LII authoring aid: Code of Federal Regulations 


The version of the Code of Federal Regulations offered by the US House of Representatives is an excellent resource, but it is difficult to create pinpoint links to particular sections and subsections of it.  The only means of access to particular sections is via a search engine which needs to be  invoked with a complex, nonintuitive syntax if you want to produce the effect of a pinpoint link.  What we have done is create a variety of "middleware" tools which permit construction of links using a straightforward and "head-compatible" URL scheme.


Creating a link to a particular section or subsection of the CFR

To create a link to a particular title and section, use the base URL followed by the title and section separated by forward slashes, eg.: or a full specification of section and subsection, eg.:

Creating a link to a particular section of the CFR, with context.

We find that it is often not enough to link to a particular section of the CFR, particularly when we are offering the link as a way of explaining or deepening other information (as, for example, when we link to the CFR from within a judicial opinion relying on or explaining it).  The CFR is simply chopped too finely to permit the user pursuing the link to get an overview of what it is saying.  In these situations it would be nice if the reader could choose to view adjacent pieces of the CFR in order to gain some context for the particular section being cited.  We've created a tool which does this.

To create a "link with context":

Use the base URL

followed by the title and section number, eg.: to see Title 45 of the CFR, Section 233.20 with the option of seeing surrounding sections.  For an example of how we use this, see Anderson v. Edwards, 115 S. Ct. 1291, 131 L. Ed. 2d 178 (1995).

Creating a captive or embedded search within a particular title of the CFR

Sometimes it is useful to create a link which will summon up all occurrences of a particular term within one title of the CFR.  To do this, use the base URL followed by the title number, a question mark, and your search term (or terms), eg.: or

Creating hypertext which permits the user to do their own word search within a particular title of the CFR

Here's some sample HTML which you can adapt to your needs. This example is taken from our topical page dealing with agricultural law, and permits the user to search the relevant title of the CFR.   Note that all you really have to change is the two numbers in red:

<B>Search 7 C.F.R.</B> for the terms:<BR>
<INPUT name="query"><i> (<A HREF="">help</a> with search)
<INPUT type="hidden" name="title" value="7">
<INPUT type="submit" value="Get CFR">

Creating hypertext which permits the user to choose from a list of CFR sections, and then search for  a term within the section they've chosen.

When we were creating our topical pages, we discovered it is often useful to offer a list of possibly-relevant Titles for people to search.  For example, the regulations affecting the hotel and restaurant businesses are found in 3 different titles ( 9 CFR, 21 CFR, and 29 CFR).  Here's some sample HTML for allowing the user to choose one of those titles and then search for a term within it:

<B>Search in: </b><br>
<SELECT NAME="title">
<OPTION value="9">Animals and animal products (9 C.F.R.)
<OPTION value="21">Food and Drugs (21 C.F.R.)
<OPTION value="29">Labor (29 C.F.R.)
<b>for the term(s):</b><BR>
<INPUT name="query"><i> (<A HREF="">help</a>
is available)</i><br>
<INPUT type="submit" value="Get CFR">

Note that the only text you need change to adapt this to your purposes is that appearing in the "OPTION" lines. 

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