Law Journal

Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) Law Journal Draft Policy, Call for Application & Contributors’/Authors’ Guidelines 2020

Basis for the Law Journal

Since its statutory creation to infuse  some standards  into the practice of law and to assist the Supreme Court in providing guidance to  members of the legal profession, the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) has craved to  evolve through various initiatives,  including its  regular Quarterly Assemblies and  Annual Conventions, whereat information on critical issues are discussed  and members and other professionals and development partners can express, in an analytical, well-researched, and scholarly manner, their views on significant developments, including evolving statutory and case  laws, as well as other key actions taken in pursuit of the nation’s development agenda that are impacting not only the legal community but the entire society.  

Another mechanism that is aimed at informing the Liberian society of the view of the legal community and others associated with or having interest in the law is the publication of a law journal, which has been proffered by the Executive Committee of the LNBA and endorsed by its membership.

The second basis for the vision, that is publication of a law journal, is that it will give professionals, particularly lawyers, the opportunity to explain the law, as opposed to the current state of affairs where non-lawyers and non-professionals misrepresent or distort the law, to the detriment of the legal profession and the society. In many of these instances, those espousing what they claim to be the law speak primarily from a state of ignorance, either of the law or of the facts which they seek to confuse with, or infuse into, the law.

As a first step in the actualization of the above-mentioned vision, the leadership of the LNBA set up two important bodies:  an Advisory Board, headed by a Chairman; and an Editorial Team, headed by an Editor-in-Chief. The former has the responsibility of promulgating policies that will guide the process of publication, whilst the latter has the responsibility of implementing the policies established by the former. However, from time to time, the Editorial Team shall advance suggestions to inform the policy considerations of the Advisory Board. In the performance of the functions which are delegated to it, the Editorial Team is clothed with the authority of soliciting articles, literary works, views, materials, and opinions meeting publishable and scholarly standards. In addition, the Editorial Team has the responsibility of editing all of the submissions tendered to it for publication, as a means of ensuring the accuracy, analytical and scholarly approach to the issues and thoroughness of the research relied upon by the writers. Moreover, the Journal will also serve as a medium through which the Opinions of the Supreme Court and rulings and decisions of lower courts which are of grave importance to the nation and the legal community may be analyzed and critiqued.

It is with the foregoing background that we invite, on behalf of the Advisory Board and the  Editorial Team, articles, manuscripts and other academic papers and materials from colleagues of the LNBA, professors and other persons desirous of espousing on topics of a legal nature, or topics having impacts on the legal community and which are of current interest. As we look forward to publishing the first issue of the Journal,, we trust that submissions will be forth-coming.

It is intended that the LNBA Law Journal will be both a periodic print and an electronic publication of the Bar. The electronic version will be published on the LNBA’s website. The readership which the LNBA Law Journal  seeks to attract and appeal to primarily includes the Liberian legal community and the Liberia populace, as well as cross-continental persons trained and engaged in the practice of law,  especially lawyers, judges, law professors, development experts, policy makers, justice reformers, government officials, and professionals whose contributions border on law and development.

The Nature, Coverage and Specifics of Contributions for Publication in the LNBA Law Journal:

 General Call for Submission

The  Team will give due attention to, amongst other things, solicited (and unsolicited) articles, essays and observations of the implications of laws (statutory, administrative, regulatory, etc.) and case decisions of the Supreme Court of Liberia, past and current. The preferred contributions to the Journal shall be legal scholarship bordering on promotion, protection and development of the rule of law covering all areas of the law, including elections; immigration; dual citizenship; constitutional, civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights; transitional justice – retribution, reparation; amnesty; etc. The Journal shall also target professionally researched, balanced and objective critiques of Supreme Court decisions and opinions, legislative proceedings and executive policies and actions, which underpin Liberia’s public, political and economic governance. Also, contributions/observations about the consistency or inconsistency of legal precedents within Liberian jurisprudence are encouraged. (In this particular paragraph café must be exercised on the use of the commas, especially as it relates to the listing of things.)

The Objectives of the Journal

The objectives of the journal are: 

  1. To propagate legal debates and promote constructive legal critiques;
  2. To preserve and advance academic freedom and freedom of thoughts and expression;
  3. To serve as an avenue for the cross fertilization of ideas through frank, evidence-based and informed exchanges expressed through scholarly articles;
  4. To solicit and disseminate legal views on various legal matters underpinning Liberia’s social-economic and political governance ; and
  5. To advance the rule of law by creating a platform that harnesses experience sharing and scholarly debates on the independence of the judiciary, due process, transparency of administration, anti-corruption, and transitional justice.

