Law Library Stacks


Administrative law, commonly called regulatory law, is created and enforced by an administrative body, i.e., Department of Labor, the Federal Communications Commission, or the President. Depending on whether the agency is executive, legislative or independent will determine from whom it derives its power to issue regulations and its right to enforce them. The U.S. Government Manual or the Federal Regulatory Directory can be used to learn about individual agencies and are available at the Reference Desk. Both of these titles are published annually and include a description of all the executive departments and many independent agencies.

Administrative agencies have two major functions, rulemaking and enforcement (adjudication). The Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551, et.seq) provides the rulemaking requirements, hearing procedures, and adjudicatory standards and procedures for the agencies. The primary sources for administrative rulemaking are the Federal Register (FR) and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations and U.S. Government Manual are available electronically on GPO FDsys (coverage begins in the mid-1990s for each source). Enforcement decisions are published in a variety of case reporting systems, for instance, the Decisions and Orders of the National Labor Relations Board and FCC Record. Electronically, current decisions can be found on some agency-specific web sites.

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Presidential & Executive Branch Material

Presidential and other Executive branch materials are published as administrative materials because the President and his cabinet members execute law by issuing orders, directives, regulations, and decisions. Presidential documents are published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 3. However, the best source is the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents because it includes press releases and signing statements as well as executive orders and proclamations. Current Presidential materials are located on the White House web site The National Archives web site provides a variety of Presidential resources; Presidential Libraries information, the Public Papers of the President, beginning with Ronald Reagan, and an Executive Orders disposition table that indicates the Orders that have been superseded. The print edition of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is located on Row 5.

The Federal Register, published daily Monday through Friday, contains Presidential documents, proposed, interim, and final rules and regulations, and notices of hearings, decisions, investigations and committee meetings. A volume number is assigned each year, and the pagination is continuous throughout the year. A legal citation, 61 FR 60396, refers to the volume number (61) and the page (60396) on which the information is printed. Rulemaking requirements provide that agencies publish proposed rules in the Federal Register and accept comments before promulgating a final regulation. When the rule is final, it is published in its entirety in the Federal Register. If the rule or regulation amends one of the fifty (50) subject areas in the Code of Federal Regulations, it will be published there also. The print edition of Federal Register is located on Row 28 (five years of coverage; earlier print issues are located in the closed stacks or can be viewed on microform). Additionally, the Federal Register is available electronically at any of the Reading Room public workstations through the HeinOnline database.

The Code of Federal Regulations is the codified form of rules and regulations issued by federal agencies. It is arranged by subject and has fifty titles (or subject areas). The legal citation, 26 CFR 1.101-1, refers to the title number (26) and the section number (1.101-1). The CFR is published in its entirety every year with a quarterly publication of the titles in January, April, July, and October. Each year the color of the covers change. The annual publication began in 1967. Prior to 1967, annual pocket parts or supplements were published. Updating a CFR is done through the use of the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA) and the Federal Register (FR). The List of CFR Sections Affected is a cumulative monthly publication that lists the titles and sections that have changed and indicates the page on which the change can be found in the Federal Register. If the LSA is not available, the Reader Aids section of the Federal Register can be used to determine if any changes occurred during the month. Like the CFR and FR, the LSA is available on GPO FDsys. The current edition of the Code of Federal Regulations and the List of CFR Sections Affected are located on Row 28. Earlier print editions are located in the closed stacks or can be viewed on microform.

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Agency Specific Material

Agency hearing decisions are published in official reporters and in many commercially published sources. The rulings by an administrative law judge or administrative tribunal are available in both print and electronic formats. For example, administrative hearing opinions from the National Labor Relations Board are available in the print sources, Decisions and Orders of the National Labor Relations Board (Government Printing Office, Row 23) and Labor Relations Reference Manual (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Row 23), and electronically on the National Labor Relations Board web site For a listing of official and commercial titles of agency decisions, see How to Find the Law, Appendix D, 9th ed, located at the Reference Desk or you can visit the University of Virginia Library web site at: (external link)> to see links to collections of online federal administrative agency decisions arranged by agency name and subject.

Since some hearing rulings or orders are appealed to a United States Court of Appeals, these decisions can be found in print sources, (ex. West's Federal Reporter, Row 30) or specialty reporters, (ex West's Veterans Appeals Reporter, Row 32), or electronically on the U. S. Courts web site

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Looking For...


Budget of the United States
Print: Budget of the United States Government (GPO),
Note: Four volumes: 1) Budget, 2) Analytical Perspectives, 3) Historical Tables, 4) Appendix
May be purchased at GPO bookstore or online at GPO FDsys
Electronic: GPO FDsys or

Clean Air Act regulations
Print: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, parts 50-99
Electronic: (under subheading Laws, Regulations, & Dockets) or GPO FDsys

Revenue rulings from the Internal Revenue Service
Print: IRS Cumulative Bulletin
Note: Regulations Series #33 and #34 [Revenue regulations prior to the CFR] were reprinted in the 63rd Congress, 1st Session House Document 270 (Serial Set volume 6548)

Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences decision
Print: United States Patent Quarterly
Note: If you have a citation, go to the volume and page number
If you do not have a citation, the U. S. Patent Quarterly Digest should be used to find the citation.

A Listing of Agencies and contact information
Print: United States Government Manual or Congressional Quarterly's Federal Regulatory Directory

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Last Updated: 02/28/2014