About this Network


H-Law is H-Net's network on the history of all legal traditions: common-law, civil-law, and all other legal systems.

I. The H-Law Network: Scope, Content, Purpose

Welcome to H-Law, a network of individuals interested in constitutional and legal history. H-Law is an initiative of H-Net and is sponsored by the American Society for Legal History. H-Law solicits discussion of scholarship and of teaching legal and constitutional issues. The network is only as good as its membership. Subscribers should contribute questions about legal and constitutional history and respond to the questions of others.

All submissions must be approved by the editor, who will reject personal attacks on other contributors, irrelevant material, or items that do not further the scholarly dialogue. Complaints raised by subscribers that rejected postings do "further the scholarly dialogue" will be reviewed by the editorial board, who will advise the editor. The decisions of the editor and editorial board will be final.

H-Law’s new network format now offers opportunities for of digital collaboration utilizing built in platforms and multiple forms of media.

The senior editor of H-Law is Charles L. Zelden, Professor of History, Division of Humanities, Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. He can be e-mailed at zelden@nova.edu.


H-Law posts material relevant to the intellectual, professional, and scholarly concerns of legal and constitutional historians. Contributions should be civil and add to the scholarly discourse on legal and constitutional history. H-Law will not post material which is repetitiously polemical. Contributions must ask or answer historical questions rather than press or pose purely legal and political questions. (We would, for example, entertain discussion on the framers' intentions on original intent, on its uses since the framing, and what the framers' original intent or understanding of some subject was. But we would not post an argument about whether current legal or constitutional controversies ought to be decided according to original intent.) The editor will exercise discretion on these matters in consultation with the editorial board as necessary. 

H-Law, like the other H-Net networks, commissions and publishes reviews of recent books of interest to subscribers; H-Law also selectively cross-posts reviews of such books that have appeared on other H-Net networks and the Law and Politics Book Review list-serv. Editors will indicate in the subject line the original network or list that posted the review. H-Law welcomes comments on any published H-Law review and other cross-posted reviews, so long as these comments abide by the general policies governing postings to H-Law. 

At their own discretion, editors may refer proposed postings to the editorial board for review.  Once a post is sent to the editorial board for review, the board will have one week (seven days) to respond.  The only exception will be time-sensitive conference or event announcements.  Editors will mark those in the subject line. Postings that concern American Society of Legal History (ASLH) policy will always be referred to the H-Law board and can be referred to the relevant ASLH officer or committee chair for comment if the H-Law board elects to do so. 

The editors reserve the right to reject or to request revisions of any submission for any reason. No post will be altered beyond simple copyediting and formatting for publication, without the author’s consent. 

The editors reserve the right to adjust the timing and pace of publication for editorial or technical reasons. 

Editors reviewing a contribution where the author interweaves a reply among excerpts from previous messages will return the contribution to its author for revision. Quotations should be integrated into the text as in scholarly writing. 

All contributions to H-Law must include the author’s name and affiliation or an indication that the author is an independent scholar.  The author’s email will be included unless the author asks that it not be published. 

H-Law also publishes announcements of interest to historians. These include, but are not limited to: 

1) ASLH announcements 
2) Other conference announcements and calls for papers 
3) The H-Net job guide
4) The NCC Washington update 
5) Reviews posted to the H-Review website selected by the book review editors 
6) Bibliographic and website announcements 
7) Updates on archives, libraries and museums 
8) Other H-Announce postings of special interest to legal and constitutional historians
9) Candidates' statements for ASLH elections. 
10) Obituaries of legal historians and lawyers

H-Law will not publish commercial advertisements or political comment or endorsements. This does not preclude announcements of subscribers' forthcoming publications. The network will not post endorsements of candidates in the elections of professional associations, although it will inform subscribers when it is brought to the editors' attention that legal historians have been nominated, elected, or appointed to important positions in professional associations. H-Law will not publicize or run threads on direct action such as strikes. 

In all cases, the decision of the editors and the editorial board will be final.

II. Editors.

H-Law is edited by field experts approved by the network board and certified by H-Net’s Executive Council.  The editors serve two-year renewable terms and rotate their duties. Editors are listed in the Network Staff List linked from the network’s front page. The editors will solicit postings through the Commons, will approve new subscriptions, will handle routine inquiries, and manage submissions. Anyone with suggestions about what H-Law can and might do is invited to send in ideas by writing to the editorial address. The editors will solicit and post newsletter-type information (calls for conferences, for example, or listings of sessions at conventions.) Like all H-Net networks, H-Law is moderated to edit out material that, in the editors' opinion, is not germane to the network mission, involves technical matters (such as subscription management requests), is inflammatory, or violates evolving, yet common, standards of Internet etiquette. Please read section III below for details about ownership, style, formatting, and content of your messages. H-Net's procedure for resolving disputes over editorial practices is Article II, Section 2.02 of our council policies, located at:


