Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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.