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.
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.
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.
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.