The Rwanda Law Journal is an open-access peer-reviewed journal that aims to offer a critical analysis of Rwandan law and practice, or a comparative analysis of Rwandan law with other laws from other jurisdictions with the ultimate objective to improve on the Law and the practice of Law in Rwanda and beyond.

The journal was established in 2018 and is affiliated to the Institute of Legal Practise and Development (ILPD) in collaboration with the University of Rwanda-School of Law.

The Rwanda Law Journal does not charge article processing fees nor does it pay authors for submission of their articles.

II. Types of Articles the Journal is accepting

The Editorial Board shall determine the type of written works that shall be accepted for publication. Given the goals of the Rwanda Law Journal, two types are now recommended: lead articles and case notes/commentaries.

a) LeadArticles

Lead articles shall focus on relevant issues in Rwandan law and beyond. These articles shall revolve around discussions by the authors in an attempt to explain complex legal issues that the legal community is facing. They can range from administrative, judicial, legislative topics as well discussions about the government, political and various other topics that are relevant to the growth and development of the Rwandan and other legal infrastructures. The purpose of the lead articles is to foster debate or informative critical analysis on the current position of the Rwandan legal system or any other legal system and to encourage an open discussion about relevant issues, with the goal of strengthening the sector and educating others in the field.

b) CaseNotes/Commentaries

Commentaries shall focus on individual judicial opinions issued by the higher courts. However, these commentaries shall do more than simply discuss the opinion of the Court. They should be of analytical nature and written in such a way as to do the following: explain

the case or controversy brought before the Court, discuss the decision of the Court, analyse and explain why the Court made the decision that it did, predict the impact on future cases or laws that the decision shall have, and possibly either agree or disagree with the decision of the Court through an analytical and comparative discussion using previous decisions, laws, or other information. The purpose of the commentaries is to analyse and discuss judicial decisions in a way that may help contextualize decisions in the broader legal framework, or possibly influence future actions on law or cases, or how cases are argued in the future.

III. Guidelines for Submitting Articles

  1. a)  AuthorsareinvitedtosubmitarticlesthatfallwithinthescopeoftheRwandaLaw Journal.

  2. b)  Rwanda Law Journal receives submissions with the understanding that the content is original, unpublished material and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere, whether in print or in electronic form.

  3. c)  ArticlesshouldbewritteninclearUKEnglish.IfEnglishisnothis/herfirstlanguage, It is advised that his/her manuscript be professionally edited prior to submission. This may help to ensure that the content of his/her article is fully understood by journal editors and reviewers. However, he/she should note that language editing does not guarantee that his/her manuscript shall be accepted for publication.

  4. d)  When submitting articles, authors should submit two separate documents. The first document is a “Submission Page.” This document shall include all of the author’s contact information, which is the author’s full names, author’s physical address, author’s phone number, author’s email address, and the author’s occupation. The “Submission Page” shall also include a footnote about the author to include in the article. This footnote is to give a brief explanation about the author and their work as to familiarize readers with the author when reading the article.

    The second document to be submitted is the actual article. It is required that when the article is submitted all identifying features have been removed and it is completely anonymous. The only persons that shall be aware of the author’s identity prior to peer review and publication are those in charge of receiving submissions at the general secretariat and distributing them to the peer-reviewers.

  5. e)  Theseconddocumentsubmittedtheactualarticleistobeformattedpreciselyto the guidelines set forth by the journal

  1. f)  The submission file has to be sent electronically in an editable word-processed computer file to facilitate the work of reviewers and editors. shall

  2. g)  The article title should be concise, with a maximum of 100 characters.

  3. h)  ThestructureofsubmissionsshallincludeAbstract,Introduction,thematicsections, subsections or sub subsections with numerical designations, conclusion and cited

    references (Bibliography).

  4. i)  Texts must be saved in a simple format, i.e. without automatic hyphenation, automatic

    indexing of section headings, with a consistent script, with an unjustified right margin, and no activated hyperlinks or other macros but use non-automatic Arabic numerals or hyphens instead.

  5. j)  The abstract should be Italicised and be a single paragraph of not more than 350 words.

  6. k)  The abstract should summarize the article’s main issues under discussion, the methodology used, and the contribution made by the article. Once the article is accepted for publication, this abstract shall also be added to the free search zone of the

    Online databases.

