The Journal of Animal and Environmental Law is a student-run, peer reviewed legal academic journal based at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. JAEL was founded in 2009 by a group of students and faculty who sought to increase awareness about the legal issues facing the fields of animal and environmental law. Since that time, JAEL has sought to become the Ohio River Valley's premier source of legal scholarship for all matters pertaining to animal and environmental law.  Today, JAEL is the first and only legal journal at the University of Louisville to publish all editions in an exclusively electronic format.  Our readership spans all fifty United States and we have readers in nearly ten countries worldwide.  

Why Animal and Environmental Law? 

Both the city of Louisville and the commonwealth of Kentucky have been markedly shaped by the effects of animal and environmental lawmaking.  Statute, judge-made law, regulation, international law, constitutional law, and common law all affect the close relationship between Kentuckians, animals, and the environment on a near daily basis.  Louisville is one of the largest ports situated along the Ohio River, and Kentucky's economic growth has long been tied to the coal industry.  Of course, the world descends on the Derby City each year for the Run for the Roses and the Bluegrass State is the epicenter of the United States' horse racing industry. These are just a few of the many reasons why it makes sense for an animal and environmental law journal to be based out of the University of Louisville. 

Animal Law is a field on the rise. Animal law courses and Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapters are steadily increasing. Attorneys, more than ever, are either going into the field of Animal Law outright or are spending their pro-bono hours on Animal Law issues. An additional forum of discussion on these issues was needed, especially in Kentucky and the South. Kentucky has ranked last in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s survey of animal law for the last two years. Kentucky is a state in need of animal law discussion and attorneys.

Defining Animal and Environmental Law

While animal law may seem like a specialty, it actually encompasses many broad areas of contemporary legal practice including torts, criminal law, and constitutional law. Animal Law includes both statutory and case law in which non-human animals are important. The field covers all animals: companion animals, farm animals, animals used in entertainment, those used in research, and wildlife.

We define environmental law in equally broad terms.  Environmental law, for the purposes of our journal, encompasses statutory, regulatory, constitutional, international, and common law regimes that regulate and govern interactions between society and the natural world.  Scholarship covered under our large umbrella may be found in the fields of environmental law, administrative law, energy law, property law, tort law, constitutional law, international law, and others.  In the past, the Journal has published on topics ranging from regulation of microbreweries, riparianism, environmental justice, climate change, climate migrants, comparative constitutional environmental rights, and many other topics.  

Journal Structure

JAEL is published on a twice-annually basis in January and June of each year.  The Journal publishes original works of legal scholarship by those in academia, legal practitioners, and students.  We also seek to offer an outlet for multidisciplinary research in fields such as biology, chemistry, environmental studies, engineering, social sciences, the humanities, and economics.