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LRAW Research Spring 2023

Citing Federal Regulations Generally

For instructions on how to cite to a federal regulation generally, see Rule B14 and Rule 14.2 of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

In its simplest form, the correct citation for a federal regulation has two basic parts:

  1. The published source in which the regulation may be found; and 
  2. The date of the code edition cited.

Whenever available, cite federal regulations to the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).  

We will use the two examples below to explain how to cite to federal regulations in the C.F.R.

29 C.F.R. pt. 1980 (2021).

29 C.F.R. § 1980.103 (2021).

1. Published Source in Which the Regulation May Be Found

The published source in which the regulation may be found is broken down into three parts:

  1. The title of the C.F.R. in which the regulation is found;
  2. The abbreviation of the Code of Federal Regulations; and
  3. The section or part of the regulation being cited.                                                                     

 2. Date of Code Edition Cited

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is published in 50 subject matter titles on a staggered, quarterly basis as follows: Titles 1-16 are revised as of January 1st, titles 17-27 are revised as of April 1st, titles 28-41 are revised as of July 1st, and titles 42-50 are revised as of October 1st.  You should cite to the most recent edition of the C.F.R.  For our examples, part 1980 of Title 29 of the CFR was revised on July 1, 2021, so we will use 2021 for the date in our citations.

Example 1:  29 C.F.R. pt. 1980 (2021).  29 is the Title of the C.F.R. "pt." is the abbreviation for "part".  1980 is the numerical designation for the part.  2021 is the date of publication of the regulation being cited.

Example 2:  29 C.F.R. § 1980.103 (2021).  29 is the Title of the C.F.R. 1980 is the numerical designation for the part.  103 is the section within the part that is being cited.  Section numbers are set apart from part numbers by decimal points.  When a specific section is being cited, instead of an entire part, the abbreviation for part is not used, but a section symbol is used before the part-section number.  2021 is the date of publication of the regulation being cited.

Every free-standing citation has a period at the end.

Citing to the Federal Register

Sometimes, you may need to cite to the Federal Register, which publishes rules and regulations before they are published in their finalized form in the Code of Federal Regulations.  Proposed rules, meeting notices, and guidance materials such as policy interpretations are also published in the Federal Register, using the same format. 

A proper citation to the Federal Register should include:

 

  1. Any commonly used name of the rule or regulation;
  2. The volume and page on which the rule or regulations begins (and the pincite if citing to a particular part of the regulation); and
  3. The date.

 

For a publication of final rules in the Federal Register, you must also include the place where it is to be codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, if it is indicated.

Rule 14.2 of The Bluebook has more on how to cite to the Federal Register.

 

A citation to a regulation published in the Federal Register can be broken out into several components.  In the following example, the complete citation is written as:

Amendment to Incorporation by Reference in Safety Standard for High Chairs, 87 Fed. Reg. 42636, July 18, 2022 (to be codified at 16 CFR §1231.2).

The commonly used name of the regulation is: Amendment to Incorporation by Reference in Safety Standard for High Chairs. A comma is used after the name of the regulation, to separate it from the regulation's location in the Federal Register.

87 is the volume of the Federal Register (abbreviated Fed. Reg. ) containing the regulation, and 42636 is the page number within the volume where the regulation begins.

July 18, 2022 is the date of the regulation's final publication in the Federal Register.  16 C.F.R. §1231.2 is the place where the regulation is published in the Code of Federal Regulations. This citation references a specific section within Title 16 related to Consumer Product Safety.

Every free-standing citation includes a period at the end.

 

Examples of Citations to Federal Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations

Citing a "Part"                29•C.F.R.•pt.•1980•(2021).

Citing a "Section"                 29•C.F.R.•§•1980.103•(2021).  

Each title of the C.F.R. is revised once a year, on a staggered quarterly basis.  Cite the most recent edition.  The annual update cycle is as follows:  Titles 1-6 are revised as of January 1; Titles 17-27 are revised as of April 1; Titles 28-41 are revised as of July 1; and Titles 42-50 are revised as of October 1.

Federal Register

Citing a "final rule":  

Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 76 Fed. Reg. 68,092 (Nov. 3, 2011) (to be codified at 29 C.F.R. pt. 1980).

 

Citing proposed rules, guidance materials, & other notices: 

Meeting Notice, 65 Fed. Reg. 3415 (Jan. 21, 2000).