When writing about a trial, should four-year Statute of Limitations have the four-year spelled out or as 4 year Statute of Limitations?

Also, should Preliminary Hearing, Mediation, Discovery, Pre-Trial Conference, Civil Trial, and Statute of Limitations be in title case or lower case?

  • What kind of publication are you writing for? A legal brief? An academic paper? A magazine article? A blog? – choster Apr 9 '14 at 15:42
  • Hi choster, I am having a manuscript edited. I believe that phenry has offered me some clear direction, however, I would be interested in your thoughts on this. Thank you – marian evans Apr 9 '14 at 19:31
  • @marianevans: Please separate your two questions into two separate questions. The answers here have addressed your second question so I suggest moving the question about four-year versus 4 year to its own post. – MrHen Apr 21 '14 at 18:15

I did a search on Google Scholar for several of your terms in opinions issued by U.S. federal courts. All of the terms are routinely set in lowercase except in titles. Clearly, the federal court system does not believe they should be capitalized. Leave them in lowercase.

People tend to be too eager to capitalize technical terms, for little reason other than "it seems like the thing to do"--probably because they're so used to reading such things from other writers who used the same line of reasoning. If you come across a term you're unsure about, try asking yourself "Why should this be capitalized?" (or even better, "Why should this not remain lowercase?"). If you can't come up with a good answer, leave it lowercase.

  • 1
    You're absolutely right. I do see these terms capitalized and lower case, hence my question. Thank you very much for your answer. Very helpful – marian evans Apr 9 '14 at 19:28

As a Canadian court reporter, I have no clue about your first question. However, I capitalize all of your suggested queries.

  • Thank you. That is what I have done, but my editor has changed all of them to lower case. I agree with you that they should be in caps. Thanks again. Marian – marian evans Apr 9 '14 at 15:34

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