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Zimmerman's Research Guide



The State of Delaware posts information about the state, including a Statewide Phone directory and list of state agencies that links to each agency's web site. Links to other government addresses and primary legal materials are posted by the Widener Law Library and FindLaw. Primary legal materials and news are also available from Lexis, Westlaw and LOIS.

A bibliography of Delaware legal materials was published in Law Library Journal in 1997 (89 Law Libr. J. 349) and can be retrieved from Westlaw. The AALL Government Document Series includes a Selective Annotated Bibliography of Delaware State Documents and Other Resources Used in Delaware Legal Research (William S. Hein).

Note: Delaware does not have a legal encyclopedia or other treatise summarizing state law.

For question about Delaware legal materials, copies and/or inter-library loan call the Widener University School of Law (302-477-2114) and/or the New Castle County Law Library (302-577-2437).

Following is information organized by branch of government, followed by a section on "Additional Useful Information" (Business Entities, Corporate Law, UCCs, etc.)

A. Legislative Branch

Bills: The Delaware General Assembly posts bills, resolutions and bill tracking records for pending and recent legislation, or you an call the Delaware Legislative Counsel (302-739-4114, out of state; 800-282-8545, in state).

You can also get Delaware bills and bill tracking on Lexis and Westlaw.

Older bills can be ordered from the Delaware Archives (302-739-5318).

Code: An unannotated version of the Delaware Code is posted free at http://delcode.delaware.gov. An unannotated edition is also available on Fastcase. Annotated editions of the Code are available on Lexis, Westlaw and LOIS.

Historical editions of the Delaware Code are available from Lexis back to 1991 (e.g. CODES;DE1991), Westlaw and Fastcase back to 2008.

Legislative History: Westlaw has Bill Summaries, Committee Reports and the Journals back to 2000, plus Governor's Messages and Votes back to 2001 (DE-LG). For more information, see the Delaware Legislative History guide from the Widener Library, as well as the following information on legislative intent and corporate law materials.

Legislative Intent: Delaware generally provides few clues to indicate legislative intent, usually just the "Synopses" at the end of the bill, which are seldom very detailed. Very occasionally there are reports and even more occasionally debates.

For corporate law legislation, people often turn to the Delaware Corporate Law treatises by Folk, Balotti and Drexel to discern legislative history. There have also been pamphlets explaining the major laws with titles such as Analysis of the [year] Amendments to the Delaware Corporation Law or Amendments to Delaware Corporation Law, [year] by CT, CDC, Prentice Hall and others. The Widener Law Library posts legislative history materials produced by the Delaware Corporation Law Study Committee, which revised Delaware Corporate law that took effect in 1967.

For the names of services that compile legislative histories, see "State Legislative History."

B. Executive Branch

Regulations: New regulations are published in the Delaware Register of Regulations and codified in the Delaware Administrative Code. Recent issues of the Register and selected titles of the Code are by posted the Delaware General Assembly. Historical editions of the Delaware Administrative Code are available on Lexis back to 2004 (e.g., DEL;DEAD04).

C. Judicial Branch

Case information and docket sheets: The Delaware Judicial Case Database on Delaware State CourtConnect lets you look up case information and judgments from the Superior Court, Court of Common Pleas and Justice of the Peace Court (see How to Run CourtConnect with Explorer 10 or 11 if you have trouble) . Docket sheets and the documents filed in Chancery Court cases are available through Courtlink and Bloomberg Law. For more information, see the "Docket Sheets" entry. For document retrieval from Delaware courts, call Parcels, Inc.

Citations: The Delaware Superior Court has its own citation manual called the Guide to the Delaware Rules of Legal Citation in the Superior Court of Delaware.

Judicial Opinions: The Delaware State Courts post judicial opinions from the Superior and Supreme courts (including the Chancery, Common Please and Family courts) back to 2001. Supreme Court opinions back to 1998, and selected opinions from other courts, are posted free on FindLaw. Published opinions are available free back to 1950 (probably) on Google Scholar.

Opinions of the Supreme Court and other Delaware courts are also available on Lexis, Westlaw, LOIS, Fastcase and Versuslaw. Supreme, Chancery, Superior and Family Court court cases are published in West's Atlantic Reporter.

Jury Instructions: The Delaware Courts post the Civil Pattern Jury Instructions for free. For sophisticated searching, they are also available on Westlaw (DE-JICIV).

Practice Treatises: For cases in the Chancery Court, see Corporate and Commercial Practice in Delaware Court of Chancery (Lexis/Matthew Bender; available on Lexis). For cases in the Superior Court, see the free online treatise Delaware Trial Handbook by Finger and Slanina, LLC and What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know, an NBI CLE presentation by three Superior Court Judges . For appellate cases see the Delaware Appellate Handbook by the Delaware Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee.

D. Additional Useful Information

Business Search: You can look up corporations and LLCs registered in Delaware through the Name Search posted by the Division of Corporations. Use the Online Status page to find out if the registration is still active. For questions, call the Division of Corporations at 302-739-3077.

Corporate Law materials: There are two first-rate treatises on Delaware Corporate Law - Balotti's Delaware Law of Corporations and Business Organizations (Aspen Law & Business) and Folk on Delaware General Corporation Law (Aspen Law & Business). Both are published as multi-volume looseleafs and CD-ROMs. Both Folk and Balotti are available electronically on Lexis (2NDARY;DELICTI and 2NDARY;FOLK, respectively). Balotti is also on Westlaw (DELICTI). Also recommended: Drexel's Delaware Corporation Law and Practice (Matthew Bender), which is available on Lexis (MATBEN;DELILA).

Attorneys often need to know how one state's corporate law compares to Delaware corporate law, and there have been many book chapters and law review articles written on the subject. A comparison between Delaware and California corporate law is published in the Appendix in vol. 2 of Organizing Corporations in California (CEB publishing).

Forms: The Delaware Courts website posts Forms. See also the Tax Forms section, below, and the separate entry for "Forms."

Land Records & Liens: Each Delaware county has a Recorder of Deeds office that handles land records and locally recorded liens. Each office has it own online system that you can search at the following links.

  1. Kent County (including Dover) - click here to search (fee-based registration required); for questions see the Recorder's web site or call 302-744-2314.
  2. New Castle (including Wilmington) - see here; for questions see the Recorder's web site or call 302-395-7792.
  3. Sussex - click here to search (free or fee-based registration required); for questions see the Recorder's web site or call (302) 855-7785.

Public Notices: The MDDC Press Association posts a Public Notice Searches to help people find public notices (of court proceedings, foreclosures, unclaimed property, etc.) published in Delaware newspapers.

Tax Forms: Are posted by the Delaware Division of Revenue.

UCC Filings: In February 2011, there was no way to search Delaware UCCs online. You could call the Delaware Division of Corporations (302-739-3077), and they would look for you. Alternatively, you could hire an Authorized Searcher to do research for you.

See Also
Attorney General Opinions
Docket Sheets
Secretary of State Records
State Cases
State Court Rules
State Government Agencies
State Laws, generally
State Regulations and Administrative Codes
State Statutes and Codes

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman