize, can be awarded to academics at any stage of their career, and is open to those presenting papers individually or within a panel.  The Prize carries a £300 monetary award, and the winning paper will, subject to the process of review and publisher’s conditions, appear in Legal Studies.

Best Paper Prize by a Doctoral Student

In 2020 the Society launched the Best Paper by a Doctoral Student Prize, which is open to currently registered doctoral students who are members of the Society. The Prize is £300. 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.

The definition of Doctoral students for the purpose of this prize is someone currently registered on a doctoral-level research programme. Honorary doctorates are not included.

Entry Conditions for both Prizes

The Paper

•   Must have been accepted by the relevant Subject Section Convenor for inclusion in the programme.

•   Must have been submitted through Oxford Abstracts by Friday 23 August 2024.

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

•   Must not exceed 12,000 words including footnotes (figures and tables do not contribute to the overall 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.

•   Must agree to publish the paper in Legal Studies if awarded the prize (subject to the normal process of review and the publisher’s standard conditions). NB: This requirement does not apply to the Best Paper Prize by a doctoral student.

•   Papers submitted by members of the editorial board for Legal Studies are ineligible.


The abstract must have quality, in terms of

•   Originality
•   Contribution to scholarship
•   Clarity and style


At the end of the Conference, each Subject Section Convenor may nominate not more than one paper from those submitted to their Section as above. NB. A convenor may nominate one paper to each the Best Paper Prize and the Best Paper Prize by a Doctoral student.

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

Where a Convenor 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.

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 for the deadline in the relevant year).

The Prize carries a £300 monetary award and may, in the judges’ discretion, be shared between two or more papers. The winning paper(s) will, subject to the usual process of review and publisher’s conditions, appear in Legal Studies.

A shortlist will be announced following the conference with the prize announced shortly thereafter.

The judges reserve the right not to present the award and neither they nor the Society will enter into correspondence about the decisions.

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 decisions will be final.

Guidance Notes

1. In 2024, the deadline is Friday 23 August 2024.

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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