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Submissions: African Human Rights Law Journal


Contributions should conform to the Contributor's guide and should preferably be e-mailed to:

Isabeau de Meyer
Publication Manager
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please note that the editors will only consider submissions that have not already been submitted for publication or published elsewhere.
Submissions should be no longer than 10 000 words (footnotes included).

pdf-icon xsmall Download the PULP style guidelines for contributors

It may also be posted to:

The Editors
African Human Rights Law Journal
Centre for Human Rights
Faculty of Law
University of Pretoria
Private Bag X20
Hatfield 0028

All correspondence, books for review and other communications should be sent to the same address.

 Contributor's guide

pdf-icon xsmall Download the PULP style guidelines for contributors

  • The submission must be original.
  • The African Human Rights Law Journal does not charge article processing fees of any kind, hence no waiver policy need exist.
  • The AHRLJ is published 2x annually with an average of 24x articles per annum.
  • The submission should not already have been published or submitted elsewhere.
  • The copyright of articles are retained by the author/s who also retain publishing rights.
  • Articles that do not conform to the African Human Rights Law Journal’s style guidelines will be rejected out of hand.
  • The African Human Rights Law Journal has a policy of screening for plagiarism. AHRLJ uses Turnitin to detect plagiarism prior to considering a submitted article for review. Articles not adhering to the AHRLJ's policy that verbatim quotes must be clearly indicated as such are requested to revise their articles in light of this requirement.
  • Papers should average between 5 000 and 10 000 words (including footnotes) in length.
  • If the manuscript is not sent by e-mail, it should be submitted as hard copy and in electronic format (MS Word).
  • The manuscript should be typed in Arial, 12 point (footnotes 10 point), 1½ spacing.
  • Authors of contributions are to supply their university degrees, professional qualifications and professional or academic status.
  • Authors should supply a summary of their contributions of not more than 300 words.
  • Footnotes must be numbered consecutively. Footnote numbers should be in superscript without any surrounding brackets. The manuscript will be submitted to a referee for evaluation. The editors reserve the right to change manuscripts to make them conform with the house style, to improve accuracy, to eliminate mistakes and ambiguity, and to bring the manuscript in line with the tenets of plain legal language.

The following general style pointers should be followed:

  • First reference to books: eg UO Umozurike The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1997) 21.
  • First reference to journal articles: eg C Anyangwe ‘Obligations of states parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (1998) 10 African Journal of International and Comparative Law 625.
  • Subsequent references to footnote in which first reference was made: eg Patel & Walters (n 34 above) 243.
  • Use UK English.
  • Proper nouns used in the body of the article are written out in full the first time they are used, but abbreviated the next time, eg the United Nations (UN).
  • Words such as ‘article’ and ‘section’ are written out in full in the text.
  • Where possible, abbreviations should be used in footnotes, eg ch; para; paras; art; arts; sec; sees. No full stops should be used. Words
    in a foreign language should be italicised. Numbering should be done as follows:
  • Smart single quotes should be used; if something is quoted within a quotation, double quotation marks should be used for that section.
  • Quotations longer than 30 words should be indented and in 10 point, in which case no quotation marks are necessary.
  • The names of authors should be written as follows: FH Anant.
  • Where more than one author are involved, use ‘&’: eg FH Anant & SCH Mahlangu.
  • Dates should be written as follows (in text and footnotes): 28 November 2001.
  • Numbers up to ten are written out in full; from 11 use numerals.
  • Capitals are not used for generic terms ‘constitution’, but when a specific country’s constitution is referred to, capitals are used ‘Constitution’ .
  • Official titles are capitalised: eg ‘the President of the Constitutional Court’ .
  • Refer to the Journal or www.chr.up.ac.za for additional aspects of house style.


  • In footnotes (first reference): CH Heyns Human rights law in Africa (2004) 333 (Note: title not in initial caps; author’s name not given, only initials; no space between initials)
  • In footnotes (subsequent references): Heyns (n 2 above) 350 (no initial)
  • In bibliography: Donelly, J (1993) International human rights Westview Press: Boulder
  • Two authors: CH Heyns & F Viljoen; in bibliography Heyns, CH & Viljoen, F
  • More than two authors: in text CH Heyns et al; in bibliography Heyns, CH; Viljoen, F & Murray, R
  • When referring to translated source: WD Ross (ed) The works of Aristotle trans DW Thompson (1910)


