Fundamentals of Legal Research
Adam J. McKee, Ph.D.
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Working With Administrative Regulations
Much of the work of government is done through bureaucratic organizations known as administrative agencies. These agencies are delegated power by Congress (or state legislatures) to make rules and regulations. These administrative rules can have the force of law as if they were passed into law by Congress. As these agency rules are passed, they are collected in a series of federal rules known as the Federal Register. When rules are amended or enacted, they are placed in this daily publication along with proposed new rules, notices of administrative hearings, and Presidential proclamations. The problem with the Federal Register is that it is published chronologically, and is nearly impossible to use for research purposes. Much like statutes, legal researchers need these materials organized topically, not chronologically. This need is met with a topical organization of federal regulations known as the Code of Federal Regulations (C. F. R.).
Unfortunately, the CFR is not updated with pocket parts. There is an indexing tool (the List of Sections Affected) that will point the researcher to entries in the Federal Register, but the process is cumbersome. Electronic databases neatly deal with this problem and provide a much easier task for the researcher. Most state regulations are also available through the state’s website.
Finding materials in the Code of Federal Regulations can be approached much like finding code materials. Words and phrases describing the topic can be found in an index.
Modification History File Created: 08/08/2018 Last Modified: 06/13/2019
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