Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Finding Federal Statutes, Regulations, and Related Cases

Introduction

There are three large multi-volume sets of books where you can find the text of the federal statutory code:

United States Code (U.S.C.) (official version)

United States Code Annotated (abbreviated U.S.C.A.) (published by West)

United States Code Service (abbreviated U.S.C.S.) (published by LexisNexis)

The USC Law Library has all three print versions in the Federal section on the library’s main floor.

The federal statutory code is divided into 51 titles. Each code title is numbered and covers a broad area of law (e.g., title 29 covers labor, title 42 covers public health and welfare). Code titles are divided into chapters (and sometimes, subchapters), which are further divided into sections. Only the title and section numbers are used to cite to particular code sections.

For example, 29 U.S.C. § 621 refers to section 621 of title 29 of the United States Code. The version of the code being cited to as well as the publication year of the volume containing the code section are often included in parentheses at the end of the citation (e.g., 29 U.S.C.A. § 621 (West 2003)).

The statutory language should be the same in each of these sets, though the commercial versions will typically be more up-to-date. Both the print U.S.C.A. and U.S.C.S. volumes are updated with annual pocket parts (i.e., paperback pamphlets placed in the back pocket of each volume) or separate paperback supplements. The official U.S.C. version also contains a supplement (located at the end of the entire set), but it is not updated as frequently as the commercial pocket parts and supplements. 

The federal statutory code can also be accessed on three publicly available websites:

Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute's U.S. Code page

United States House of Representatives Office of the Law Revision Counsel's
Search the United States Code page

The Government Printing Office’s United States Code page on govinfo.gov