  • In footnotes (first reference): E Bondzie-Simpson ‘A critique of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (1998) 31 Harvard Law Journal 643
  • In footnotes (subsequent references): Bondzie-Simpson (n 3 above) 644
  • See above for two or more authors
  • In bibliography: Bondzie-Simpson, E ‘A critique of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (1998) 31 Harvard Law Journal 643


  • In footnotes (first reference): D Hendrych ‘Constitutionalism in the Czech Republic’ in J Priban & J Young (eds) The rule of law in Central Europe (1999) 222
  • In footnotes (subsequent references): D Brown ‘A critique of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ in Priban & Young (n 3 above) 350
  • In bibliography: Hendrych, D ‘Constitutionalism in the Czech Republic’ in Priban, J and Young, J (eds) (1999) The rule of law in Central Europe Aldenshot: Dartmouth


Unpublished: CH Heyns ‘Civil disobedience in South Africa …’ unpublished PhD thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, 1992 169


‘The ordeal of children’ The Star 29 September 2000 3


  • First reference (in text): name in full - International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); subsequent references in text: ICESCR (the ICESCR)
  • But ICCPR
  • First reference (in text): UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR Committee); subsequent references in text: ESCR Committee
  • First reference (in text): Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Universal Declaration) (not UDHR)
  • General Comment 14


Act 13 of 1992 (not No), thereafter ‘the Act’
Industrial Relations Act 8 of 2000 secs 12(1) & (3), 14(2) & 15(1)


The title of a freestanding report, paper or statement should be enclosed in quotation marks, not italicised.  The same goes for the title of a webpage.  However, the name of an interactive online database – like the UN Population Division’s World population prospects: 2004 revision population database – is more analogous to a book title and should be italicised.


E-mail messages and telephone calls should be cited as below:

    E-mail from B Xhosa on 28 July 2006.
Telephone communication with B Xhosa on 28 July 2006. 


  • In case names where there are many parties, use an ampersand (&) and then Others or Another. You may choose to ignore the reference to ‘Others’ and merely use the initial parties but be consistent.
  • Do not put case names and citations in both the text and footnote. It is preferable to have the case name in the text and the citation in the footnote. The foonote number should immediately follow the case name, eg Ras NO v Van der Meulen.


S v Makwanyane and Another 1995 (3) SA 391 (CC) (not 1995 3)
The Government of the Republic of South Africa & Others v Grootboom & Others 2000 11 BCLR 1169 (CC) (not 2000 (11))


African Commission:
If reported in African Human Rights Law Reports:
Modise v Botswana (2000) AHRLR 30 (ACHPR 2000)
If not reported in AHRLR:
Communication 101/93, Civil Liberties Organisation v Nigeria, Thirteenth Annual Activity Report

Inter-American Commission:
Yahom v Colombia, Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, IAm Comm of HR (26 June 1992), OAE/Ser L/V/II6 Doc 10 Rev 1

Inter-American Court:
VR v H IACHR (26 September 1986) Ser L/ Doc 8 Rev 1

European Court:
Sramek v Austria ECHR (22 October 1984) Ser A 17
OR, if not in Series A
S v Austria (1998) EHRR 598

ICJ judgments:
Case … v Iran ICJ (24 May 1980) (1980) ICJ Reports 3
United Nations human rights treaty bodies:
Communication 135/94, Bloomings v Italy, UNHR Committee (26 June 1996), UN Doc CCPR/C/OP/1 (1984)


Eldridge v British Colombia (1997) 151 DLR (4th) 577 (not 4th)

Goldberg v Kelly 397 US 235 (1970)
S v K (2002) 292 F 3d 597


http://www.chr.up.ac.za (accessed 31 January 2005)
When an author or article is cited, provide full information, eg Human Rights Watch ‘The death penalty debate’ 21 February http://................. (accessed 31 March 2007).


When referring to the Constitution in full, it should read ‘The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996’ (as set out in sec 1(1) of the Citation of Constitutional Laws Act 5 of 2005).


Footnotes referring to earlier footnotes should lead with the author’s surname (not her initials and surname as in the first reference) or the abbreviated name of a case or authorless policy document:

Viljoen (n 16 above) 12-13. 
Grootboom (n 17 above) para 99.

In order to avoid redundancy, an exception to this rule should be made when the sentence to which the footnote attaches includes a reference to the author, case, or document.  In such cases, the format below should be used:

    n 16 above, 12-13. 
n 17 above, para 99.      

