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Zimmerman's Research Guide


New Jersey

This entry is organized by branches of government.

I. Legislative Branch

The New Jersey Legislature posts bills from 1996, chapters, (selected) hearings, the New Jersey Constitution and related information.

New Jersey's statutory code is posted on the Statutes page of the legislature's Web site and published by West as the New Jersey Statutes Annotated. The code is also search able on Lexis (NJ;CODE) and Westlaw (NJ-ST OR NJ-ST-ANN). Lexis has historical editions back to 1991, with annotation from the 2002 edition (NJ;NJARCH or NJ;NJxxxx for a particular year). Westlaw has historical editions back to 1989 (NJ-STANNxx, with the x's being the last two digits of the year).

New Jersey Session Laws Online provides scans of all New Jersey session laws back to 1776, plus Provincial Statutes from 1703 to 1776. Not easy to navigate or print clearly but, hey, it's great that they're online at all, and you can't beat the price. The subscription-based State Session Law Library on HeinOnline also has New Jersey session laws back to 1776, with better navigation and printing.

You can get New Jersey bills and chapters from Lexis (NJ;NJBILL or NJ;NJALS) or Westlaw (NJ-LEGIS or NJ-LEGIS-OLD). Generally your best alternative (e.g., for older legislation) is to call one of the libraries listed below in the "Miscellaneous Matters" section of this entry. However, if you're in the area or if you have time, you can get copies of new laws from the Bill Room of the N.J. Office of Legislative Services (609-292-6395) and pending legislation from the New Jersey Legislative Service at 609-292-4840 or 4841 -- but these agencies won't fax; you either have to pick up the copies or wait for U.S. mail. If you're a member of the New Jersey Bar, you can get bills faxed for free from the Bar's legislative counsel (732-249-5000).

Legislative History: The New Jersey State Library compiles and posts selected legislative histories for all laws enacted from 1970 to date. The New Jersey Legislature posts selected legislative reports going back to the 1970s. Lexis has a database of New Jersey Legislative Bill History materials including any available Reports, Bill Analysis and Governor's Memorandums for all bills introduced in the 2006, 2007 and 2009-current sessions, plus selected coverage for 2002-2005 and 2008 (NJ;NJLH).

You can get copies of old hearings from the New Jersey State Publications division of the New Jersey State Library (609-278-2640 x103).

For more about New Jersey legislative history, see Guide to New Jersey Legislative History by the Rutgers Law Library and "Using Legislative Histories to Determine Legislative Intent in New Jersey," 30 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 71 (2011).

Questions: Call New Jersey Legislative Information Service and Bill Pending Office out of state at 609-292-4840 or in state at 800-792-8630 for answers to legislation-related questions, including the status of pending bills. Another resource: The Law Division of the New Jersey State Library (609-278-2640 x102).

II. Executive Branch

Links to New Jersey executive offices and administrative agencies are available through FindLaw.

New Jersey regulations are codified in the The New Jersey Administrative Code, which is published in print and posted free online by LexisNexis. It is also available on Lexis (NJ;NJADMN) and Westlaw (NJ-ADC). Lexis has historical editions back to 1996/97; Westlaw goes back to 2006; Fastcase goes back to 2011.

The New Jersey Register is posted free from July 3, 1995 to the present by LexisNexis. The Register is also available from July 3, 1995 on Lexis.com (NJ;NJRGST) and Westlaw (NJ-ADR). Issues published from 1969 (Volume 1) to 1995 (Volume 27) are posted free by the New Jersey State Library.

To get copies of very recent regulations, call the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (609-588-6606 or 6500). For old &/or obscure regulations, call the New Jersey State Library (609-278-2640 x102).

New Jersey Administrative Law Decisions are posted by the Rutgers Law Library (1997-present). They are also available on Lexis (NJ;NJAGEN). Note: ALDs used to be published by Barclays, but the series was stopped when Barclays was bought by West.

Executive Orders issued by NJ governors from 1941 to current are available from the New Jersey State Library.

III. Judicial Branch

New Jersey reported opinions are available back to 1950 on Google Scholar. New Jersey FindACase provides a free, searchable database of NJ Appellate Division cases going back to the 1930's. The New Jersey Judiciary posts recent Supreme and Appellate court opinions, recent trial court opinions, decisions on motions, court calendars and lots of information about the New Jersey court system. FindLaw has a free database of New Jersey Superior Court opinions (1997-present).

