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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Law

This guide provides a basic introduction to U.S. legal research and to primary legal resources in the United States. Comparative and foreign research guides are also included.

Understanding Primary Legal Sources

Primary source refers to sources of law.  These include texts of legal bodies which include rules that govern a jurisdiction.

All branches of government produce laws and regulations.  Understanding the legal system helps focus your research. This chart reviews the process of enacting federal law.  State law is produced in a similar manner.

 

 

 

The Constitution
↓ ↓ ↓

 


 

Branch of Govt.

Judicial

Legislative

Executive

 

Type of Law Produced

Case Law

Statutes

Regulations

 

Chronological Publication of Law

Case Law Reporters

Session Laws (Stat. at Large)

 The Federal Register

 

Publication of Law By Subject

None

United States Code (USC)

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

 

  Laws and regulations are published in codes by subject.  Case law is not published by subject.

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