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Legal Resources

A research guide to the major Ohio University Libraries' resources for legal and legislative topics.

Statutory, Case & Administrative Law

Majesty of Law Rayburn.

There are three types of law in the US:   

  • Statutory law includes the bills passed by federal and state legislators.  

    • The U.S. Code is a topical arrangement of all of the federal laws currently in force.  All states also publish codified laws. 

  • Case law refers to opinions issued by the courts. 

    • These opinions have the force of law.  

  • Administrative or regulatory law refers to the rules issued by the executive branches of the government.

    • e.g. the federal or state EPA.  The administrative law of U.S. federal government is compiled in the Code of Federal Regulations (or the C.F.R.); for Ohio, it is the Ohio Administrative Code.

First, Google It!

Yes, a librarian is telling you to Google it....  

The text of bills and laws at every level are increasingly available free online from the governmental bodies that create them.

If that doesn't do it, there are lots of other places to go looking, which you will find attached to this guide. 

Confusing things to watch out for:  

  • What you are looking is a little piece of something much bigger
  • The piece you are researching was never made it into law
  • The popular name or the number it is assigned changes as it goes through legislative action 
  • It is (or is not) the target of a media campaign, disinformation strike, Reddit meme, etc. 
  • Multi-session efforts to get the same law passed
  • The bill passes as a rider on something that has nothing to do with its topic

Lexis Uni: Look Here Next