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Federal Regulations: Finding and Updating Regulations

Finding Regulations

Using CFR Tools

CFR Index and Finding Aids. 

The CFR Index and Finding Aids volume is revised once a year as of January 1. It contains:

  • A subject/agency index for rules currently codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
  • A list of agency-prepared indexes appearing in individual CFR volumes.
  • A table of laws and Presidential documents cited as authority for regulations currently codified in the CFR (i.e. Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules, below).
  • A list of CFR titles, chapters, subchapters, and parts.
  • An alphabetical list of agencies appearing in the CFR.

Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules. 

Use this table to find regulations relating to a statute or presidential proclamation. Within each segment the citations are arranged in numerical order:

  • For the United States Code, by title and section;
  • For the United States Statutes at Large, by volume and page number;
  • For public laws, by number; and
  • For Presidential documents (Proclamations, Executive orders, and Reorganization plans), by document number. 

Cases or Agency Decisions Citing Regulations

You may be able to find cases and agency decisions citing CFR or FR by the following methods:

  • Search directly in judicial case databases and Federal Agency decisions databases on Lexis, Westlaw or others.
  • For agency decisions, Hein's Federal Agency Library has a list of publications that have decisions from many different federal agencies. 
  • Individual agencies usually make their decisions available on their official website. Consult the U.S. Government Manual for current links to government agencies.
    • When you do a keyword search, using the CFR citation or FR citation as a keyword maybe the most efficient way to find relevant decisions and cases.
  • Commercial databases (Cheetah, RIA Checkpoint, etc.) provide cross-references to CFR or FR citation.

Updating Regulations

Is This Regulation Current?

The Code of Federal Regulations can't be republished every time a new regulation is finalized. Instead, the 50 titles are split into four sections, and each of those sections is updated once a year according to the following schedule:

  • Titles 1–16 are updated as of Jan. 1
  • Titles 17–27 are updated as of April 1
  • Titles 28–41 are updated as of July 1
  • Titles 42–50 are updated as of Oct. 1

Perhaps a new regulation that affects Title 3 is promulgated in April. The final regulation will be published in the Federal Register, but the change will not be reflected in the official CFR for several months.

How do you know the regulation you are looking at is the most recent one?

How to Find Out

1. Find the date of revision of the CFR volume that contains your regulation. It will say something like "Revised as of July 1, 2019." 

2. Browse LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected to update the regulation to the latest date you can, such as December 1, 2019. 

3. Browse CFR parts affected by Federal Register by date, or search by a date range.