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Legal Research Manual

This edition of Legal Research Manual builds on many previous editions. While the manual is designed principally for use with the first year legal research classes, upper year law students will also find it a useful reference.

US Federal and State Legislation

Federal and state legislation is available from Lexis Advance Quicklaw Plus and also individual law students' Westlaw Edge Canada accounts (see the "International" tab). Some legislation, particularly current legislation, may be freely available online. Cornell Law School's LII (Legal Information Institute) is a good starting point.

United States Code

The United States Code (U.S.C.) is the current consolidation of federal statutes. All federal statutes in force are broken down into 51 Titles, with each Title covering a broad subject category (e.g. Title 29 contains all federal legislation dealing with Labor Law).

The U.S. Code is freely available online from multiple sources, including LII.

The U.S. Code Service is available from Lexis Advance Quicklaw Plus. It contains the 53 titles of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Court Rules, selected provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as a selection of treaties and international agreements, all fully annotated.

Individual law students' Westlaw Edge Canada accounts include the United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.), which contains in addition to the text of codified statute law, legislative history notes and annotations to case law.

United States Statutes At Large

These are the sessional volumes. They are not often cited, as each Public Law as passed is broken up and assigned to the appropriate subject classification in the US Code.

US Code Congressional and Administrative News

Contains legislative histories of each public law, and the text of statutes passed during the current year: useful for finding statutes that have not yet been published in the Statutes at Large or the U.S.C.A.

Federal Regulations

US federal regulations are first published in the Federal Register, a daily publication. As with the US Code, federal regulations are also codified by subject in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.). The C.F.R. is also broken down into 50 Titles corresponding to the US Code.

State Legislation

Most state legislation is published similar to the federal model (i.e. sessional volumes of statutes and a code of statutes in force arranged by subjects).

Lexis Advance Quicklaw Plus contains state legislation and codes, including in annotated form if available. Law students' individual accounts for Westlaw Edge Canada will also have state-level legislation, often annotated (see the "International" tab).

Restatements and Uniform Laws

American jurisprudence frequently refers to the American Law Institute Restatements of the Law or to the Uniform State Laws.

The Restatements present an orderly restatement of US common law and of judicial interpretation of statutes. The restatements are not codes, but secondary sources, i.e., they are "black letter" rules of law which would be applied by courts. The American Law Institute looks at precedent, but may also espouse minority rules.

Restatements exist for a number of areas including agency, conflicts, contracts, foreign relations, judgments, property, restitution, securities, torts, and trusts. Appendix volumes list court decisions which have considered the restatements.

The National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State laws recommends uniform laws to be adopted by individual states. The most noted example is the Uniform Commercial Code. Uniform Laws Annotated (available via law students' individual WestlawNext Canada accounts) is a series reproducing all uniform laws and indicates which states have adopted them.

Use the American Law Institute Library on HeinOnline to find Restatements. You can also use Omni to search for specific Restatements.