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Federal (U.S.) Regulation Research

Federal Regulation research is divided into two separate areas: (1) administrative law, which deals with the validity and creation of agency created law; and (2) the research of the agency law itself. This series of research guides deals with the latter.

Some general information about federal regulations

Regulations, like statutes, are created by a specific process, see 9 Steps to Create a Regulation tab. Regulatory law, language that has completed the steps, is called a final regulation. Final regulations are officially published in the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations. 

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

  • The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of final rules that are published as in the Federal Register.
  • The Code of Federal Regulations is officially updated once a year.
    • However, it is not updated all at once. A quarter of the Titles are updated every 3 months:
      Titles Date of Update
      1-16 January 1st
      17-27 April 1st
      28-41 July 1st
      42-50 October 1st
  • The Code of Federal Regulations changes as amended; just like the United States Code.

The Federal Register (FR).

  • Final regulations are found in Federal Register.  Final regulations are  found in the "rules and regulations" section. 
  • The Federal Register is published daily (M-F).
    • The Federal Register "Contents" is arranged alphabetically by agency; this makes checking for agency documents easy.
    • The Federal Register "CFR Parts Affected in This Issue" is arranged by title then part; this makes checking for final and proposed changes to specific regulation easy.
    • The Federal Register is static; just like the Statutes at Large.