Free Law Online / Internet Legal Resources

Updated Jan. 9, 2012.

NOTE: We are migrating the contents of this page to a new series of pages. Some of the content has moved while other content will be found on this page until the project is complete.

The following websites provide legal information and materials (including laws, bills, court opinions, and related documents) and/or links to legal material. Most of these sites are freely available to all users with Internet access. Some sites are UW Restricted, that is, available to University of Washington faculty, students, and staff and visitors to UW Libraries. This list does not include material that is available on LexisNexis and Westlaw.

For information on how to conduct various types of legal research, consult a reference librarian or read a legal research guide. You might also find it useful to read How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers.

Washington State Legal Resources Best Sites
Laws, Legislation & the Legislature [moved to new platform]
Court Opinions, Court Rules, Other Judicial Material & the Courts
Rules, Regulations, Administrative Decisions, the Governor & Agencies
Municipal Codes, Ordinances & Administrative Decisions [moved to new platform]
Legal Community (Organizations & Libraries)
Public Record Databases
Directories
United States Legal Resources Best Sites
Laws, Legislation & the Congress
Court Opinions [moved to new platform]; Court Rules, Other Judicial Material & the Courts
Rules & Regulations [moved to new platform]; Administrative Decisions, the President & Agencies
Public Record Databases [moved to new platform]
Directories
Legal Resources for Other Jurisdictions U.S. States
Foreign Countries & International Organizations
Legal Indexes
Directories
Internet Search Engines

 Washington State Legal Resources

Best Sites

  • Washington Legislature's Advanced Search: bills, bill reports, ethics opinions, House and Senate journals, the Revised Code of Washington, the Washington Administrative Code, and the Washington State Register; searchable, coverage varies.
  • LegalWA.org: Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinions, the Revised Code of Washington, the Washington Administrative Code, and numerous Washington city and county codes and ordinances; sponsored by the Municipal Research & Services Center, the Washington State Bar Association, and the Washington State Office of the Code Reviser.
  • LexisNexis Academic: constitution, laws, court opinions and orders, and attorney general opinions; searchable. UW Restricted
  • Access Washington: Washington State government portal.

top

Washington Rules, Regulations, Administrative Decisions, the Governor & Agencies

Washington Administrative Code (WAC)

Rules and regulations in force arranged by subject.

  • WAC on LegalWA: searchable, current
  • WAC from the Legislature's Advanced Search > WAC: searchable, current
  • WAC on the Legislature's page: arranged by title
  • WAC Archive from the Office of the Code Reviser: selected years 2009, 2007, and 2005

See also the Gallagher guide on Washington Administrative Law Research.

Washington State Register (WSR)

Updates the Washington Administrative Code.

  • WSR from the Legislature's Advanced Search > State Register: searchable, from 1997
  • WSR from the Office of the Code Reviser: includes annual indexes (from 1997) and WAC-WSR tables (from 1997)

Attorney General Opinions

Governors' Executive Orders

  • executive orders from the Office of the Governor: arranged by date, from 1913.
  • executive orders, directives, and proclamations from Governor Christine Gregoire, from 2005.
Access Washington: Washington State's main homepage, with links to agencies, boards, commissions, and departments.

Find-It! Washington: a guide to Washington State Government information and publications.

Administrative Agency Decisions & Guidance Documents

Auditor's Whistleblower Investigation Reports: searchable, from Jan. 1997. (Tip: to obtain documents before 2008, deselect "Group reports by entity."

Banks Division of the Department of Financial Institutions

  • Opinions (informal and nonbinding interpretive letters): arranged by date, from 1996.
  • Administrative orders (enforcement actions): arranged by date, from March 2009.

Building Code Council interpretations: arranged by type of building code (barrier-free, building, energy, fire, mechanical, plumbing, residential, and ventilation and indoor air quality), dates of coverage vary.

Consumer Services Division of the Department of Financial Institutions

Credit Unions Division of the Department of Financial Institutions

Ecology Department enforcement actions

Employment Security Department precedential decisions of the Commissioner: searchable, from April 1954

Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council certification documents

Environmental and Land Use Hearings Board decisions: searchable, 2005 only.

