Statutes & Constitutions Advanced Legal Research January 26, 2009
The Importance of Statutory Research <ul><li>When you begin researching a legal issue, you should always check to see if t...
The Importance of Statutory Research (cont’d) <ul><li>Starting research by looking up the controlling statute first is mor...
Researching Constitutional Provisions <ul><li>Free online sites </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.constitution.org/cs_found.ht...
Statutes -- Forms <ul><li>Slip laws : first version of newly enacted statute; issued by itself on a single sheet or as a p...
Statutes – Forms (cont’d) <ul><li>Session Laws : in this form, statutes are arranged by each legislative term </li></ul><u...
Statutes – Forms (cont’d) <ul><li>Codes : statutory compilation by subject </li></ul><ul><li>Only list the current laws in...
Researching Statutes <ul><li>Slip Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Level:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issued in print </li></ul><...
Researching Statutes <ul><li>Slip Laws (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>State level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely widely distrib...
Researching Statutes <ul><li>Session Laws  </li></ul><ul><li>At the federal level available through the  Statutes at Large...
Researching Statutes <ul><li>Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Official v. Unofficial </li></ul><ul><li>Unannotated Codes </li></ul>...
Researching Statutes <ul><li>Features of Annotated Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Finding Aids </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Descriptive ...
Researching Statutes  <ul><li>Features of Annotated Codes (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Historical & Statutory Notes: Helpful...
Researching Statutes <ul><li>Annotated Codes (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Federal:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print: USCA (West)...
Researching Statutes: Updates <ul><li>Pockets parts </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative Pamphlet Updates </li></ul><ul><li>Westl...
Researching Statutes:  Keyword Searching <ul><li>This method of researching will be addressed more in-depth later in the c...
Researching Statutes: Exercise <ul><li>What is the definition of ‘disability’ in the Americans with Disability Act? </li><...
Researching Regulations <ul><li>Regulation : A rule or order, having legal force, usually issued by an administrative agen...
Researching Regulations <ul><li>Federal Regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal Register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>...
Researching Regulations <ul><li>Federal Regulations (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Code of Federal Regulations </li></ul><...
Researching Regulations <ul><li>State regulations: vary by state; but usually are analogous to federal formats. </li></ul>...
Researching Court Rules <ul><li>Court Rules: rules regulating court proceedings. </li></ul><ul><li>Different layers of the...
Researching Court Rules <ul><li>Locating Court Rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Annotated Codes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cour...
Researching Municipal Ordinances <ul><li>Vary from city to city </li></ul><ul><li>Available often on the city’s web site a...
Municipal Ordinances <ul><li>Some cities have private venders publish their codes online: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Codes:  ...
Other Statutory Research Tools <ul><li>Multistate Research Sources </li></ul><ul><li>Westlaw & Lexis: databases that searc...
Other Statutory Research Tools <ul><li>Uniform Laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many state’s laws are based on Uniform Laws (e.g...
Other Statutory Research Tools <ul><li>KeyCite and Shepard’s Citations </li></ul><ul><li>You can enter a statutory citatio...
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Legal Statutory Research Presentation

  1. 1. Statutes & Constitutions Advanced Legal Research January 26, 2009
  2. 2. The Importance of Statutory Research <ul><li>When you begin researching a legal issue, you should always check to see if there is a relevant statute </li></ul><ul><li>More & more legislatures are enacting statutes in areas that were traditionally controlled by the common law. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Importance of Statutory Research (cont’d) <ul><li>Starting research by looking up the controlling statute first is more efficient, because annotated codes contain case citations and references to other relevant secondary sources. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Handout: Federal Reserve Act </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Westlaw </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Researching Constitutional Provisions <ul><li>Free online sites </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.constitution.org/cs_found.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>Westlaw/Lexis </li></ul><ul><li>Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Constitution of the United States: Analysis & Interpretation </li></ul>
  5. 5. Statutes -- Forms <ul><li>Slip laws : first version of newly enacted statute; issued by itself on a single sheet or as a pamphlet. </li></ul><ul><li>Slip Law are identified by a public law number . Example: Pub. L. 105-416  416 th law of the 104 th session of Congress </li></ul>
  6. 6. Statutes – Forms (cont’d) <ul><li>Session Laws : in this form, statutes are arranged by each legislative term </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constitute positive law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Codes, unless enacted into positive law, are usually prima facie evidence of statutory law </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Statutes – Forms (cont’d) <ul><li>Codes : statutory compilation by subject </li></ul><ul><li>Only list the current laws in force </li></ul><ul><li>Usually organized into a title, chapter, section structure </li></ul>
  8. 8. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Slip Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issued in print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Available at online through GPO Access in PDF format </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library of Congress’ Thomas website has final version of bill; searchable by bill number not by public law number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Searchable by public law number on Westlaw & Lexis </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Slip Laws (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>State level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely widely distributed through paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State legislatures have the slip laws available online </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Session Laws </li></ul><ul><li>At the federal level available through the Statutes at Large or USCCAN </li></ul><ul><li>Free online sources ; through state’s site or other non-fee based sites . </li></ul><ul><li>Westlaw / Lexis ; HeinOnline </li></ul>