Contributions to the LNBA Law Journal shall be solicited predominantly from legal scholars and practitioners who are members of the LNBA. This shall include faculty members and visiting lecturers/professors of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. However, external contributions from all spheres or other experts are also welcome. 

All articles must be submitted via e-mail to lnbalawjournal@gmail.com and should be attached as a Word or plain text document. 

All prospective contributors are urged to carefully consult the submission guidelines and editorial standards available at www.lnba.org.lr before submitting any contribution(s).   The deadline for submissions is 30th of April A.D. 2020 at the precise hour of 11.59 p.m. Only submissions received by this date will be considered for publication in the Journal’s debut edition, scheduled to be published in the first few weeks of May, 2020. Submissions which are received after the stated deadline shall, if they meet the required professional, academic and scholarly standards, be eligible for publication in future issues of the Journal.

Further submission information:

The Journal accepts the following types of manuscripts or legal scholarship:

1.       Short and/or long articles between 3,000 and 15,000 words, including footnotes.

2.       Manuscript with provision of an abstract is encouraged.

3.       Contributors are to use the Blue Book referencing/citation style.

The Editorial Team of the LNBA Law Journal comprises the following members:

  1. Cllr.  Mark M. M. Marvey                    Editor-in-Chief
  2. Atty. Philip Wesseh                              Dep. Editor-in-Chief
  3. Cllr. J. Johnny Momoh                         Editor
  4. Cllr. Ruth Jappah                                 Editor
  5. Cllr. Sayma Syrenius  Cephus               Editor
  6. Cllr. J. Awia Vankan                            Editor
  7. Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson                       Editor
  8. Cllr. Mark Bedor-Wleh Freeman          Editor
  9. Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala                          Editor
  10. Atty. Larmin Kpargoi                          Editor
  11. Atty. Aloysius  Toe                              Editor
  12. Atty. Kunkunyon Wleh                       Editor
  13. Atty. Paul Yeenie Harry                       Editor
  14. Atty. Alvin Teage Jallon                       Editor

The Editorial Team of the LNBA Law Journal is supported by an eleven-member Advisory Board which comprises the following members:

  1. Ret. Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, III
  2. Ret. Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott
  3. Ret. Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper
  4. Ret. Associate Justice George E. Henries
  5. Ret. Associate Justice Laveli Supuwood
  6. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine
  7. Cllr. Seward Cooper
  8. Cllr. Calos Smith
  9. Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh
  10. Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner
  11. Atty. Sandra P. Howard

Qualities we look for when evaluating which contributions to publish:

1. Informed by “Expertise” (Qualification, training & experience): You don’t have to be well-known to be a contributor, but you must know a lot about the subject you’re writing about.

2. Based on “Evidence” (Reliance/References): It is not enough to know your subject deeply — you have to prove it to the reader. Referring to supporting research is one good way to do this; describing relevant examples is another; while, interesting data that show or illustrate how current you are with trending issues on the subject that your contribution is based on also help.

3. Uniqueness (Original-trending): Fresh ideas and analysis of existing scholarship are rare and, no doubt, precious as well — and one of the primary objectives the Journal aims to harness is to serve as a platform that keeps our audience up-to-date with new and emerging issues within especially our legal community. We will, therefore, be excited to receive contributions with new, emerging and unique arguments or insights about various aspects of the law and law practice, specifically in Liberia.

4. “Value (Usefulness & worth): The LNBA Law Journal does not only seek to keep its readership up-to-date about happenings in the legal community in Liberia, but also aims to inspire changes in mindset, so as to trigger actions to develop existing laws and practices and generate aspiration for and acceptance of best practices culminating into profound improvement in Liberia’s laws and law practice in ways that positively impact the legal community and the Liberian society as a whole.

Overview of the Process:

The Editorial Team of the LNBA Law Journal notes that the Team will very likely receive many contributions than it can possibly publish at a time; hence, it may have to decide not to publish even good papers owing to limitations of space and time, or because they are not distinct enough from other pieces the Journal may have already published. If your contribution does not make it to publication for the edition for which the submission was done, it could be considered for subsequent publications. However, please do not hesitate to try again with another idea. The Editorial Team will be keen on ensuring that the contributions that are published are suitable and appropriate for our audience.

