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Circuit Riders: Legal Research Training for Non-Lawyers

Uniform Laws & Model Acts

The Uniform Law Commission, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), proposes uniform laws for use by state legislatures to promote clarity and stability among the states in critical areas of law.

Model acts are laws proposed by entities such as the American Law Institute (Model Penal Code) and the American Bar Association (Model Rules of Professional Responsibility) to serve as guidelines for states to adopt any or all of its provisions as they deem appropriate.

A uniform law or model act is not the law in any state until that state’s legislature adopts it. Even then, the uniform law or model act may be amended as that state determines necessary.

Once the SC General Assembly adopts a uniform law or model act, it becomes law in South Carolina as adopted and is published in the South Carolina Code Annotated.

For example, South Carolina, along with all other states, has adopted the Uniform Commercial Code. South Carolina’s version of the Uniform Commercial Code can be found in Title 36 of the South Carolina Code Annotated.

Uniform laws and model acts are indexed by subject in the A-I and J-Z indexes and are listed in the Popular Names Index to the South Carolina Code Annotated.

The text of all uniform laws proposed by the Uniform Law Commission can be found on their website. The Uniform Law Commission also maintains a database on its website of uniform laws adopted and being considered by individual states.

The Uniform Laws Annotated (ULA), published by Thomson Reuters in print and on Westlaw, contains the text of many uniform laws and model acts. You may use the ULA index to locate laws by subject, by name, and by adopting state. The ULA also contains annotations, which include the various changes made to each uniform law by individual adopting states.