Note that a comma should set off the page or paragraph reference in this last format but not in the format above. 


First reference in text:  In the well-known case of Grootboom v Minister of Housing (Grootboom case)
Thereafter:  The Grootboom case



  • Abbreviations are generally not used in the text. (Exceptions: Madala J, Chaskalson P)
  • Acronyms, abbreviated form – write term in full the first time, eg United Nations (UN) (no ‘ … ’, or ‘hereafter’ or ‘later cited as’)
  • ‘for example’ (in text); use ‘eg’ only in footnotes
  • Use para and paras in footnotes, full out in text
  • Use sec and secs, art and arts in footnotes, full out in text
  • Use abbreviations in footnotes such as ‘eg’


  • Avoid capital letters; only use for proper names and specifics, such as England, Constitutional Court
  • Reference to a specific court: High Court, Constitutional Court: The Court held … (but courts will not interfere …)
  • Reference to a specific Constitution (the South African Constitution; the Constitution of Nigeria); but generic constitutions
  • Reference to a specific Bill of Rights (the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution), but the bills of rights contained in African constitutions
  • Reference to a specific Protocol – as above
  • After a colon (:) Capital letter if a new full sentence is introduced; decap if it is merely a list of items
  • Reference to books: CH Heyns Human rights law in Africa
  • Reference to journals: African Human Rights Law Journal; articles in journals: ‘The human rights dimension of conflict’ (NOT caps)
  • Words NOT capitalised:

apartheid (not italics)
commissioners (but Commissioner Badawi)
court (unless specific court)
interim/final Constitution
member state
ordinary session (of Commission)
parliament (but Pan-African Parliament)
state party
twentieth century

  • Words capitalised:

Cold War
Protocol (specific)
Rules of Procedure
Southern Africa
West Africa
World War II
South, East, North, West


31 January 2005 (not January 31st, 2005; 31 January, 2005)


  • Full stops after footnotes
  • First line of footnote is indented; other lines aligned left
  • No ibid, supra, etc
  • Footnotes start with capitals, except if they start with ‘n’ (note) eg ‘n 17 above’
  • As far as possible, use abbreviations (without full stops) eg para, paras, sec, secs, art, arts, ch, etc
  • If more than one source is cited in a footnote, list them chronologically (unless no dates, then alphabetically); separate sources with ‘;’
  • No ‘paragraphs’ in footnotes
  • Use ‘&’ when referring to articles and authors (arts 1 & 2; De Waal & Currie; Grootboom & Others v Minister …); use ‘and’ in full sentences
  • Journals are not abbreviated – provide full title, eg not JAC, but Journal of African Law
  • No ‘at’ or ‘page’ – eg (2005) 1 African Human Rights Law Journal 375 380
  • Authors: two authors, both names in full (&) with initials; more than two authors, use et al
  • When referring to earlier footnote reference, no initial (Heyns n 2 above)
  • Use ‘as above’ only when reference is exactly as in preceding footnote; otherwise ‘n 33 above, 45’.


Headings – do not use initial capital letters


1  Introduction (bold; font 14 pitch)
1.1        The South African experience (bold; font 12 pitch)
1.1.1     The position in Nigeria (bold; font 12 pitch)
Subsequent sub-headings: no numbering, italics


  • 1 – 10 written out (one, ten); above 10: figures (14, 32) except at start of sentence (Forty-five soldiers were killed …)
  • Ordinals:
    • In text: first, second, twenty-ninth, etc, but 2nd session of Commission, 29th session of Commission
    • In footnotes: 1st, 2nd, 29th (no superscript, eg 29th)
  • Thousands: 25 000 (not 25,000 – space, not comma)
  • Numbers should be separated by a hyphen and a space placed on each side of the hyphen:
    • 150 000 - 290 000, not150 000–290 000 or150 000 – 290 000
    • 15 - 49, not 15-49, 15–49 or15 – 49  
    • 21.2 - 45.3%, not 21.2-45.3%, 21.2–45.3% or 21.2 – 45.3%
  • Words should be matched with words:  eight kilograms.
  • Figures should be matched with symbols or abbreviations:
    •  34 kg     12 mm    100 m.  
    • R50 million, not R50m.


