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Georgetown Law Library

New York Resources

This State Guide lists the major sources of law in New York.

Statutes

Consolidated Laws

Currently in-force laws of a public, general, and permanent nature are compiled into code by subject areas for easier access. In New York state, the subject compiled code is called the Consolidated Laws of New York. The Consolidated Laws of New York were first published in 1909. In print, each volume has a distinct subject title and chapter number. The number of Consolidated Laws has expanded from 61 in 1909 to over 90 today. Unlike the federal government and other state governments, New York state does not publish a current official version of its code. A free web version of the laws, New York State Consolidated Laws, is available on the State Assembly website, but it is not certified as containing the official text of the Consolidated Laws. There are two annotated versions of the Consolidated Laws by commercial publishers: McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated and New York Consolidated Laws Service.

Some laws, such as court acts, the New York City Charter and Administrative Code, and other special laws, are not part of the Consolidated Laws. These are called Unconsolidated Laws.

Where to find Consolidated Laws

Where to find Unconsolidated Laws

Where to find Historical Statutes

Finding the Law that Covers Your NY Legal Issue

Finding the Sections

The first place to find the current law is Consolidated Laws of New York. Electronic versions (LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Web) are convenient to use if you have the citation. Electronic versions are usually more up to date, minimizing the need to update what you have already obtained. If all you have is a legal issue and you want to find out which sections of New York Consolidated Laws deal with it, Westlaw and the print versions are the most user friendly because of their subject indexes and popular name tables, which allow you to look up a legal concept by keyword or by popular name.

Updating the Sections

Even the electronic versions of the Consolidated Laws (LexisNexis, Westlaw, Web) are not current up to the minute. Depending on the purpose of your research, you may need to check newly enacted chapter laws and pending legislation to determine if your sections will be affected and when. Both LexisNexis and Westlaw tell you how current their Consolidated Laws databases are (i.e., which current chapter laws have been incorporated).

Updating Consolidated Laws in Print

New York Consolidated Laws Service (Lexis): Call Number: State 1st Floor KFN5030 1976 .A23 (currently updated in Law Library)

  1. Find the section in the main volumes (using the citation you have or have found by checking an subject index or popular name table).

  2. Check the cumulative supplement either inside the back cover of the main volume or shelved next to it. The cover of the cumulative supplement usually tells you how current it is: "Contains all changes in the law enacted through and including chapter 671 of the 2004 session of the Legislature." If you cannot find your section in the pocket part, this means that your section has not been changed between the time of the publication of the main volume and the time of the publication of the pocket part.

  3. Check the "table of laws affected" in the latest annual New York Consolidated Laws Service Session Laws, which may include chapter laws not covered by the pocket part.

  4. Check the "table of laws affected" in ALL (not cumulative) of the monthly issues of Advance Legislative Services for the New York Consolidated Laws Service (State 1st Floor KFN5030 1976 .A23, currently updated in Law Library) published since the annual New York Consolidated Laws Service Session Laws.

McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated (West): Call Number: State 1st Floor KFN5030 1939 .A3 (canceled in Law Library in 2014. Currently updated edition held by Library of Congress. See that library's policies prior to visiting.)

  1. Find the section in the main volumes (using a citation you have or have found by checking a subject index or popular name table).

  2. Check the annual pocket part inside the back cover of the main volume. The cover of the pocket part usually tells you how current it is, e.g., "Current through the Laws of 2004, Chapter 258 of the 227th Session." If you cannot find your section in the pocket part, this means that your section has not been changed between the time of the publication of the main volume and the time of the publication of the pocket part.

  3. Check the "table of laws affected" in the latest annual McKinney's Session Laws of New York (at Library of Congress)  which may include chapter laws not covered by the pocket part.

  4. Check the "table of laws affected" in ALL (not cumulative) of the monthly issues of McKinney's Session Law News of New York (at Library of Congress) published since the annual McKinney's Session Laws of New York.

Research Guides

New York City Administrative Code

The Administrative Code for New York City is the codified city laws. Similar to the state code, it is compiled by subject and consists of 30 titles.

City Code Research Guide:

Statutory Research Tutorial

Running time: 4:02 minutes

Created/updated: January 2019
Last reviewed: January 2019

When you begin a video and hover your cursor over the video window, you are offered several options:

  1. Closed captioning
  2. Search (searches the captions, can take you directly to the point in the video where a specific word is mentioned)
  3. Playback speed (faster or slower)
  4. Full screen mode