Administrative Law Research

Introduction

  • Administrative law is the "statutes endowing agencies with powers and establishing rules of substantive law relating to those powers; (2) the body of agency-made law, consisting of administrative rules, regulations, reports, opinions containing findings of fact, and orders;" (Black’s Law Dictionary, 8 th Edition).
  • Regulations are sometimes called "delegated legislation" because Congress delegates authority to federal agencies to regulate in complex areas such as tax, environmental law, and securities law.
  • How Do You Find Federal Agency Regulations?
    In 1935 Congress passed the Federal Register Act which mandated that for any federal ruling or regulation to be legally effective it must be published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register began publication in 1936.
  • Federal Register is published every business day and contains proposed and adopted federal agency regulations as they are issued. It also contains notices of hearings, meetings, and adjudicatory proceedings and the text of presidential proclamations and executive orders. It has a monthly cumulative index and in December an index is issued which covers the whole year.
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains the current agency regulations, arranged by subject. It has been published since 1938. It cites back to the Federal Register for its authority. The CFR is divided into 50 titles, with broad subject areas such as Labor or Banks and Banking. (Only the final rules become part of the CFR). Each CFR is updated only once a year. Quarterly revision of the CFR is on the following schedule:

    Title 1-Title 16 as of January 1
    Title 17- Title 27 as of April 1
    Title 28-Title 41 as of July 1
    Title 42-Title 50 as of October 1
    Title 3 of the CFR contains presidential documents, which are required to be published in the Federal Register.

  • CFR is updated through the Federal Register, List of CFR Sections Affected. The CFR has its own "Index and Finding Aids" which as an index by broad subject headings, agency names, and a parallel table of authorities (list of United States Code cites and where the corresponding regulation appears). It is not a detailed index, which is why other approaches to finding materials are listed below.

    Approaches to finding material in the Federal Register :

    • LEXIS-NEXIS: Federal Legal-U.S.>Federal Register (from July 1980 to date )
    • WESTLAW: Database identifier is FR (from January 1980 to date)
    • FDsys (from 1994) (in pdf)
    • HeinOnline: 1936 to current (Available on Library homepage, look for Federal Register Library of Hein Online)

    Approaches to finding material in the Code of Federal Regulations:

    • LEXIS-NEXIS: Federal Legal-U.S.>Code of Federal Regulations (from 1981 to date)
    • WESTLAW: Database identifiers is: CFR (from 1984 to date)
    • FDsys (from 1996)
    • HeinOnline: Code of Federal Regulations( from 1938 edition to current)
    • Both the United States Code Annotated and the United States CodeService provide relevant cites to the Code of Federal Regulations when they are applicable to a particular statute. United StatesCode Service is stronger in depth of citations to the CFR.
  • How to update federal regulations?

    Below is the most frequently used approach if you know the statute:

Find the regulation in the CFR through the CFR index (hardcopy approach)

  • Find the text of the regulation in the CFR and note the revision date on the cover of the volume, e.g. Revised as of October 1, 2007.
  • Check the pamphlet entitled LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected. References in the LSA are to Federal Register page numbers.
    • Check the annual cumulation of the LSA for your title.
    • Check the latest monthly LSA for changes occurring since the annual cumulation.
    • Find the issue(s) of the Federal Register dated on the last day of any and all months not covered by the LSA. Find the table at the back of the issue, which contains "Sections Affected" during the month, and see if your section was affected.
    • Find the latest issue of the Federal Register when you are doing your research and check the "Sections Affected" table at the back of that issue.
    • Shepardize (Lexis) or Key Cite (Westlaw) Code of Federal Regulations to determine whether there has been any judicial interpretation of the regulation.

Find the regulation electronically

e-CFR is a site which provides the most current text of the C.F.R. (within 2 days of the current date) and integrates the text of the Federal Register into the current CFR.

Both Westlaw and Lexis integrate the new regulations of the Federal Register into the Code of Federal Regulations database fairly rapidly. A general estimate is that Lexis is usually a week out of date and Westlaw is usually a week and a half out of date. To update during this gap go directly to the Federal Register database and put in your citation and a date delimiter i.e. date aft 1/2008 to update for possible recent changes.

 

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