The editorial process may therefore be more thorough, compared to other processes, and you may be required to do many revisions. As such, the Journal may utilize various editorial tools, including spell check, grammar, sentence structure, etc. The Journal reserves the right to decide final headlines to ensure the journal is appealing; to enhance its chances of being read online and shared on social media, as well as to be used as advocacy tool or a basis for law or policy reform both in Liberia and around the world. Accordingly, we are more likely to suggest a rewrite of your original title, or revise an argument so as to help your idea reach and claim the attention of the audience it deserves.

The Journal seeks to thrive on authenticity.  It will therefore not publish pieces that do not include rigorous research and citations. This is to avoid any promotion of plagiarism. Hence, contributions shall be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, including plagiarism check using relevant software(s). The Journal will not accept contribution where at least 10% is found to be from unreferenced sources. In such instances, the author will be required to provide proper citation, indicating the source(s) of the original thoughts. Such exchanges shall be captured in track-changes and transmitted to the contributor(s) with specific advice. To the extent possible, the Journal shall endeavor to ensure that the publications reflect the viewpoint, writing and tones of the authors.

Submission Process

While full manuscripts or articles are acceptable, the Journal encourages contributors to first send an executive summary or abstract to an editor, or to the designated email address for initial consideration. If the idea is deemed fitting, the contributor will be asked to do a full submission.

Abstracts to be sent for initial considerations ought to indicate:

  1. the central idea of the article you propose to write;
  2. its value, importance, usefulness, and newness;
  3. its relevance-why  lawyers need to know about it;
  4. application of your ideas in today’s setting;
  5. your source of authority;
  6. whether it is based on any previous idea/work of yours or others;
  7. your academic, professional, or personal experiences that you intend to draw on; and
  8. a draft outline not exceeding 800 words, which clearly depicts the structure of the proposed article.

Authors’ Guide

The Journal solicits and will accept contributions from legal scholars, legal practitioners, legal researchers, policy makers, law school professors, law school students, and informed observers of Liberian law and practice. Contributions from related fields are also encouraged. In addition to original reports of research and theory, the Journal would appreciate articles that reflect promotion of the rule of law and law practice in Liberia, as well as abroad.

Review Process

All manuscripts, research, papers or articles submitted and received by the Editorial Team will be subjected to a two-stage review process.

At the first stage, receipt of all manuscripts will be acknowledged within one (1) to two (2) days.  Thereafter, all contributions will go through an initial screening process and will be read by a minimum of four members of the Editorial Team, and recommendations shall afterwards be made to the entire Team, which shall then consider the recommendations and decide which manuscripts are best responsive and fitting to the Journal’s objectives. The decisions of the Team shall be either by consensus or vote. Whatever decision is reached on the manuscripts evaluated, it shall be communicated to the contributor(s) within 24 hours. This process of the evaluation shall not exceed 30 days of the date of receipt of the manuscript.  In the event where the Editorial Team decides to consider the manuscript for possible publication, the author will be notified on any particular revision that may be required. At this initial stage, the Editorial Team shall check for compliance with font style, font size, referencing style, structure, coherence, originality, significance, consistency with Journal objectives, inclusion of abstract, etc.

During the second stage, manuscripts are considered by the full Editorial Team which, by then, would have already received written feedback based on the Editorial Team’s discussions and exchanges with the authors during the first stage. The LNBA Law Journal will also consider, for publication, manuscripts that are simultaneously being considered elsewhere. The Journal shall, however, not consider for publication any manuscripts that are currently available online or in print. At this stage, the Editorial Team shall also decide whether to publish a contribution online or in print or both. All articles or manuscripts that pass the first level of review shall be subjected to grammar check, using both editorial skills and the combined experiences of the Editorial Team, as well as a premium version of software for grammatical checks; similarly, Plagiarism Checker for Publishers shall be used to confirm validity of references and sources cited.

Below are the Journal’s Policies for preparation and submission of manuscript:

Manuscripts submitted for publication should include the following: an abstract or executive summary, a section on background and context and/or theoretical/conceptual framework, literature review, methods, findings and analysis, and discussion sections. The literature review should be relevant to the research topic and findings. All methodologies need to be clearly described and should match the research questions or stated purpose of the article or manuscript. The findings should be clear, and the arguments set forth should emerge from the analysis of the data presented in the article or manuscript. Accepted articles or manuscripts shall typically include clear implications of the research.

