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United States of America Legal Research Guide

Introduction to U.S Regulations


The executive branch of government and its agencies create administrative law known as regulations or rules on both the federal and state levels.  Similar to legislative statutes, regulations are published chronologically and then codified according to subject matter. 

New and proposed federal administrative regulations are published daily in chronological order in the Federal Register and are later codified by subject in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  The CFR is divided into titles according broad subject areas. 

Sources: A Research Guide to the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations

 

Code of Federal Regulations


The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government.  It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.  The 50 subject matter titles contain one or more individual volumes, which (in the print version) are updated once each calendar year, on a staggered basis.  The annual update cycle is as follows: titles 1-16 are revised as of January 1; titles 17-27 are revised as of April 1; titles 28-41 are revised as of July 1, and titles 42-50 are revised as of October 1.  Each title is divided into chapters, parts (possibly sub-parts), and sections.  Most citations to the CFR refer to the title and the section (e.g 25 CFR § 720.103 means Title 24, section 720.103).

Use the following resources to access the Code of Federal Regulations:

Federal register


The Federal Register is the official daily publication of the US federal government for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.  Use the following resources to access the Federal Register:

State Regulations


State regulations are often freely available from each state legislature's website.  Below are resources which contains state administrative materials or links directly to each state's legislative website.

Consult the section T1 of Bluebook: A Uniform Book of Legal Citation to the names of each state's administrative law titles, which are usually known as codes and registers.  Section T1 also indicates which administrative law titles, if any, have been designated as official.

Free State Regulation Resources


Free Federal Regulations Resources