Skip to Main Content

Cite Checker's Guide: Finding Statutory Codes

Helpful tips for law review cite checking assignments.

Introduction

The library is unable to order statutory codes via ILL. Because the library does not have most state statutes in print, cite checkers will usually have to rely on online versions of state codes. Depending on the state, these may or may not be considered “authenticated” or “official” for Bluebooking purposes. However, Bluebook Rule 12.3 indicates “citing the official state codes is preferred, but not required.”

Official Codes in Print

The U.S. Code is available in print at the library.

These statutory codes are available in print and kept up-to-date:

These statutory codes are available in print but are no longer updated:

Official Codes Online

Official U.S. Code:

 

Official State Codes:

Many historical state codes are available on HeinOnline and LLMC Digital.

Contemporary state codes are trickier. Bluebook Rule 18.2 allows citation to "authenticated" and "official" versions of statutory codes as if they were print versions. However, the Bluebook's definition of an "official" online statutory code is somewhat ambiguous.

These states have explicitly designated online codes as official:

These states provide authentic PDFs of the official state code:

These lists are non-exhaustive and other states may provide current or archived codes in PDF format. Check this page for links to electronic state codes.

Unofficial Online Codes

Unofficial versions of statutory codes from all U.S. jurisdictions are available on Westlaw and Lexis. Despite the Bluebook's preference for print codes, the versions on these databases are typically more up-to-date than official statutory codes. Most states also provide free unofficial codes online, typically through the state legislature's website. See this page for a list of online codes by state.

See Bluebook Rule 12.3: "As with federal statutes, citing the official state codes is preferred, but not required."

Questions?

Because the library is unable to order statutory codes via ILL, you may have to rely on an unofficial code. Please reach out to a librarian if you have any questions.

Research Help

We're here to help. Contact a research librarian for help with an assignment, project, or resource. 

Hours:
Mon-Fri, 10
am-4pm
503-768-6688
lawlib@lclark.edu

Coronavirus Response Site
Reference Hours
Reserve a Virtual Study Room

Citation Format