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I'm writing an article for publication and I want to capitalize the following sentence appropriately. "You need to know that Federal law bars the lender from accelerating the mortgage on your personal residence because you transferred it to your living revocable trust." Is the appropriate capitalization "Federal law" or "Federal Law" or "federal law"?

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2 Answers

The Associated Press Stylebook has this entry for federal:

Use a capital letter for the architectural style and for corporate or governmental bodies that use the word as part of their formal names: Federal Express, the Federal Trade Commission.

Lowercase when used as an adjective to distinguish something from state, county, city, town or private entities: federal assistance, federal court, the federal government, a federal judge.

So, if you are following AP style, your sentence would be:

You need to know that federal law bars the lender from accelerating the mortgage on your personal residence because you transferred it to your living revocable trust.

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It can be capitalised as "federal law", though it may appear in contexts where it's a title of a federal law in which case you would refer to "the Federal Law of..." and so on. I understand Russian federal laws* often have "Federal Law" in their titles.

*That is, the laws of the Russian Federation - another case of capitalisation as it's the title of a particular federation.

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