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Legal Research: An Overview: Regulations

What Are Administrative Regulations?

Laws made by administrative agencies are called regulations.  Agencies often are responsible for administering certain statutes.  Accordingly, when working with statutes, there can be regulations that provide additional guidance regarding those statutes.  Agencies also enact other regulations when delegated to so so by the legislature.

Regulations that are currently in force are published in regulatory codes, which are organized by subject.  There are regulatory codes for federal regulations and different codes for each state.  

For more information on researching for regulations and other administrative materials, please see the Law Library's Federal Administrative Law and California Administrative Law research guides.

Searching in the Regulations

Searching for regulations is comparable to searching for statutes.  The techniques discussed in this guide in the Statutes: Searching in the Codes section also can be applied to searching the regulatory codes.  Regulatory codes, like statutory codes, have print and online indexes.  Keyword searching and table of contents browsing also work similarly for regulations as for statutes.

One additional way of finding regulations is to review the statutory annotations to see if any related regulations are identified.  As regulations often supplement statutes, regulatory citations are commonly found in the history notes and annotations for statutes.

Validating Your Research

As with both statutes and cases, you need to validate your research to confirm that your regulation is still good law.  The citators -- KeyCite in Westlaw and Shepard's in Lexis -- can be used to validate regulations just as they are used for statutes.  See the section of this guide on Statutes: Validating Your Research for more information.

Federal and California Regulatory Codes

The federal regulatory code is called the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).  The C.F.R. is organized into 50 broad topics, called titles.  Federal regulations are identified by their title and section number.  For example, 7 C.F.R. § 318.13-22 is the cite for an agricultural regulation regarding bananas from Hawaii.  "7" stands for title 7, which are the agricultural regulations, and "318.13-22" is the section within that title.

The C.F.R. is available in print in the Law Library at KF70 .A32; in online subscription services including Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg; and freely available online from the Government Publishing Office.

See the Law Library's Federal Administrative Law research guide for more information.

The California regulatory code is called the California Code of Regulations (C.C.R.), sometimes referred to as Barclays Official California Code of Regulations.  The C.C.R. is organized into 28 broad topics, called titles.  Title 6 was reserved for the governor, but has never been used.  Title 24, the Building Code, is published separately as the California Building Standards Code.

The C.C.R. (excepting title 24) is available in print in the Law Library at KFC35 1990 .A2;  in online subscription services including Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg, and freely available online from the California Office of Administrative Law.

See the Law Library's California Administrative Law research guide for more information.

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