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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Federal Procedure Rules

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCrP) and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) are each published as independent volumes. The FRCP and FRAP are also published in the softcover Federal Civil Judicial Procedure and Rules (West) and O'Connor's Federal Rules: Civil Trials (Jones McClure). The FRCrP is included in Federal Criminal Code and Rules and O'Connor's Federal Criminal Rules & Codes (Jones McClure). The FRAP is included in Federal Court of Appeals Manual: Local Rules (West). What's more, all three rules sets are included at the end of Moore's Federal Practice set, in the Moore's Federal Rules Pamphlet, and in the Federal Procedure Rules Service at the end of the Federal Procedure set. As if that wasn't enough, they are also published at the end of Title 28 of the United States Code, and they are posted free online and in eBook format by the Legal Information Institute.

For better searching, you can use one of the online U.S. Code databases (see "United States Code"), or one of the special data bases just for the Federal Rules. These special databases include GENFED;RULES on Lexis and US-RULES on Westlaw. Lexis also has a database for just the civil and appellate rules (GENFED;FRCP) and another for the criminal rules (GENFED;FRCRP). Westlaw doesn't have separate databases, but you can limit a Westlaw search to a particular set of rules by adding "& ci(frap)" for the Appellate Rules, "& ci(frcp)" for the Civil Procedure Rules, "& ci(frcp +s rule)" for Criminal Procedure Rules. You can pull sections off Lexis using the form: "USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 45" -- or "fre 703" for Westlaw.

Local Rules: See the "Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure" entry.

New Rules: Information on the rule-making process, as well as proposed and recently-approved changes to the Rules are posted in the Federal Rulemaking section of the Federal Judiciary web site. In addition, new rules and amendments to all the Procedure Rules are searchable in Westlaw's US-ORDERS database. New Rules and amendments to the FRCP and FRCrP are also published in West's Federal Rules Decisions.

Case Law: There are many ways to find cases interpreting the Federal Rules. If you have a set available, the Federal Rules Service is an excellent tool for finding cases interpreting the Federal Rules of both Civil and Appellate Procedure. Alternatives for all three sets of Rules include: (a) Looking in the annotations after the rule in the USCA or the USCS; (b) looking under the appropriate West key number (in the appropriate Digest or on Westlaw; or (c) Shepardizing the Federal Rule in question on Lexis; or (d) looking up the subject in Moore's or another treatise and getting citations from the footnotes.

Judicial opinions interpreting the Federal Rules are, of course, published in whichever case reporters and databases cover the issuing court. In addition, West tries to publish all cases interpreting any Federal Rule in Federal Rules Decisions, and cases interpreting the Civil and Appellate Procedure rules are published in the Federal Rules Service.

Forms: "Official Forms" related to the Federal Rules are Published in the Moore's Federal Rules Pamphlet. Lawyers Edition published the multi-volume Federal Procedural Forms which are keyed to the Federal Rules.

Bankruptcy Rules: See "Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure." See also "Federal Court Rules" for the local rules of U.S. Bankruptcy Courts.

Legislative History: To get a list of the laws creating and amending the FRCP and other Federal rules, look in the annotations after each section of the rules in the USCA and USCS. For more information, see "Federal Legislative History."

Also, you might want to call the Rules Committee of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (202-273-1820), which administers all Federal rules.

See Also
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
Federal Legislative History
Federal Court Rules
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
Federal Rules of Evidence

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