Environmental Hearings Office

  • Decisions from the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Board, the Forest Practices Appeals Board, the Hydraulic Appeals Board, the Pollution Control Hearings Board, and the Shorelines Hearings Board: searchable, arranged by date then by board, from 1970
  • Pending cases: searchable
  • Summaries of Board decisions: arranged by date, from 2000
  • Note: Effective July 1, 2011, the Environmental Hearings Office will merge a consolidated Growth Management Hearings Board to become the Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office (ELUHO).

Executive Ethics Board

Financial Institutions Department

Fish and Wildlife Department Priority Habitats and Species: current list.

Forest Practices Appeals Board, see Environmental Hearings Office decisions.
Note: After June 2010, appeals are filed with the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Growth Management Hearings Boards
Note: In 2010, the three regional boards were consolidated into one.

Health Department summaries of disciplinary actions: arranged by date, from 2006. See News Releases.

Higher Education Personnel appeals case summaries from the Personnel Department: arranged by subject, from March 1993 to July 2000.

Hydraulic Appeals Board, see Environmental Hearings Office decisions.
Note: After June 2010, appeals are filed with the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Industrial Insurance Appeals Boardsignificant decisions: searchable by name or keyword, with a subject index, from 1955

Insurance Commissioner

Labor and Industries Department, Industrial Safety & Health Act policies, regional directives, and operations and interpretive memoranda: arranged by name, number, and Washington Administrative Code citation..

Licensing Department, disciplinary actions: summaries of recent disciplinary actions against professionals and business, arranged by business or profession, current.

Marine Employees' Commission

Personnel Department, Director's review decisions: searchable.

Personnel Appeals Board decisions: arranged by date, 2000-06.

Personnel Resources Board, decisions: arranged by date, from 2006.

Pollution Control Board

Practice of Law Board, Washington State Bar Association

Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Board of Registration

Public Disclosure Commission

Public Employment Relations Commission

Revenue Department

  • Taxpedia: a searchable database of laws, regulations, excise tax advisories, property tax bulletins, audit guidelines, selected Board of Tax Appeals decisions, and excise tax decisions.
  • tax decisions from Washington Tax Decisions: complete volumes, in zipped files for downloading.
  • excise tax advisories, replaced excise tax bulletins effective July 1998, recent.
  • excise tax advisories: archive, arranged by number.
  • interim audit guidelines: arranged by number.
  • special notices: arranged by subject, from July 1988.
  • property tax advisories: arranged by number, from 2000.

Securities Division of the Department of Financial Institutions

Shorelines Hearings Board

Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

Tax Appeals Board decisions: searchable, from 1986.

Utilities and Transportation Commission dockets, orders, and filings database.

top

Washington Legal Community (Organizations & Libraries)

Legal Services & Bar Associations

Law Schools, Law Libraries & Archives

top

Washington Public Record Databases

Washington Directories

top


United States Legal Resources

Best Sites

  • FDsys, a service of the Government Printing Office (formerly GPO Access). A collection of major sources, full text, including the budget; Code of Federal Regulations and Federal Register; Commerce Business Daily; congressional bills, calendars, directories, hearings, prints, reports, the Congressional Record, and other materials; Economic Indicators and President's Economic Report; General Accounting Office reports; selected administrative agency decisions; Supreme Court opinions; and U.S. Code and session laws.
  • Thomas, from the Library of Congress. A collection of legislative resources, including bills, bill status, committee reports and websites, the Congressional Record, Presidential nominations, treaties, and other material.
  • Federal Law, from Cornell University's Legal Information Institute. Contains the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, and decisions from the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals.
  • USA.gov, the federal government's portal to information and services. Also includes state, local, and tribal governments.
  • lexisONE, free federal and state caselaw, last 5 years (registration required)
  • LexisNexis Academic and ProQuest Congressional: commercial services with federal and state cases and laws, Congressional materials, and selected secondary sources. UW Restricted
  • Federal Government Resources on the Web from University of Michigan Documents Center.

top

U.S. Laws, Legislation & the Congress

U.S. Constitution

Bills & Resolutions: Legislation being considered by Congress

Public Laws: Laws passed by Congress & signed by the President, in date order

Slip laws

  • Thomas: arranged by Congress then public law number, from 1973 (93d Congress).
  • Authenticated public and private laws from FDsys: searchable, from 104th Congress, 1995. (Digitally signed and certified)
  • classification tables from the Office of the Law Revision Counsel: provides U.S. Code citations for public laws and U.S. Code sections affected by recently enacted laws.

