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LRAW Research Spring 2025

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 (2022).

29 C.F.R. § 1980.103 (2022).

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 last revised and issued on July 1, 2022, so we will use 2022 for the date in our citations. Reminder, every free-standing citation has a period at the end.

Example 1:  29 C.F.R. pt. 1980 (2022).  29 is the Title of the C.F.R. "pt." is the abbreviation for "part".  1980 is the numerical designation for the part.  2022 is the date of publication of the regulation being cited.


Example 2:  29 C.F.R. § 1980.103 (2022).  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.  2022 is the date of publication of the regulation being cited.



Citing to the Federal Register

Sometimes, you may need to cite to the Federal Register, which publishes rules and regulations before they are codified and 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:

  • name of the regulation =  Amendment to Incorporation by Reference in Safety Standard for High Chairs
  • volume in the Federal Register (abbreviated at Fed. Reg.) = 87
  • page within the volume where the regulation is found = 42636
  • date the final regulation was published in the Federal Register = July 18, 2022
  • when the Federal Register indicates where the rule or regulation will appear in the Code of Federal Regulations, give that information parenthetically. = (to be codified at 16 C.F.R. §1231.2)

  In the this 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). 


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

NOTE: this citation is just to the page where the final regulation is specifically spelled out.  The full publication by the agency including the Preamble, will start are an earlier page and explain the reasons for the new or amended rule.


NOTE: using this citation format is especially important if you are pulling regulations and rules from eCFR that may be more recent versions of a rule or regulation than what is in the official published version of the CFR.  Remember, the eCFR is an unofficial version of the CFR, and is updated from the Federal Register almost daily, so it will be more up-to-date than the official version of the CFR.

Examples of Citations to Federal Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations

Citing a "Part"       


Citing a "Section"                



NOTE:  The are spaces in the citation format.

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).