These guidelines set out the contents of the completed editions, the list of available texts, contents of two types of proposals to edit texts for the project, additional issues for all proposers to address, and the procedure for submitting proposals and schedule for response to that proposal by the Literary Board.

Contents of Editions

Early English Laws aims to produce new editions of all English legal texts composed up to the issuance of Magna Carta 1215. Persons interested in editing texts for this project will be expected to supply the following items in their final submission:

  1. A list of manuscript witnesses and derivative copies. Each manuscript description should include at a minimum description of quires, hands, and contents, and identification of date and provenance.
  2. An explanation of the relationship of the manuscripts that justifies the edited text.
  3. Transcriptions of any singular or unusual manuscript witnesses to the text if digitized images of that manuscript are included on the site.
  4. An edition of the text with, at a minimum, sufficient apparatus to justify the reconstruction of the text—that is, an apparatus presenting those variants that serve as evidence for the relationship of the manuscripts and, implicitly, for the words presented by the editor as representing the original or archetype. Editors working with English or French texts may chose to adopt a modified form of this procedure in line with current practices. The text should be divided into numbered chapters and sub-chapters (e.g., 1, 1.1, 1.2, 2, etc.).
  5. A translation into English of the edited text as well as of any transcriptions.
  6. A commentary on issues of law, language, and context, as well as identification of sources. The commentary should be organized by chapter or sub-chapter.
  7. An introduction that dates the composition, identifies the author (if possible), describes the context of creation and subsequent development of the text (e.g., versions or translations), and analyses what it tells us about the law.
  8. A concordance with the standard edition (usually Liebermann’s or Stubbs’) if the chapter numbers change.
  9. All of the above items will be prepared according to the project style guide (now in preparation).

List of Available Texts

A list of texts included in this edition can be found here. Please note that Latin versions of Old English laws and French versions of Latin laws are treated as separate texts and may be edited independently of their sources. Texts already being edited or for which proposals are in process are so marked. The Literary Board realizes that the line between legal and other sources is not a firm one, and so is willing to entertain proposals for the editing of texts not on the list as long as the proposer makes a case for considering them to be in a significant way related to the description of law. Writs, charters, narratives, the legal material in Domesday Book, and similar examples of administrative documents, however, will not form part of this project.

Contents of Proposals

Prospective editors for the remaining texts should submit a proposal to the Chair for consideration by the Board. The contents of the proposal will vary somewhat depending on the experience of the editors and number of scholars contributing to the particular edition.

Experienced Editors

Experienced editors are those who have published editions of medieval texts. They will submit proposals that include:

  • Identification of the text(s) to be edited.
  • Description of editorial method.
  • Description of the contents of the commentary.
  • An explanation of how and why the proposed edition will differ from the standard edition (usually Felix Liebermann’s).
  • Curricula vitae citing education and relevant publications and papers.
New Editors

New editors are those who have not edited any text or texts of length or complexity. Consequently, they will need to submit a fuller proposal which includes:

  • Identification of the text(s) to be edited.
  • Description of editorial method, including an explanation of the relationship of the manuscript witnesses, supported by the evidence of variants (when applicable).
  • Description of the intended contents of the commentary.
  • A sample of newly edited text of no more than five pages (A4 or Letter-size pages), along with modern English translation and commentary.
  • An explanation of how and why the proposed edition will differ from the standard edition (usually Felix Liebermann’s).
  • Curriculum vitae citing education and relevant publications and papers.

Prospective editors should consult the Chair if there is a question about which type of proposal they should submit. Editors may choose to work alone. The Board, however, encourages collaborative work that brings to bear on each text the necessary expertise. The Board may stipulate the involvement of other scholars with proposed editions if it will benefit the final product. Proposals from either experienced or new editors should not be more than ten pages in length (not counting the sample text, translation, and commentary supplied by new editors).

Editorial Teams

The same division between experienced and new editors applies as well to proposals from collaborating scholars. Editorial teams should supply two additional matters in their proposals:

  • Curricula vitae for all collaborators.
  • An explanation of the division of labour that makes clear who will be responsible for what portions of the edition as well as the extent of any shared portions (e.g., the translation, which will often be produced by several of the contributors).

Editors and teams can add collaborators during the editing process, but should do so in consultation with the Chair.


All prospective editors need to describe the source and amount of any financial support they have applied for or expect to receive. The Board has only a small amount of funding to assist individual editors’ needs for visits to archives or microform reproductions. Once they have approved a proposal, the Chair and Board will support grant applications submitted by editors to other funding bodies.

Completion Date

The editor should estimate when the edition will be completed. The Board realizes that timing will depend not just on initiative, but also on the complexity of the text(s), the coordination of the collaboration, and the support provided by home institutions and funding bodies. Nevertheless, editors should provide a realistic date by which the Board can expect to receive all components of the edition.

Submission of Proposal

The proposal should be sent to the project team (earlyenglishlaws [at], who will distribute it to the Literary Board for evaluation. The Chair will convey the Board’s response within 30 days of receipt. The Board reserves the right to ask for revisions to the proposal, including provision of sample texts and translation by experienced editors. Email submission is encouraged. If mailed by regular post, please send proposals to: Project Officer, Early English Laws, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, UK