U.S. Statutes at Large: slip laws organized by Congress and session

  • FDsys: searchable, from 108th Congress, 2003, vol. 117.
  • HeinOnline: searchable, with lists by popular name, Indian treaties, and other treaties, from 1789. UW Restricted
  • Library of Congress: 1789-1875 (vols. 1-18, 1st-43d Congresses).

U.S. Code: Laws in force arranged by subject

See also the Gallagher guide on Federal Legislative History.

Congressional Record: Transcript of proceedings in the U.S. Congress

  • GPO/FDsys: daily editions, searchable, from 1994, vol. 140.
  • GPO/FDsys: bound vols, searchable, from Dec. 1998.
  • GPO/FDsys: index, searchable, from 1983.
  • CR from Thomas: searchable, from 1990 (101st Congress).
  • HeinOnline: bound vols, searchable, from 43 Congress, 1873, vol. 1.
  • HeinOnline: daily editions, searchable, from 1994, vol. 140.
  • CR from ProQuest Congressional: searchable, from 1985. UW Restricted
  • Annals of Congress, 1st Congress through 18th Congress, 1st session, from the Library of Congress: covers 1789-1824.
  • Register of Debates, 18th Congress, 2d session through 25th Congress, 1st session, from the Library of Congress: covers 1824-37.
  • Congressional Globe, 23d-42d Congresses, from the Library of Congress: covers 1833-73.

Committee Reports

House, Senate & Executive reports (collectively known as the Serial Set)

Committee Documents

House, Senate & Treaty documents

Committee Hearings & Testimony

Other Historical Congressional Material

top

U.S. Court Opinions, Court Rules, Other Judicial Material & the Courts

See also Briefs and Oral Arguments.

U.S. Supreme Court

Source Dates Access & Restrictions Format Notes
Hein Online 1754-date UW Restricted PDF images of official U.S. Reports & slip opinions  
Google Scholar 1791-date free html  
lexisONE 1781-date free text provides parallel citations
Justia 1759-last year free text search by U.S. reports citation, party name, or keyword
Public Library
of Law
1759-date free, by registration is required text search by keyword
OpenJurist 1790-date free text search by keyword
Findlaw 1893-date free text search by U.S. Reports citation, party name, or keyword
LexisNexis Academic 1790-date UW Restricted text search by citation, party name, or keyword
Legal Information Institute (Cornell) 1803-1991 (selected) free text more than 600 historically significant cases; search by topic, party, or author of the opinion
FedWorld 1937-75 free text Federal Legal Information Through Electronics (FLITE) database from the Air Force
Supreme Court 1991-date free text & PDF (bound volumes) useful for recent slip opinions &r bound volumes (vol. 502-date)
Legal Information Institute (Cornell) 1990-date free HTML & PDF include links to cited sources (U.S. Code, CFR, other cases) that are also available at LII

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decisions

Source Dates Access & Restrictions Format Notes
LexisNexis Academic 1855-date UW Restricted text searchable
Google Scholar 1923-date free html searchable
Justia 1950-date free text searchable
OpenJurist 1880-date free text searchable
9th Cir. Court of Appeals 1995-date free text searchable; arranged by date or docket no.
Findlaw 1996-date free text searchable
lexisONE last five years free, but registration is required
Willamette Law Online 2004-date free summaries email subscription available

Other Federal Courts

Court Rules
 

Cornell LII

Federal Rules of . . .

GPO Access

U.S. House Judiciary Comm.

Cornell Legal Info Institute

Other Appellate Procedure Title 28 appendix FRAP Ninth Circuit Ct. of Appeals Civil Procedure Title 28 appendix FRCP FRCP Amendments to the FRCP, Nov. 2007 Criminal Procedure Title 18 appendix FRCrmP FRCrmP Evidence Title 28 appendix FRE Supreme Court Rules Title 28 appendix RSC Supreme Court Ninth Circuit Ct. of Appeals Ninth Circuit Ct. of Appeals

Proposed and Recent Changes to federal court rules.

