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The Federal Documents Collection at Thurgood Marshall Law Library
Last Updated: Oct 5, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Administrative Law Print Page


The executive branch of Government enforces the laws of the land. The President receives advice and assistance from the Vice President, Cabinet heads and their executive department agencies, and independent agencies. The powers and functions of the agencies are granted by statutes.

Enabling statutes give agencies the authority to promulgate regulations on designated matters. Regulations are published in the Federal Register and are then annually codified in the official Code of Federal Regulations available on FDsys and in print. For a currently updated although unofficial version of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) compiled by the government, you may wish to use

Because administrative law can be complex, it's is often essential to start with background research using secondary sources. Secondary sources including government websites, law review articles, and treatises on a subject area or administrative law generally can help you understand the powers and structure of the administrative agencies governing your issues and point you to relevant legal framework found in statutes, regulations and other administrative materials.

Basic Sources of Federal Administrative Law
Office of the President Materials
Federal Agencies


Administrative Law

Federal Register

The chronological compilation of new and amended regulations, both proposed and final.

Code of Federal Regulations

The federal compilation of administrative regulations currently in force, and is published annually, so must be updated to reflect regulations that are newly promulgated, revised, or repealed.


A current unofficial electronic version of the C.F.R., eCFR is essentially an editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments, so many researchers use the eCFR as an updating tool; the current update status is printed at the top of e-CFR pages. Using the eCFR makes it unnecessary to use the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA) to update regulations.  However, Boolean searching is not yet possible in this version – you must browse by C.F.R. title and part.

List of C.F.R. Sections Affected (LSA)

LSA is an updating tool to update the CFR, and can be used to track a regulation through the Federal Register.


Office of the President

Presidential materials such as Executive Orders (EO's), Proclamations, Determinations, Memoranda, Messages to Congress, Speeches, and Press Conferences are published in the Public Papers of the President and the Compilation of Presidential Documents, available on FDsys (dates of coverage vary).


Administrative Agencies

Agency web sites may include statutes and regulations relating to the activities of the agency.  Advantages of using an agency web site include the fact that they are free of charge and one need not know the precise citation to statutes and regulations in order to locate them.  Be aware, however, that some such sites do not provide sufficient information as to the source or currency of the information provided.

Executive Departments

Independent Agencies and Government Corporations
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Quasi-Official Agencies--Required by statute to publish certain information in the Federal Register, but not officially executive agencies.

Learn More About the Executive Branch

Learn more about the Executive Branch in Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids


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