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Legal Research: Laws

Related research guides

Recently Enacted Laws

Where laws are published

After the President signs a bill into law, it is first published in unbound pamphlet form. These are known as Slip Laws. The laws passed during each session of Congress are then compiled, and published in the United States Statutes at Large (1951+)  United States Statutes at Large (1789+where they appear in chronological order. Every six years, they are codified, that is, organized by subject, and published in the United States Code. In the years between publication, the U.S. Code is kept up-to-date via supplements.

The U.S. Statutes at Large, and the U.S. Code are official government publications. However, there are also annotated versions of the Code:  the United States Code Annotated, and United States Code Service. These editions are published by private companies, and provide additional material such as relevent cases, indexes, etc. The United States Code Annotated can be accessed online via Westlaw making searching easier and faster.

Similar to the United States Code, Maine statutes are codified and published by the State in the Maine Revised Statutes. An annotated version of the statutes, available through WestLaw, may provide additional useful information.

Code Abbreviations

Federal Statutes

Abbreviation Publication
U.S.C. United States Code
U.S.C.A. United States Code Annotated
U.S.C.S. United States Code Service

Maine Statutes

Abbreviation Publication
Maine Revised Statutes Annotated

Finding laws in Westlaw Campus Research

The following tutorials provide a quick overview of how to search for laws in Westlaw Campus Research,

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