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Legal Research

This research guide introduces users to the legal research process. If you're new to legal research, it's best to follow this guide step-by-step.

Federal Legislative Process

For explanations of the legislative process, consult one of the following sources:

The Legislative Process (Library of Congress)

How Our Laws Are Made(Library of Congress)

Learn About Congress (The Center on Congress at Indiana University)

Statutes & Regulations--Publication Process


Federal statutes are published in the following order: first as slip laws ; then as session laws in U.S.C.C.A.N. and United States Statutes at Large (Stat.) ; next as code in the United States Code ; and finally as annotated code.

The U.S. Code is arranged in fifty subjects known as Titles. Titles are divided into chapters and then into sections. After each statutory section in the U.S. Codethere is a reference to its source in the Statutes at Large, including sources for any amendments.


Regulations are published in two basic formats, first chronologically and later are arranged into subjects. The Federal Register (FR) is issued every business day. Regulations are later published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which is arranged by issuing agency and subject.