  • Avoid punctuation marks where possible
  • No full stop after Mr, Prof, Dr, etc
  • During 2003, the United Nations ….
  • Quotations: ‘ … ’ in South Africa …’ (no full stop after ’)
  • Footnote reference in text: … in South Africa.6  (footnote number after full stop or comma); also when quote ends: … in South Africa.6
  • Avoid /, rather use ‘or’
  • Bullets:  If followed by full sentences, initial capital and full stop after each; if not full sentences, no initial cap and ‘;’ after each.


Parenthetical text should be set off by dashes as below:

  • Certain infringements that would simply not be capable of justification in terms of section 36(1) – infringements that occur in terms of simple state conduct, for example, unrelated to any law of general application – can be justified in terms of the reasonableness test that applies to the qualified rights.

Each of the following examples is incorrect:

  • Certain infringements that would simply not be capable of justification in terms of section 36(1) - infringements that occur in terms of simple state conduct, for example, unrelated to any law of general application - can be justified in terms of the reasonableness test that applies to the qualified rights. 
  • Certain infringements that would simply not be capable of justification in terms of section 36(1)—infringements that occur in terms of simple state conduct, for example, unrelated to any law of general application—can be justified in terms of the reasonableness test that applies to the qualified rights. 
  • Certain infringements that would simply not be capable of justification in terms of section 36(1) — infringements that occur in terms of simple state conduct, for example, unrelated to any law of general application — can be justified in terms of the reasonableness test that applies to the qualified rights. 


The first paragraph starts aligned.
Subsequent paragraphs are indented.
Paragraphs under indented quotes are also aligned. 
Top of page remains indented if paragraph should ordinarily be indented


Quotes longer than 30 words must be indented (on left hand side, not on right hand side), for example:

The challenge of building one nation and one economy in which all South Africans may participate and from which all may benefit remains a major challenge for the short, medium and perhaps even long term.

For indented quotes, use font 10 pitch.

Indented quotes do not have quotation marks.
The footnote sign should usually precede the indented quote, unless the indented quote forms part of a sentence, which ends at the end of the quote; then the footnote sign comes at the end of the quotation.

In quoted text, American spelling should notbe changed to British spelling.  The same goes for the title of a cited work.  However, the name of an organisation should be spelled according to British norms regardless of how the organisation chooses to spell its own name.  Thus, World Health Organization should be changed to World Health Organisation. 


  • Always use single quotes, unless it is a quote within a quote (then double quotes).
  • Where a quotation is part of a sentence only, the full stop should be placed outside the last quotation mark, example: The judge said it was his ‘duty to apply the law’.
  • Where a passage from a quotation is omitted indicate this with the use of ellipses, in other words stops separated by spaces, except at the start of the quotation.
  • Quotations should be verbatim, including American spelling. However, avoid using (sic!) to draw attention to mistakes in material quoted. If the error is a typographical one, correct it. If the grammar is incorrect, interpose using your own wording between square brackets.


Article 27(2) - no space before (2)


  • UK English – ‘s’ instead of ‘z’ – organisation, not organization
  • acknowledgment (not acknowledgement)
  • co-operation
  • healthcare (not health care)
  • judge
  • judgment (not judgement)
  • licence
  • licensing
  • practice (noun)
  • practise (verb)
  • Shari’a
  • state party/parties (not states parties)
  • ubuntu


Rather use commas that brackets for parenthesis.




  • Try to avoid – replace with modern English term, instead of supra rather use ‘above’
  • If used, use italics: eg inter alia, status quo


  • anti-retroviral
  • bilateral (not bi-lateral)
  • case-law
  • claw-back clauses
  • co-operation
  • Dar es Salaam
  • decision making (but decisionmaking process)
  • extrajudicial
  • HIV positive (but HIVpositive status)
  • intergovernmental
  • mother-to-child-transmission
  • multilateral (not multi-lateral)
  • Secretary-General
  • subregion/subregional
  • subsection
  • Vice-Chairperson


  • Always use italics for:
    • titles of journals, books, newspaper names, cases
    • foreign words, unless acknowledged as part of English, and unless part of or in a quotation
    • emphasis ( … opinions on the compatibility of domestic laws …) – add ‘my emphasis’ or ‘our emphasis’ in footnote (use sparingly)
  • Italics should not be used for legislation and treaties.
  • Specific words/phrases:
    • Et al
    • Coup d’etat
    • Ubuntu
    • Prima facie
    • Inter alia
    • Per se
    • A quo


The modern practice is not to use an apostrophe in abbreviated plurals (eg MPs, CVs) or with dates (eg 1990s instead of 1990’s).

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