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Circuit Riders: Finding South Carolina Statutes

Basic Legal Research Training

Finding South Carolina Statutes in Print

There are four methods for locating South Carolina statutes in print— by citation, by popular name, using the table of contents, and by subject.
 

By CitationSC Code Annotated, Title 41 volume.

You may find relevant South Carolina statutes cited in cases, journal articles, and books, or referenced in the annotations to another statute.

If you know the citation to a South Carolina statute, you can locate it in the print South Carolina Code Annotated by going to the volume that contains the title of the statute and turning to its chapter and section.

For example, to locate 41-10-50 of the South Carolina Code Annotated, find the volume that contains Title 41 and turn to Chapter 10, Section 50.

 

General Index to SC Code Annotated; Popular Names Table is in the J to Z volume.

By Popular Name

Many laws, like South Carolina’s Clean Indoor Air Act, are referred to by their popular names. The J-Z Index volume, located at the end of the print South Carolina Code Annotated, contains a Popular Names Table that provides an alphabetical list of South Carolina statutes by popular name and their locations in the South Carolina Code Annotated.

For example, the Clean Indoor Air Act of 1990 is listed in the Popular Names Table to the South Carolina Code Annotated as beginning at Title 44, Chapter 95, Section 10 (§ 44-95-10).

 Entry in the Popular Names Table for the Clean Indoor Air Act of 1990, beginning at 44-95-10.

Table of Contents

Once you find a statute that applies to your legal issue, it is always a good idea to browse the Table of Contents at the beginning of that title or chapter. Surrounding code sections may contain applicable definitions, procedures that must be followed, or even exceptions to the statute you found. 
For example, South Carolina's Payment of Wages laws include a Definitions statute (§ 42-10-10) that may be helpful when researching payment of wages.

Table of Contents for Title 41, Chapter 10, Payment of wages, including section 41-10-10 Definitions and section 41-10-50 Payment of wages due discharged employees.

General Index to SC Code Annotated.

By Subject

If you do not have a citation to a particular South Carolina statute, you will need to research relevant statutes by subject. There are two index volumes designated A-I and J-Z, located at the end of the official print South Carolina Code Annotated.

Each index contains an alphabetical list of topics with references to South Carolina statutes relevant to that topic. If the first topic you look up in the index does not work, the index may refer you to a different topic that is more helpful.

For example, if you look in the J-Z index under "wages" to find the law in South Carolina that requires employers to pay wages to discharged employees, the index directs you to the topic "Compensation and salaries, generally" in the A-I index, where you will find the relevant statute under the subtopic "Discharged employees."

There is also an index in the back of each volume of the South Carolina Code Annotated for the title(s) contained in that volume.

Index entry for "discharged employees" under "compensation and salaries" that references section 41-10-50.

Finding South Carolina Statutes for Free Online

The official South Carolina statutes are published in the print South Carolina Code Annotated.

South Carolina Legislature home page; link to Code of Laws is located near the bottom-left part of the page.

 

The unofficial and un-annotated South Carolina Code of Laws is available for free online through the South Carolina Legislature website. The website allows you to search for a statute by citation, browse statutes by title and chapter, and search by keyword or popular name.
 

From its Archives page, you can also browse previous versions of the South Carolina Code back through 2000.

 

 

 

Finding South Carolina Statutes Using Agency Websites

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Administrative agencies often include links on their websites to the major laws they enforce. The South Carolina Legislature website provides a link to an alphabetical listing of links to South Carolina State Agency Websites.

Examples include the following:

Finding Other State Statutes for Free Online

Map of the United States.

 

 

Every state has an official print version of its code of laws. States also provide free versions of their current state codes on the Internet. Most are unofficial and un-annotated.

Several sites on the free web provide links for all state legislative websitesTwo examples are Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute’s Listing by Jurisdiction and FindLaw’s U.S. Codes and Statutes page.

 

Finding State Statutes Using Subscription Databases

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South Carolina colleges and universities and public libraries may provide access to South Carolina and all other state annotated codes through subscriptions to Westlaw or LexisNexis.

Some public library systems in South Carolina, like Richland Library shown on the right, offer public access to Westlaw for its members. The University of South Carolina subscribes to NexisUni™ (formerly LexisNexis Academic).

With access to Westlaw or NexisUni, you can search for South Carolina statutes by citation, popular name, using the table of contents, and by keyword search. Westlaw also includes an index. South Carolina statutes in both databases are annotated.