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CFR Citation Explained

CFR Citation Explained

Understanding the Meaning and Importance of CFR Citations in Administrative Law

Administrative law encompasses a complex network of rules and regulations established by administrative agencies to govern various aspects of public life. These regulations are compiled and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), a critical resource that helps provide clarity and accessibility to the vast body of administrative law. CFR citations serve as a crucial tool in administrative law, enabling legal professionals, scholars, and agency officials to reference and interpret specific regulations. This article aims to delve into the meaning, significance, and implications of CFR citations in administrative law. By exploring their structure, purpose, and legal consequences, we can better comprehend their role in facilitating efficient and informed legal practice within the administrative process.

What is a CFR Citation?
A CFR citation refers to the specific reference to a regulation found within the Code of Federal Regulations. It is a standardized format used for citing federal regulations and serves as a key element in legal research and analysis. A CFR citation typically includes the title number, part number, section number, and year of publication, allowing legal professionals to locate and accurately reference the desired regulation within the CFR.

Structure of a CFR Citation:
A CFR citation follows a standard format to ensure clarity and consistency across administrative law documents. It generally consists of four components:

1. Title Number: The CFR is divided into titles that cover various subject areas, such as agriculture, energy, transportation, or labor. The title number indicates the specific title under which the regulation is located.

2. Part Number: Each title is further divided into parts based on specific subtopics or areas of regulation. The part number specifies the particular section within the title that contains the desired regulation.

3. Section Number: The section number denotes the precise location of the regulation within the CFR. It provides a unique identifier for the specific rule.

4. Year of Publication: As regulations are regularly updated, the year of publication ensures accuracy and helps identify the most recent version of a particular regulation.

Importance and Significance of CFR Citations:
1. Enhanced Efficiency and Accuracy: CFR citations play a crucial role in legal research, facilitating the efficient locating and referencing of relevant regulations. By providing a standardized format, CFR citations reduce ambiguity and increase precision, allowing legal professionals to quickly access and cite specific provisions when analyzing or arguing administrative law cases.

2. Legal Certainty and Predictability: By providing clear and accurate references to regulations, CFR citations contribute to legal certainty and predictability. They enable legal practitioners, agencies, and courts to interpret and apply regulations consistently, ensuring uniformity and fairness in administrative proceedings.

3. Facilitating Compliance and Accountability: CFR citations assist regulated individuals, businesses, and organizations in understanding their obligations and complying with relevant regulations. By being able to easily locate and reference the specific requirements outlined in CFR citations, parties can more effectively navigate the administrative process and avoid potential legal pitfalls or non-compliance.

4. Building a Knowledge Base: CFR citations also contribute to the accumulation and dissemination of legal knowledge. They serve as a critical tool for legal education, scholarship, and the sharing of legal insights and analyses. Legal professionals rely on CFR citations to conduct research, contribute to academic discourse, and develop strategies for effective advocacy.

CFR citations are the cornerstones of administrative law, providing a standardized and efficient method for referencing and locating specific provisions within the Code of Federal Regulations. By employing a consistent format, CFR citations enhance efficiency, accuracy, and legal certainty, facilitating compliance and accountability. They play a vital role in legal research, enabling the development and sharing of legal knowledge. Recognizing the importance of CFR citations and their role in promoting clarity, understanding, and adherence to administrative regulations enhances the effectiveness and integrity of the administrative law system, safeguarding the rights of individuals, businesses, and other entities involved in administrative processes.

What is the CFR?

The CFR or Code of Federal Regulations is the official codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations—referred to in a broad sense in regards to administrative law—published in the Federal Register. The Code of Federal Regulations, which is organized as a series of CFR Citations, is affirmed in this daily publication by various executive departments and agencies of the United States Federal Government.

Administrative law, which is a type of public law, exists because the United States Congress typically grants authority to the agencies of the executive branch in order to interpret the statutes in the United States Code. These statutes are then enforced by various agencies because Congress and other departments may be too busy or congested to micromanage the jurisdiction regarding writing statutes to cover every possible detail.

According to the Administrative Procedure Act, these agencies are permitted to create detailed regulations through a public rulemaking process. In this process, the public is allowed to voice their opinions and comment on the public information offered; following a grace period, the rules and regulations are then published as a CFR citation in the Federal Register.

These rules, which are organized and affirmed through the production of a CFR citation, are treated by the courts as legally binding forms of statutory law, provided that the regulations are a reasonable interpretation of the underlying statutes.

For example, if the United States Congress passed a law that stated there are not be excessive levels of mercury in any body of water in the country, an entity, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency could further define, through a scientific lens, what the exact meaning of an “excessive level of mercury” is. The agency’s definitions and its subsequent plan of enforcement will all be published into the code of federal regulations.

What does a CFR citation look like and how do I read one?

Each rule and regulation in the Federal Register is given a CFR citation; the CFR citation is used to organize each rule based on title, subject or specific legal matter. The CFR citation not only groups each rule and regulation but further organizes them by paragraph and title; this organizational system enables an individual to find very particular information in an expedited fashion.

An example of a CFR citation would be the following: 42 CFR 260. 14 (a) (2). This CFR citation can be cited immediately, without searching through confusing directories or waiting for a page number from the physical copy. The aforementioned CFR citation would be read as, “title 42, part 260, section 14, paragraph a (2).

The National Archives and legal libraries throughout the United States will keep an online version of the CFR–known as the E-CFR—and update it two days after changes to the respective regulations I the Federal Register become effective.