- About the Law Library
- Library Policies
- Facility & Equipment
- Library Services
- Research Tools
- Catalog (IUCAT)
- Support the Law Library
Statutes and court decisions are primary sources of law familiar to most law library patrons. Administrative regulations may be less familiar to researchers, but they too constitute a primary source. While statutes are enacted by a legislature, regulations are issued by administrative agencies (e.g., the Federal Trade Commission), usually acting under delegated legislative authority. The legislature will lay out general law and policy in the statute, and the administrative agency effects detailed implementation of this law and policy through the issuance of rules and regulations. Because regulations are generally binding on all persons and because they exist in many fields, it is often vitally important to locate relevant regulations as well as the more usual statutes and court decisions.
To be effective as law, federal regulations must first be published in the Federal Register (F.R.), a daily newspaper which publishes proposed regulations, new regulations taking effect, notices, presidential documents, notices of Sunshine Act meetings, and related material. Each year, the F.R. appears as hundreds of non-cumulating issues containing new regulations, amendments to existing regulations, and material that may repeal older regulations. Therefore, most researchers will need access to a codified version of the currently-in-force regulations; that is, the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.). Thus, in the area of regulations, the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations relate to each other in the same manner as do the Statutes-at-Large and the U.S. Code in the area of legislation.
The C.F.R. is divided into 50 titles (i.e., subjects), somewhat like (but not the same as) the 50 titles of the U.S. Code. Only one-quarter of the C.F.R. is updated in any quarter of the year (titles 1-16 in January, titles 17-27 in April, etc.) The date on which each C.F.R. pamphlet is updated appears on the front cover.
Normally, you will be using the C.F.R. instead of the Federal Register. If, however, you do need an index to the F.R., there is a monthly index (cumulative just for that year) published with the F.R. It is inserted, after the last F.R. issue for any month, in the F.R. bound volumes. Like many government publications, the F.R. index is not distributed promptly and is short on detailed entries. Far better is the commercially published CIS Federal Register Index which is shelved next to the F.R. It covers 1984 to date, is very detailed, and is distributed promptly.
The government publishes a CFR "Index and Finding Aids" volume with the C.F.R. One way to access regulations here is by subject or name of agency. Citations (references) to the C.F.R. will be to Title and Section numbers (example: 25 C.F.R. section 304.6). If you know the citation for the statute or presidential document which authorized the agency to issue regulations, you can bypass the index section. Use one of the Parallel Tables sections in the same volume for cross-reference from statute (or presidential document) to regulation. Far better than the government's C.F.R. "Index and Finding Aids" volume is the commercially published CIS Index to the C.F.R., shelved immediately adjacent to the C.F.R.
When you have located a relevant regulation (whether by index, table, or citation in some text), the front cover of the C.F.R. pamphlet will have the date on which the pamphlet (and thus, the regulation) was last updated. You must now determine whether any changes have been made since that date.
Find the latest "List of Sections Affected" (L.S.A.), a monthly pamphlet published with the F.R. The tables in each L.S.A. monthly issue are cumulative back to the date on the cover of your current C.F.R. pamphlet. Look for your title and section numbers in these lists (tables). Any change in your regulation occurring since the date of publication of the C.F.R. pamphlet will appear in the L.S.A., with citation to the appropriate page in the F.R. In the L.S.A., another table "Table of F.R. Issue Pages and Dates" allows you to convert F.R. page number to the date of that issue. Find that issue of the F.R. and read the amendment.
Like many government publications, the L.S.A. is not distributed promptly. Thus, there may be a month or more of F.R. daily issues published after the publication of the latest L.S.A. pamphlet. For each and every month, or fraction thereof, not covered by the L.S.A., find the latest monthly issue of the F.R. Each issue contains a cumulative-for-that-month section "C.F.R. Parts Affected During (that month)". If your regulation has been changed during that month, the change is indicated in "C.F.R. Parts Affected...". Find that issue of the F.R. and read the amendment.
In short, current regulations are updated once a year in the C.F.R. For the time period between the date of updating and today's date, changes will be published in the ongoing daily issues of the F.R. It is here in the F.R. that you find the amending language. Then, after one year has elapsed since the last updating of any C.F.R. pamphlet, the amendments published in the F.R. will be cumulated (if still in force) into the next edition of the C.F.R.
SEE also: Any Pathfinders on Presidential Documents, Administrative Agency Decisions, U.S. Government Publications and, in particular, Any Pathfinder on Looseleaf Services.