Essays

Essays contemplated for submission to the Journal ought to have finely honed arguments and must be focused on a particular issue or a number of related issues. Such arguments may engage with previous work and may take on a subjective point of view. Essays, therefore, ought to contain rationality, evidence, and examples to support the author’s opinion. They may also take other forms, such as expository or descriptive accounts.

Voices & Reflections

The LNBA Law Journal Team knows the importance of practical understanding of legal principles and concepts, and it is committed to bringing the voices of people engaged in various forms of the practice of law around the world to bear on Liberian jurisprudence in a positive way through regular features.  The Journal, therefore, welcomes insightful pieces written by law school students, law school professors, and others in the legal community, who are impacted through the practice of law by legal practitioners, which practice includes the decisions of Liberian courts and other quasi-judicial (administrative) bodies whose perspectives do impact or influence policy, practice, and/or research that generate positive development and strengthening of the rule of law in Liberia. The Journal cherishes the idea of bringing the voices of everyday people to the fore, in their own voices as author(s). Submissions, in this regard, must contain a detailed personal experience expressed in a narrative that weaves together ideas, situations, and particular experiences that also flag the main lessons learned.

Essential Criteria:

Significance and Impact: Manuscripts should border on problems relevant to the field of law and or law practice in Liberia. Questions should be pointed and should also have implications for addressing broader legal problems locally, nationally, or internationally. Manuscripts should seek to make contributions that identify or seek to address legal challenges and should explicitly state the contributions, whether theoretical or practical, in order to identify the populations that would most benefit from its publication, such as lawyers, judges, administrators, law professors/students, and policy makers.

Transformation/Development of the field of law/its practice in Liberia: The manuscript should push existing principles of law or their underlying ideas in a new direction, fill in a gap, or bring a new perspective to inform possible reformation of current laws and or practice.

Clarity and Style: Manuscripts must be written in English, and they must be clear, concise and understandable. As a general rule, the Journal makes every effort for all articles to be widely accessible to its audiences.

LNBA Journal Technical Guidelines on Submission:

Authors should indicate whether they are submitting their manuscript as a research article, an essay, a feature, a Voices & Reflections account, an essay, or a book review.

Formatting: The Journal will, as a rule, onlyaccept manuscripts not exceeding 15,000 words, including abstract, appendixes, footnotes, and references, and it reserves the right to return any manuscript that exceeds that length. All text must be double-spaced. Type size must be at least 12 point with 1-inch margins on all sides, and paper size should be set to 8.5 x 11, /A4 paper. Font style must be Garamond.

Authors are required to adhere to the Blue Book referencing style in addition to observing general grammatical rules, punctuations, capitalization, syntax, paragraphing, etc. In the same vein, references could be done in APA format, published by the American Psychological Association for reference and citation formats, since articles rely heavily on legal documentation, or law citation.

Each contribution must state the topic/or caption/preferred title of the work, followed by the names of the author(s)-inclusive of professional title, and an indication of the author’s qualification(s) and date. This must be followed by (where applicable) an outline/Table of Content, after which there must be an indication of Key Words. Immediately after the abstract/executive summary, authors are to provide a maximum of six key words.  

Submission Procedure: The Journal uses an electronic submission process. To submit a manuscript for consideration, kindly use: lnbalawjournal2019@gmail.com  

Thanks for going through the Policy and Guidelines. Feel free to ask any questions you may have or seek any clarifications you wish to get.

About LNBA

The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) was established on February 4, 1907 by an act of the National Legislature. The Liberian National Bar Association comprised is of lawyers, judges and law students .

How to become a member of LNBA

LNBA membership is limited to Liberians who are graduates of any recognized law school in Liberia or abroad. Such persons must have sat and passed the bar exam, and was thereafter, qualified and admitted to practice law in Liberia. Membership in this regard is in twofold, Attorneys-At-Law and Counsellors-At-Law.   For details on how to join, please click Join LNBA

Contact LNBA

The Liberian National Bar Association, Law Library Building Ashmun Street Monrovia, Liberia Tel (+231) 0886-790-450/0770790450 0880-181-341/0777-768-813 office@lnba.org.lr
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