  7. l)  To boost the search engine optimization of his/her article, the author should provide a

    maximum of five keywords that describe the content of his/her contribution. Each key

    term is expected to have a single word, or a maximum of two words in a single term.

  8. m)  The text of the article is to be 1.5 spaced and written in 12-point font in Californian


  9. n)  Theauthorshallalsoemployfootnotesinsteadofendnoteswhenwritingcitations.The

    footnotes shall also be written with Californian FB font, but shall be in size 10-point

    font and single-spaced

  10. o)  Authorsshouldmakesurethatallchangeshavebeenacceptedandturnoffthetrack


  11. p)  Iftherearenotes,authorsshouldinsertfootnotes(notesarenotallowedin(sub)titles)

  12. q)  Short quotations up to 3 lines should appear in quotation marks in the text with a

    superscript footnote reference, while quotations of more than 3 lines should be indented from the left and be physically separate from the paragraph to indicate that it is to be set as a separate block of text.

  13. r)  The original capitalization, spelling, etc. of the quotation should be preserved. The author should place any change made to a quoted text between square brackets unless he uses an ellipsis to indicate omissions within the quoted text: (...). If he wishes to

add specific emphasis to part of the quoted text, this should be done by the use of

italics, and (emphasis added)should be added to the source note.

  1. s)  Only the headings 1 and 2 should be capitalized while the next ones should be italicised. The Rwanda Law Journal proposes the following heading levels for example:

    1.1.1. Key definitions

  2. t)  Consistency and accuracy are two of the most important rules to be followed in the citation of legal authorities. To help authors achieve these, they are required to use a form of legal citation called OSCOLA (Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities) in their footnotes and bibliographies.

    The latest version of OSCOLA and additional rules for the citation of sources can be found at: Alternatively, authors can contact the library staff at ILPD for assistance).

  3. u)  Thearticlesshallnotexceed12,000words(or30pages),andcommentariesonjudicial decisions shall not exceed 5,000 words (or 10 pages).

IV. Explanation of Peer Review Process

The articles and commentaries to be published in the Rwanda Law Journal shall be selected based on a Peer-Review Process. The Peer-Review Process ensures that the best articles and cases notes/commentaries are being selected for publication and the process is free from any bias.

To begin the process, articles shall be sent to the person that is in charge of accepting submissions. He/she shall be the only person that is aware of the identity of the author prior to final selection and this person shall have no role in the reviewing process. The Chief editor or designated member of the Editorial Board shall then check to ensure that all identifying features of the author have been removed from the document and shall send out invitations to individuals that he or she believes would be appropriate reviewers. Potential reviewers shall consider the invitation against their own expertise, conflicts of interest, and availability; they

can accept or decline, and if possible, when declining, they might also suggest alternative reviewers.

It should be noted that the Chief editor reserves the right to reject articles without review where it is clear that they are unsuitable for the journal. In this circumstance, the Chief shall have no obligation to explain the reason.

The selected reviewers shall then set aside time to read the article several times. The first readthrough of the article is used to form an initial impression of the work, and if major problems are found at this stage, then the reviewer may feel comfortable rejecting the paper without further work. If there are no major problems, then the reviewer shall read the paper several more times, taking notes along the way so as to build a detailed point-by-point review. The reviewer’s feedback is then submitted back to the Chief editor with comments and a recommendation to accept it or reject it, or with a request for revision flagged as either major or minor before it is reconsidered for publication (a form to be used is attached).

The Editorial Board shall then consider all the returned reviews before making an overall decision on each article. This decision shall be based on the comments sent in by the reviewers.

The Chief Editor or any other designated member of the Editorial Board shall then send decisions to the authors indicating whether their article has been accepted, declined, or shall be reconsidered with revisions; these decisions shall also include any relevant comments that the author can use for future work. The reviewers that wrote the comments shall be kept anonymous. Any article that is to be reconsidered following revisions shall go through another full round of anonymous peer review upon resubmission.

Once it has been determined which articles shall be published, and any suggested revisions have been completed by the authors, the articles may go through editing by the Editorial Board members for compliance with style and citation guidelines, spelling and grammar, and other non-substantive requirements to ensure the highest possible quality works are published in the Rwanda Law Journal.

The Editorial Board shall then determine the order of articles for that edition of the journal, and once complete shall send the final version of the edition to the publisher if a hard copy is to be published, or shall send the edition to ILPD to be placed on the website.

