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Statutes: US and state codes  

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2013 URL: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/statutes Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Getting Started

This guide is designed to help you understand and find statutes (codes or acts).  It is not meant to be comprehensive. For a complete guide of legislative materials, check out this HLS guide to Legislative History

Here's a great tutorial on statutory research from the Georgetown Law Library.

For all other research help at HLS, email, call, chat, text us:  Ask a Librarian.

Statutes are laws enacted by legislatures, such as the US Congress.  Statutes are typically the place to begin research of primary legal sources.  Subject only to constitutional control, they authorize promulgation of administrative regulations and can overturn or modify court decisions that themselves are sometimes concerned with staturory interpretation. 

In the US, both the federal government and individual states have the power to pass statutes or laws. Some laws are handled exclusively by the federal government or Congress, while others are handled exclusively by the states.  Still other laws are the subject of both state and federal governance.

This guide is arranged as follows:

    Subject Guide

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    Lisa Junghahn
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    Ljunghahn@law.harvard.edu
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    Biography:
    I specialize in administrative law, and business & corporate law. I help students to research corporations, securities regulations, capital markets, financial institutions, bankruptcy courts, tax laws, M&A transactions, antitrust laws and small companies. My favorite statute is Dodd Frank and my favorite agency is the CFTC. My favorite document is the US Constitution. I especially admire the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
     

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