For a list of current editors, visit: https://networks.h-net.org/node/16794/staffpage

III. Communicating Through the Network.

A. Copyright notice. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. H-Net considers all messages posted to its forums to be a form of publication. Unless otherwise arranged with H-Net, all contributions to H-Law are subject to H-Net’s Terms of Use and its policies concerning copyright and intellectual property, Art. III, Sec. 3.01-3.08 of the H-Net Council Policies. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of H-Net's terms of use. Users of the site verify that they are authorized by copyright holders to submit content to H-Net for publication according to those terms of use, including the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License linked here http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/. Unless otherwise indicated, reviews commissioned by H-Net and published under its imprint are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

A full copy of the H-Net Council Policies and Bylaws and other important information may be found at: http://www.h-net.org/about/.

B. Contributions: The tone and content of H-Law depends directly on subscribers. The editors want to encourage lively, informal, productive discussion and exchange of information. To that end, we ask that contributions be considerate of the needs of a busy audience of scholars, many of whom must pay for their access to the internet. A number of excellent guides to online behavior and style are available on the internet and we invite you consult them.

-- ALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE NETWORK MUST BE SIGNED. If your profile on the H-Net Commons is not filled out with a valid name and affiliation or this information is not provided in the body of your posting the editors will delay posting until authorship and email address are confirmed.

-- CONTENT: Editors retain the right to review material for its pertinence, tone, style, and relevance to the network's mission. Ad hominems, unattributed quotations or innuendo, private messages forwarded for posting without permission, or messages that violate the norms of civility and professional courtesy will be rejected. Persistent violators can be removed as subscribers to the network.  H-Net permanently archives its content on the H-Net Commons.  Do not submit material that you consider to be of a private nature or that you would not want available to future readers.

-- STYLE: the default editorial style for discussion postings is that of a letter to the editor. Your remarks can be crafted to suit the tone of an existing discussion thread, but in any case they should address the editor and not make direct personal references to others, except where you are replying directly to a simple query (e.g., "you can find this information in Webster's Third International Dictionary."). Avoid excessive quotation of messages you refer or reply to.

-- FORMAT: While you can submit your posts to the Commons using various fonts, styles and formatting these may be edited by the editor for uniformity and readability.

IV. Technical Information.

When you subscribe to the Commons, H-Net will send you a confirmation message containing important information about managing your subscription. For online help with your subscription see http://networks.h-net.org/help-desk, especially the “Getting Started” section. These guides will help you modify your notifications, unsubscribe from the network, change the e-mail address associated with your profile, and use your “My H-Net” page effectively. If you still have questions after reading the guides please email help@mail.h-net.msu.edu.

V. The H-Law Network Site

The H-Law network site contains the following required information and services:

- The archives of the H-Law network discussions and other uploaded content

- The network's official documents: its about page, lists of board members and editors, contact information, and other founding and information documents.

- Hypertext links to resources in our subject: teaching materials, research archives, other networks.

VI. Advisory Board.

H-Law's daily activities are managed by the editors. Its long-term policies are developed by the advisory board. If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact the current editor. Board members referee incoming articles, reviews, and teaching materials; establish basic subscription restrictions and policy; advise the editors on disputes among editors and subscribers; monitor the network and make active contributions to discussion; and serve as the subscribers' voice in H-Net affairs. You are encouraged to contact any or all of the editorial board members with ideas and concerns about H-Law.

For a list of the current advisory board, visit: https://networks.h-net.org/node/16794/staffpage

VII. Our Parent Organization: H-Net

H-Net is an international consortium of scholars in the humanities and social sciences that creates and coordinates electronic networks, using a variety of media, and with a common objective of advancing humanities and social science teaching and research. H-Net was created to provide a positive, supportive, egalitarian environment for the friendly exchange of ideas and scholarly resources.

The goals of H-NET networks are to enable scholars to easily communicate current research and teaching interests; to discuss new approaches, methods and tools of analysis; to share information on electronic databases; and to test new ideas and share comments on the literature in their fields.

H-Net's Council Policies and Bylaws, along with a list of its officers and committees, is available at: http://www.h-net.org/about/

Among H-Net's many services are:

- Book and software reviews: timely, exhaustive, authoritative, professional, fast. Mailed through our lists and stored in searchable, printable, retrievable format on our site at http://www.h-net.org/reviews.

- Job guide postings: at regular intervals, H-Net offers employment information in a broad array of fields in the humanities and social sciences. https://www.h-net.org/jobs/home.php

- H-Net calendar: announcements of conferences, papers, and professional activities, archived and searchable at our web site. You can visit our site and sample these and other services, at: http://www.h-net.org/announce



E-mail: help@mail.h-net.msu.edu

Postal mail:
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East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 432-5134
Fax: (517) 884-6994

Executive Director: Prof. Peter Knupfer
Michigan State University
E-Mail: peter@mail.h-net.msu.edu