Administrative Law Research Guide

This guide outlines the federal administrative process and materials.


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Updating Federal Regulations

Each title of the Code of Federal Regulations is revised once a year and contains the regulations in force at the time of publication. The schedule for publication is:

Titles 1-16 January 1
Titles 17-27 April 1
Titles 28-41 July 1
Titles 42-50 October 1

C.F.R. (Unofficial)

The revision schedule for unofficial versions of the C.F.R. is faster than the quarterly revision schedule of the official C.F.R. To update regulations, you will need to determine how current the regulation is in the C.F.R. source that you are using and then search the Federal Register for information on your regulation from that currency date to the present.

On e-CFR, the currency date is above the text of the regulation. On Westlaw, click on the “Currentness” link above the text of the regulation in the C.F.R. to see the currency date. On Lexis, find the currency date in the preliminary information above the text of the regulation in the C.F.R.

C.F.R. (Official)

Regulations in the official Code of Federal Regulations can be updated by following the steps below:

  1. Find the text of the regulation in the annual edition of the C.F.R., and make note of the revision date of the title.
  2. Check the most recent pamphlet of LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected in print or LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected available electronically on govinfo. Note that references in the LSA are to page numbers in the Federal Register.
  3. Check for changes after the dates listed on the title page of the LSA by using the cumulative list of "CFR Parts Affected during [month]" in the Reader Aids section of the latest Federal Register issue.
  4. Check the Federal Register issues cited, if any, to see the text of the changes to the regulation.

Using Citators for the C.F.R.

Citator services (KeyCite on Westlaw or Shepard's on Lexis) will provide references to cases, administrative decisions, and secondary sources that cite to your C.F.R. section.  

KeyCite’s red flag will alert you if a regulation has been amended by a final or adopted rule, repealed, superseded, or held unconstitutional or preempted in whole or in part. KeyCite’s yellow flag will alert you if a proposed rule is available, a court decision has questioned the regulation’s validity, or a prior version has received negative treatment from a court.

Shepard’s signals do not indicate if there are adopted changes or proposed amendments to the regulation; you should check the Pending & Adopted tab in the Shepard's report.