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Legal Methods

The basic techniques of legal analysis, writing and research.

Basics of Federal Administrative Law

Federal agencies often create regulations to implement statutes passed by Congress.  In format, a regulation looks like a statute.  A regulation is a rule created by a government entity.  In operation, they are indistinguishable from statutes, although the methods used to create, modify, and repeal them are different from those applicable to statutes.

Federal agencies are required to

  1. notify the public when they plan to promulgate new regulations or change existing ones
  2. publish proposed regulations and solicit comments on them before the regulations become final
  3. publish final regulations before they go into effect to notify the public of the new requirements

Federal Register

Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. It is published Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays and is consecutively paginated from the first business day of the new year until the last day of the year.

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis.

  • Titles 1-16 are updated as of January 1st
  • Titles 17-27 are updated as of April 1st
  • Titles 28-41 are updated as of July 1st
  • Titles 42-50 are updated as of October 1st

Each title is divided into chapters, which usually bear the name of the issuing agency. Each chapter is further subdivided into parts that cover specific regulatory areas. Large parts may be subdivided into subparts. All parts are organized in sections, and most citations in the CFR are provided at the section level.

Because a new set of CFR volumes is published annually, the CFR is not updated with pocket parts.  Instead, new or amended regulations are published in the Federal Register.  They are not codified with the CFR until a new set is published. 

List of CFR Sections Affected

The List of CFR Sections Affected lists proposed, new, and amended Federal regulations that have been published in the Federal Register since the most recent revision date of a CFR title. Each LSA issue is cumulative and contains the CFR part and section numbers, a description of its status (e.g., amended, confirmed, revised), and the Federal Register page number where the change(s) may be found. It is published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration.

Each LSA issue is cumulative and contains the CFR part and section numbers, a description of its status (e.g., amended, confirmed, revised), and the Federal Register page number where the change(s) may be found. The LSA is issued monthly; however, on GPO Access, the LSA also contains three supplemental services: the List of CFR Parts Affected Today, Current List of CFR Parts Affected, and Last Month’s List of CFR Parts Affected.

  • List of CFR Parts Affected Today: Lists the CFR parts affected by change(s) appearing in most current issue Federal Register. The Federal Register is published Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
  • Current List of CFR Parts Affected: Lists the CFR parts affected by change(s) since the last monthly issue of the LSA.
  • Last Month's List of CFR Parts Affected: Lists only the CFR parts affected by change(s) during the last month.

To locate references to a regulation in the LSA, browse numerically by Title number, and within each Title, numerically by Part and section number.  If you do not find the Part or section listed in the LSA, there have been no changes to the regulation.  If you do find the Part or section listed, the LSA will refer you to the page or pages of the Federal Register containing the information on the agency's action.

The Current List of CFR Parts Affected lists all of the CFR Parts affected by notices published in the Federal Register during the current month and will update your research from the last day covered by the LSA until the present.  The table lists only the Parts affected by agency action, not individual sections.  If the table contains a reference to the CFR Part you are researching, you need to retrieve the relevant page from the Federal Register to determine the section or sections within the CFR Part affected by agency action.  If the table does not list the Part you are researching, your updating is complete.

 

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