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Federal Administrative Law Research Guide

Basic guide to researching federal administrative law (rules, decisions, other documents, executive orders)

About the CFR

Publication of Rules in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 

Temporary and interim rules are published in the Federal Register. However, most regulations are adopted as permanent regulations. After their initial publication in the Federal Register, these final rules are republished in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR has been published annually since 1938.

Regulations are arranged in the CFR under 50 broad subject categories, called titles. Each title is subdivided into chapters, with each chapter representing an executive agency responsible for promulgating the regulations. Each chapter is subdivided into parts, which represent a specific topic. Parts are subdivided into sections. Citations to the CFR usually include only the title number and the section number (e.g., 49 C.F.R. § 511.11 stands for title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations section 511.11).

Title 3 of the CFR is different from the other 49 CFR titles in that it compiles the presidential executive orders and proclamations issued during the year (following their initial publication in the Federal Register).  Title 3 is devoted solely to executive orders and proclamations and does not contain agency rules.

A new edition of the CFR is published annually, however all 50 titles of the CFR are not revised at the same time.  Revision of the titles is done in quarterly segments (titles 1-16 contain regulations in force as of Jan.1; titles 17-27 as of Apr. 1; titles 28-41 as of July 1; and titles 42-50 as of Oct. 1). Always check the date on the version of the CFR you are using (print or online) to see how current the information is and to determine the date you need to update from.

For More Information on the CFR

CFR Online

Subscription Databases

Open Access Websites

CFR in Print & Subject Indexes

Annual Print Volumes

A print copy (paperback) of the official current edition is shelved on the 1st floor (call no. KF70 .A3).  Earlier editions shelved on the 2nd floor.

Subject Indexes to the CFR


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