  11. 11. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Official v. Unofficial </li></ul><ul><li>Unannotated Codes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>United States Code: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Free online sites: Cornell LII , GPO Access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State Codes: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Official Codes in print </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Available through state government’s website: NJ </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Features of Annotated Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Finding Aids </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Descriptive Word Index: Westlaw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular Name Table: Lemon Law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversion Tables </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Features of Annotated Codes (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Historical & Statutory Notes: Helpful in determining the intent of legislators </li></ul><ul><li>References to other secondary sources </li></ul><ul><li>Citations to cases construing the statute in question </li></ul>
  14. 14. Researching Statutes <ul><li>Annotated Codes (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Federal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print: USCA (West), USCS (Lexis) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online: Westlaw, Lexis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>State: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print: Title varies by state and publisher </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Researching Statutes: Updates <ul><li>Pockets parts </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative Pamphlet Updates </li></ul><ul><li>Westlaw/Lexis: section will note when it was last updated; very current usually </li></ul><ul><li>Always check for last update on free website; might be out-of-date </li></ul>
  16. 16. Researching Statutes: Keyword Searching <ul><li>This method of researching will be addressed more in-depth later in the course </li></ul><ul><li>Usually, a good idea to limit your search as much as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Caveat: keyword searching only pulls up individual code sections </li></ul>
  17. 17. Researching Statutes: Exercise <ul><li>What is the definition of ‘disability’ in the Americans with Disability Act? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Westlaw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lexis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cornell Legal Information Institute: Lii </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Researching Regulations <ul><li>Regulation : A rule or order, having legal force, usually issued by an administrative agency </li></ul>
  19. 19. Researching Regulations <ul><li>Federal Regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal Register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Print </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Free: GPO Access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>HeinOnline </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Westlaw/Lexis </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Researching Regulations <ul><li>Federal Regulations (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Code of Federal Regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>50 titles; organized by agency; updated by LSA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Print: West publishing an excellent index; USCS has extensive references to CFR citations in statutory volumes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GPO Access: CFR & eCFR (beta) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>HeinOnline </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Westlaw/Lexis </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Researching Regulations <ul><li>State regulations: vary by state; but usually are analogous to federal formats. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NJ – Print Regulations – NJ Administrative Code : On Reserve; Finding Aid: Index </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Available usually on state’s web site: NJ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Westlaw/Lexis </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Researching Court Rules <ul><li>Court Rules: rules regulating court proceedings. </li></ul><ul><li>Different layers of the legal system have different court rules; sometimes there are overlapping court rules </li></ul>
  23. 23. Researching Court Rules <ul><li>Locating Court Rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Annotated Codes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court’s web site -- 3d Cir -- or free web sites: LII </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stand-alone volumes for state jurisdictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NJ: Gann Online </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>West Court Rules of NJ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other secondary sources: NJ Practice & Federal Practice & Procedure </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Researching Municipal Ordinances <ul><li>Vary from city to city </li></ul><ul><li>Available often on the city’s web site and less and less in print </li></ul>
  25. 25. Municipal Ordinances <ul><li>Some cities have private venders publish their codes online: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Codes: http://www.generalcode.com/webcode2.html#newj </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coded Systems Corporation: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.codedsystems.com/newservices.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- Lexis: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com / </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Other Statutory Research Tools <ul><li>Multistate Research Sources </li></ul><ul><li>Westlaw & Lexis: databases that search all state statutes comprehensively </li></ul><ul><li>Cornell LII </li></ul><ul><li>Topical Looseleaf Services: Labor Relations Reporter </li></ul><ul><li>National Survey of State Laws (print) </li></ul><ul><li>Subject Compilations of State Laws (print) </li></ul><ul><li>Westlaw’s 50 State Surveys (SURVEYS) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Other Statutory Research Tools <ul><li>Uniform Laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many state’s laws are based on Uniform Laws (e.g. Model Penal Code) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uniform Laws Annotated available in print and online (Westlaw); the Uniform Acts are also available on Lexis; Cornell LII </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Other Statutory Research Tools <ul><li>KeyCite and Shepard’s Citations </li></ul><ul><li>You can enter a statutory citation into these databases to find additional cases and law review articles that construe or analyze the statute in question </li></ul>

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