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Federal Administrative Law: Regulations

A guide to locating regulations, agency decisions and Presidential documents available in the UCLA Law Library and Online.

Useful Links

Chronological Publication of Regulations

Regulations are officially published both chronologically (like session laws) and topically (like codified statutes).

Chronological publication of Regulations

Chronological publication appears in the Federal Register. Agencies must give notice of proposed rule-making by publishing in the Federal Register (F.R.). See Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (1988).  After a sufficient time for comment has elapsed, the final rule (if any) must be published once again in the F.R.  The F.R. is NOT in subject order; it is a daily chronological printing of the business of the federal agencies.

NOTE:  “LEGISLATIVE INTENT” FOR REGULATIONS:  While there is no true legislative intent for regulations, the Federal Register usually includes the agency’s rationale for promulgating a particular regulation as well as summaries of public commentary on proposed regulations. These summaries typically accompany the printing of the final rule or regulation in the Federal Register. The summaries do not appear in the CFR (see below) and can only be found using the Federal Register cite for the final rule or regulation, given in the CFR.

  1. Federal Register (F.R.) 1936-.  The Federal Register includes:

    • Rules and regulations of federal agencies
    • Proposed rules and regulations
    • Agency notices
    • Presidential documents of general applicability or legal effect
    • Sunshine Act meetings
    • Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations (in April & October, agenda describing regulatory action)

      Library: KF 70 A2 (Mezzanine Level)
      LexisAdvance: In main search box, type in "Federal Register" and then click on "Federal Register, All" to view from 1936 - current or "FR-Federal Register Current Year" to view current year Federal Register only.
      WestlawNext: FR-ALL database (1936 - current)
      Internet: Federal Register via FDsys (from 1994);
      LexisNexis Academic (Go to Search by Content Type > Federal Statutes and Regulations > Select "Federal Register" from the Advance Search Menu Sources drop-down menu) (from 1936—UC Only)
      HeinOnline Federal Register (1936-2012, UCLA Only)
  2. Finding Aids within the Federal Register:

    • Subject indices: Monthly, each month’s index cumulates those earlier in the year.
    • Cumulative List of parts affected: each month; cumulates daily.
    • Listing of Federal Register pages and dates for the month.
    • List of agencies which publish their documents on designated days of the week.
    • List of public laws enacted.

Codification of Regulations

Regulations are codified by subject in the Code of Federal Regulations.  The Code of Federal Regulations is analogous to the U.S. Code; it reproduces, by topic, all the regulations of the federal agencies currently in effect.

  1. Code of Federal Regulations  (CFR) 1938-.

    The CFR contains regulations first published in the Federal Register that are of a “general and permanent” nature and  will be in effect in the year of publication. It is arranged by subject into 50 titles similar but not identical to the U.S.C.; cite by title and section.  Revised annually. Superseded editions are available at SRLF.

    Library: KF 70 A32 (Level 1 – East Reading Room)
    LexisAdvance: To view the current CFR, type "CFR" in the main search box and then click on the source "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations."  Archived versions of the CFR are not available on Lexis Advance.  To view archived versions through LexisNexis, please consult a reference librarian.
    WestlawNext:  CFR database for current code; Code of Federal Regulations - Historical for older codes (from 1984)
    Internet:  CFR via FDsys (1996 to 2012);
    LexisNexis Academic (Click on "Find" and then search for CFR in the Keyword box.  Select CFR by year, or "ALL CFR" to search all years combined) (from 1981)
    HeinOnline CFR (1938 to 2011, UCLA only); Cornell's Legal Information Institute (current version)
  2. Finding Aids:

    • Code of Federal Regulations:  CFR Index and Finding Aids:

      • Subject/agency index for rules currently codified in CFR.
      • Parallel table of authorities and rules cited as authority for regulations currently codified in CFR.  Table divided into four parts: U.S.C. citations; United States Statutes at Large citations; Public Law citations; and Presidential Documents citations
      • Presidential Documents to CFR: (not for current documents).
      • U.S. Statute to Presidential Document: found in yearly cumulation of Title 3 of the CFR.

        Library: KF 70 A32 Index (East Reading Room, next to the  CFR)
    • West’s Code of Federal Regulations: General Index. St. Paul, MN:  West Pub.  Co.  (2006-) 

      Library: KF 70 A34 W47 (East Reading Room)
    • RegulationsPlus™Index available on Westlaw in the CFR database. 

  3. Updating the current CFR

    The CFR is updated by consulting the LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected.

    • The LSA cumulates with each issue so check only most recent. This is a monthly paper supplement shelved at the end of the CFR set.

    • Annual cumulations of sections affected from 1986 to present appear at the back of each title of the CFR.  Organized by CFR title and section; it gives the cite to the Federal Register page where the final regulation was published.    
      Library: KF 70 A32 Sections Affected (East Reading Room)
      Internet: CFR List of Sections Affected via FDsys (from 1997)
    • For the period before 1986, see Code of Federal Regulations: List of Sections Affected 1949-63, 1964-1972, 1973-85 published in seven separate volumes.

      Library: KF 70 A32 (East Reading Room)