The Chief Editor or members of the Editorial Board may occasionally submit their own manuscripts for possible publication in the journal. In these cases, the peer review process

shall be managed by alternative members of the Board and the submitting Chief Editor/Board member shall have no involvement in the decision-making process.

V. Different aspects of the article to be examined by the peer reviewers

There are three different aspects of the article that the peer reviewers are to examine: the originality of the article, the quality of the research presented in the article, and the quality of the analysis and examination of legal issues. The following has to be considered:

  •   When examining the originality of the article the reviewer is to look to the novelty and relevance of the topic discussed in the article and the interest level that the article shall garner from readers.

  •   When examining the quality of research section, the reviewer is to look to the strength of the cases and legal precedent used by the author and the strength of the author’s interpretation of the legal support and their theory pulled from those sources.

  •   When examining the quality of analysis and examination of legal issues, the reviewer is to look to the strength of the title, abstract, and introduction; the strength of the evidence used; the style of the author’s writing and the clarity of the article; and the strength of the conclusion section.

    The specific things that each reviewer is to look for are listed below:

    1. Originality


    In this section reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article:

  •   Originality of author’s work;

  •   Novelty of author’s discussion;

  •   Whether the novelty/creativity of the author’s discussion shall encourage rebuttal

    articles in future editions; and

  •   Relevance of author’s discussion to the current focus of the Rwandan legal community.


In this section reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article:

  •   Whether the article shall be interesting to members of the relevant field;

  •   Whether the article shall be interesting to a wide array of readers; and

  •   Whether the article shall be interesting enough to encourage a debate via rebuttal

    articles in future editions.

2. Quality of research


In this section, reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article: Variety of cases and support used in the discussion;

The strength of those sources in supporting the points made by the author;
The strength of the analytical and comparative discussion of these sources; and The novelty in which the author uses these sources to further the discussion.


In this section, reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article:

  •   The strength of the author’s interpretation of the sources used;

  •   The strength of the author’s theory based on the sources used; and

  •   The ability of the author to interpret differing sources through analytical and

    comparative methods to support their theory and further the discussion.

3. Quality of analysis and examination of legal issues

Title, abstract, and introduction

In this section reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article:

  •   The concise nature and clarity of the title;

  •   The ability of the title to summarize the article’s main points into a few words;

  •   The ability of the abstract to briefly summarize the article’s main points and the

    reasons for writing the article; and

  •   The ability of the introduction to clearly and concisely address each of the article’s main points without burdening the reader with the finer details.


In this section, reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article: The variety of evidence the author uses in their discussion;

The strength of the evidence used by the author;
The ability of the author to make it clear what support is being used; The strength of the author’s citation skills; and
The ability of the author to effectively use footnotes.

Style and organization

In this section reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article:

  •   The ease in understanding what the author is trying to say;

  •   The ease in following the logical path of the author’s discussion; and

  •   The author’s use of support in a way that makes the article smoothly flow from one point to another.


    In this section reviewers shall be looking at the following when reviewing the article:

  •   The ability of the author to briefly summarize the main points of the article;

  •   The author’s use of the conclusion section to make one final overarching point about

    the importance of what has been discussed in the article; and

  •   The author’s use of the conclusion section in answering any questions that may have

    gone unanswered in the rest of the article.

VI. Copyright ownership

The Authors submitting an article do so on the understanding that if accepted for publication, copyright of the article shall be assigned to Rwanda Law Journal and the Institute of Legal Practice and Development as the publisher of the journal. A completed and signed consent to publish form, which shall be sent by the Chief Editor, must accompany each paper. By signing the form, the author(s) states to accept to assign the copyrights to the Institute. In assigning his/their copyright they are not forfeiting their rights to use their paper elsewhere after

publication in the journal. This may be done provided that the journal is acknowledged as the original source.

VII. Privacy Statement

a) WheretheEditorialTeamdeemsitnecessary,theeditorsmayremoveprecisereference to names of individuals in case commentaries.

b) The names and email addresses submitted to and published in Rwanda Law Journal shall not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

VIII. Disclaimer

Opinions expressed in articles, case notes/commentaries and sharing thoughts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board, or the publisher of the journal. By signing the consent to publish form, the author (s) certifies that his/her paper contains no matter that is scandalous, obscene, libelous, or otherwise contrary to law.