Skip to Main Content

Law School Home

Federal Regulations: Overview

What Are Regulations?

Administrative regulations are promulgated by government agencies under the authority delegated by Congress. For more information about federal regulations and agency's rulemaking power, see the Treatise Finder page on Administrative Law.


There was basically no uniform and systematic governmental publication of federal regulations and rules before 1935. The only attempt from the Federal government to publish administrative rules and regulations was the Official Bulletin of the United States, which covers state papers, executive orders, proclamations, addresses and regulations issued by agencies from May 1917 to March 1919.

As an unintended outcome of a landmark Supreme Court case Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388 (1935), Congress passed the Federal Register Act in 1935, which requires Federal government publish all the administrative rules and regulations, Presidential proclamations and executive orders and any other documents that have "general applicability and legal effect" in the Federal Register. Federal Register was then first published in 1936. Two years later, the annual codification of Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, was first published. 

Need Help?

This guide was created and updated by Michigan Law Reference Librarians.


  Call us at 734-764-9324

text message icon Text us at 734-329-5606

twitter bird icon Tweet @ us!

  Email us at Emails are answered by Librarians between 8AM and 6PM, Monday-Friday

  Consult with us. Schedule an appointment to meet with a Reference Librarian.

  Visit us at the Reference Desk on Sub-1 for immediate in-person assistance.