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Legal Research for UNT Students

Resources for students new to legal research

What are Agency Rules and Regulations?

When Congress decides to regulate in a certain area, it will enact a statute which delegates the power to issue specific rules and regulations to an administrative agency that specializes in that area. In other words, when a law is passed by Congress, the law authorizes executive agencies to promulgate rules that interpret and fill in the administrative details of that law. These regulations have the force and effect of law.

The Federal Rulemaking Process

Administrative Law

Administrative law is a complicated category of law. Administrative law encompasses a wide assortment of materials, including the following:

  • Executive orders, proclamations, and reorganization plans issued by the President.
  • Rules and regulations issued by executive and independent agencies that have the force of statutory law.
  • Administrative decisions made by administrative agencies. 

 This page describes the most important administrative materials and how to find them in the library and online.

Internet Resources and Databases

The main difference between the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is that the Code is a compilation of regulations that have been promulgated and have the force of law.  The Register is a daily report of regulations that are working their way through the process of becoming finalized.  For current regulations, search the Code of Federal Regulations.  For proposed and pending regulations, search the Federal Register.

Federal Register

All proposed and final regulations are first published by the Government Printing Office (GPO) in chronological order in the Federal Register.  


Located in the Sycamore Library

Web (Free)

Federal Register Online via GPO 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. This site offers searching and browsing of proposed and final regulations. This site also serves as the mechanism for public comment on proposed changes or new rules. (current regulations only): This website is your source for information on the development of Federal regulations and other related documents issued by the U.S. government. Through this site, you can find, read, and comment on regulatory issues that are important to you.

Subscription Databases

HeinOnline (1936 – current): The Federal Register is updated on a daily basis. Its coverage is comprehensive and begins from inception (1936).

Nexis Uni (January 1, 1936 – current)



Code of Federal Regulations

Next, regulations are then codified by subject in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.). The C.F.R. is organized in to 50 broad subject titles, and is revised annually.


 Located in the Sycamore Library

Web (Free)

C.F.R. via GPO The C.F.R. annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

C.F.R. via Cornell's Legal Information Institute (LII): Search and browse the most current edition of the CFR.

Subscription Databases

HeinOnline (1938 - current): The HeinOnline Code of Federal Regulations includes comprehensive coverage, with more than 8,500 volumes dating back to inception (1938).

Nexi Uni (1938 – current)


Additional Links