For older cases, more sophisticated searching, etc., use Westlaw, Lexis, LOIS, FastCase and VersusLaw. Supreme, Superior and Tax Court cases are published in West's Atlantic Reporter. For copies of older cases, call a law school library (see below).

Causes of Action: New Jersey has a helpful litigation tool called the Encyclopedia of New Jersey Causes of Action (New Jersey Law Journal Books) that explains the elements of most common causes of actions and cites to seminal cases.

Court Rules: The New Jersey Judiciary posts the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. Gann Law Books publishes a popular edition of the Rules Governing The Courts of the State of New Jersey, with comments and annotations by Sylvia B. Pressler. Gann also publishes an annotated New Jersey Rules of Evidence.

Docket Sheets: Case information for New Jersey Superior Court civil cases is available through the NJ Courts Public Access system. Other Federal and Superior Courts are available through Courtlink and other services listed in the "Docket Sheets" entry. If you have a case number, you can track cases using eLaw.

Jury Instructions: The New Jersey Courts post their Model Civil Jury Charges and Model Criminal Jury Charges. The New Jersey State Library posts historical editions of the Criminal Jury charges from 1976 and 1980.

See also "Federal Court Rules and "State Court Rules."

IV. Other Matters

Business Entities and Trade Names The New Jersey Division of Revenue handles the registration of corporations and other businesses entities. You can look up a company for free using the Business Entity Look-Up, but you have to pay a few dollars for a Status Report to get the name of the resident agent, to find out if the company is still licensed to do business in the state or to get PDFs of the filed documents. For questions, call 609-292-9292.

Old corporate records are held by DOR/Commercial Recording, P.O. Box 308, 33 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0308 (609-633-8296), so you can try them if you strike out with the regular DOR registration unit. Once upon a time New Jersey businesses registered with the county so, if you also strike out with the DOR entirely, your next step is to contact the relevant County Clerk's office. Some offices I have called:

  • Bergen - 201-336-7000, option 3
  • Hudson - 201-369-370, option 5
  • Essex - 973-621-4449, x242

To identify filings by old corporations, search Corporations of New Jersey: List of Certificates to December 31, 1911 among the New Jersey Searchable Publications posted by the New Jersey State Library. For more help locating information on old New Jersey business entities, contact the New Jersey State Archives.

Trade Names (also called "Business Names") are registered with the relevant county. You can look up records using Trade Name searches on the state-wide Business Entity Look-Up, but you have to contact the relevant County Clerk's office to get copies of records (see the selected list of numbers above).

See also "Licensing," below.

Libraries: For questions about NJ legal materials, copies and/or inter-library loan, try calling the law section of the New Jersey State Library (609-278-2640 x102) or the academic law libraries at Rutgers Newark (973-353-5676), Rutgers Camden (609-225-6172), Seton Hall (973-642-8861) or another large New Jersey law library.

For non-legal New Jersey materials, call the State Library's main number (609-278-2649 x103).

Licensing: Most New Jersey business and professional licenses can be search through New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs License Verification System.

Newspapers: The New Jersey Law Journal is the leading legal newspaper. Recent articles are available through the Journal's web site. More comprehensive databases are available through Lexis and New Jersey Smart Litigator. For even older articles, get copies from one of the libraries listed in the "Libraries" section, above.

Real Estate: The State of New Jersey compiles and distributes property ownership and tax assessment information once a year. You can look up that data through App.com. More recent data may be available through TaxRecords.com (free registration required) or Tax Search. For more, check the relevant County and City/Town tax assessors' web sites, and call those tax assessors' offices if necessary. Subscription-based DocEdge says they have virtually current information. Check currency before you search Accurint or any other commercial vendor.

Registered Agents: To find the registered agent for a company doing business in New Jersey, go to the Business Gateway, do a Business Entity Search and then purchase a Status Report. Note: In 2010 the New Jersey Division of Revenue told me they could not give out the information over the phone.

Research Guides: For links to other law-related New Jersey Web sites, see the Research Guide on New Jersey Legal Resources posted by the New Jersey State Library and/or the New Jersey Resources page by the Rutgers Law Library.

See Also
Case Pulls
Docket Sheets
Federal Court Rules
Legal Ethics
State Court Rules

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