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Law Library Basics: Regulations

An introduction to the Law Library and Legal Research for students

What are Federal Regulations

Federal regulatory law consists of the rules and regulations issued by executive branch and independent agencies. Federal administrative agencies issue regulations to implement statutes under their jurisdiction.  Federal Regulations are found in:

The Federal Register ("Fed. Reg."): is the official daily publication for notifying the public of rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations.  The Federal Register also provides executive orders and other presidential documents.  The Federal Register is published Monday through Friday (excluding Federal holidays).

The Code of Federal Regulations ("C.F.R."): is the annual codification of all the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register. The CFR is published annually.  It is arranged by subject, divided into 50 Titles with each Title subdivided into chapters, parts, and sections.

Print versions of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations are available in the Derenberg section of the Library (sub-basement under Sullivan Street).

Finding Regulations

Federal Register Index: is published monthly with annual accumulations.  The Index provides descriptive entries and page numbers for documents published in that year.  The print version is located with the bound volumes.

The Federal Register Annual Index from 1938-1998 is also available from the LLMC Digital Law Library and from 1994 to the present from the National Archives.


The CFR Index and Finding Aids: This is the paper index that comes with the CFR, in one volume.  It is revised once a year.  It includes a subject/agency index which directs you to a Part in the CFR.  The Index also includes a Parallel Table of AUthorities and Rules divided into four segments: U.S.C. citations, Statutes at Large citations, Public Law citations and Presidential document citations.  This can be used to find regulations relating to a statute or presidential proclamation. 

LSA (List of CFR Sections Affected): Check for references to your CFR section in the most recent LSA. This volume should reflect changes made since that title was revised. If there have been any changes, it will refer you to pages in the Federal Register.It is also available online from the GPO.