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Legal Studies

This guide is an introduction to resources on the subject of Law. It includes free online resources, subscription-based electronic resources only available to SJU students and faculty, and print material housed in the Drexel Library.

Laws? Acts? Statutes? Codes of Law?

 LAW <—> ACT <—> STATUTE    

       used interchangeably


United States Statutes at Large
official source and permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress


United States Code 
presents laws in a concise and usable form; organized by subject

Locating Federal Law

Two Important Notes: 

  • Laws are often referred to by 'common names' --- but would not necessarily be retrieved in formal databases by those names.
  • Laws get amended over the years, which means that the language of a law can be changed, added to, or deleted. Go to the United States Code for the version of a law that is currently in force.

Laws vs. Regulations: An Explanation

Congress, and only Congress, enacts laws at the federal level.

Federal executive departments and administrative agencies write federal regulations to implement the authority of laws. Regulations (as well as Executive Orders and Proclamations) are ancillary or subordinate to laws, but both laws and regulations are enforceable.

U.S. Statutes-at-Large
official chronologic compilation of all laws

U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
official compilation of codified regulations by subject

Federal Register
consists of two publications and should be used together to find the latest version of a regulation: the annually revised Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the daily Federal Register (FR)

Locating Federal Regulations

Selected Regulatory Sites