Skip to main content

Civil Procedure

Rules

Federal procedural rules (including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and so on) are available in many sources, print and online.

Sources of Fed. R. Civ. P.
 
Format
Text? Adv. Comm. Notes? Case Annotations, Other Research Aids?
Legal Information Institute (Cornell) Free website Yes Yes No
       
CALI (source: LII)

Free e-book

Yes Yes No
United States Code (following Title 28) Print (Reference Area KF62) and Online (FDSys) Yes Yes No
United States Code Annotated (following Title 28) Print (Reference Area KF62) and Online (Westlaw) Yes Yes Yes
United States Code Service (volumes at end of set) Print (Reference Area KF62) and Online (Lexis Advance) Yes Yes Yes
Bloomberg Law Online Yes No No
Lexis Advance Online Yes Yes Yes (USCS)
Westlaw Online Yes Yes Yes (USCA)
Moore's Federal Practice Treatise: Print and Online (Lexis Advance) Yes Yes Yes
Federal Practice & Procedure (Wright & Miller) Treatise: Print and Online (Westlaw) Yes Yes Yes
Court Rules Pamphlets Print Yes Yes No
House of Representatives Committee Print PDF on uscourts.gov Yes No No


For Washington, see Washington Court Opinions, Court Rules, Other Judicial Materials & the Courts.

Rules Amendments and History

See About the Rulemaking Process on the U.S. Courts website.

Outline of the process:

  1. The advisory committee for civil rules (or appellate or bankruptcy, etc.) receives a suggestion, considers it, and drafts and amendment.
  2. The advisory committee publishes the for public comment, possibly holding hearings.
  3. The advisory committee takes up the draft again for consideration and possible redrafting. If the committee approves it, then it sends the draft (with its "advisory committee notes") to the Standing Committee (the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States).
  4. If the Standing Committee approves the draft, it refers it to the Judicial Conference.
  5. If the Judicial Conference approves the draft (September), it refers it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  6. If the U.S. Supreme Court approves the draft, it refers it to Congress (by May 1).
  7. If Congress doesn't act, the new rule takes effect Dec. 1.

HeinOnline's Congress and the Courts library includes broad and deep resources for studying the history of the federal courts and federal rules. For example:


Records and Archives of the Rules Committees (going back to 1960) are available on the U.S. Courts website. They're arranged by date, so you have to know when the rule you're researching was changed. Start with treatises (Moore's and Federal Practice and Procedure) to read commentary and track the major changes.

 

For Washington, see Court Rules page on Washington Courts website.