Other Court Information & Material

top

U.S. Administrative Decisions, the President & Agencies

Presidential Executive Orders, Proclamations & Other Documents

Administrative Agency Decisions

top

U.S. Directories

See also the People-Finding guide.

Congress

Courts

  • Federal Court Locator from Villanova University: links to sites that contain recent opinions from the federal courts.
  • Contact the Federal Judiciary from the U.S. Courts: select court type then geographic region.
  • U.S. Courts from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: a directory of federal courts and pretrial services and probation offices.

Executive Branch & General U.S. Government

top


Legal Resources for Other Jurisdictions

U.S. States

Multi-State, Multi-Source Sites

  • LexisNexis Academic: constitutions, court opinions and rules, laws, and attorney general opinions. UW Restricted
  • State and Local Government on the Net from Piper Resources: arranged by state, includes links to state homepages, directories, and websites of elected officials, the legislature, the judiciary, executive branch agencies, boards and commissions, regional organizations, and municipalities.
  • State Legal Sources on the Web, from the University of Michigan Documents Center. Links to and describes years of coverage for bills, session laws, codes and constitutions, regulations, executive orders, attorney general opinions, courts, newspapers, state law libraries, and election data.
  • State Resource Center from lexisONE: arranged by state.
  • LexisNexis free Legal Research center and attorney directory by Lawyers.com. Links to state statutes and selected state agencies. Also includes articles and links by area of law.
  • State Resources from Findlaw: arranged by state, includes links to constitutions, legislation, laws, administrative codes and registers, attorney general opinions, and other legal materials.
  • GovEngine: a portal to federal and state government agencies and courts.
  • Zimmerman's Research Guide, an online encyclopedia for legal researchers.

Constitutions

LexisNexis Academic: Legal > Federal & State Codes > State Codes, Constitutions . . . . UW Restricted

Constitutions, Statutes, and Codes from Cornell University's Legal Information Institute: arranged by state.

State Constitutions from Findlaw: arranged by state.

State Constitutions from Yahoo: arranged by state.

Legislative Branch

LexisNexis Academic: Legal > Federal & State Codes > State Codes, Constitutions . . . . UW Restricted

State Legislatures Internet Links from the National Conference of State Legislatures: arranged by state.

State Legislatures, State Laws and State Regulations from the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, DC: arranged by state, links to websites and provides phone numbers.

State Legislature Websites from Thomas: arranged by state.

Judicial Branch

LexisNexis Academic: Legal > Federal & State Cases. UW Restricted

lexisONE, free state appellate cases, last ten years only

Public Library of Law: appellate cases, 1997-date, searchable.

Court Web Sites from the National Center for State Courts: arranged by state.

Court Rules, Forms, and Dockets from LLRX: searchable by jurisdiction and type of resource.

Executive Branch

Administrative codes and registers

State Agency Databases, a wiki list by state, from the American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table.

Cities & Counties

Cities online from the United States Conference of Mayors.

City and county codes from Municipal Code Corporation.

City and county codes from Seattle Public Library.

top

Foreign Countries & International Organizations

Use these websites for comparative, foreign, and international law research.

top

Legal Indexes

Use these websites to search for other legal materials, including government publications, legal organizations, trade and industry groups, attorneys, law schools, law libraries, library catalogs, legal publishers, foreign and international material, and other sources related to the study and practice of law.

top

Directories


Internet Search Engines

The following site links to the best general search engines, subject directories, and meta search engines.

  • Internet Guides & Search Tools from the Librarians' Internet Index, also covers evaluation of resources and metadata.
  • AllSearchEngines.com: links to major search engines, topical search engines, meta search engines, and search engine comparisons.
  • NoodleQuest, Search Engine Wizard: Directs users to the most appropriate search engine to meet their needs.
  • Profusion: a directory of databases and meta-search engine.
  • Cornell Law Library, Legal Research Search Engine: searches for legal research guides, pathfinders, and tutorials on selected law library websites (including the Gallagher Law Library).

top

Connect with us:

© Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved University of Washington School of Law

4293 Memorial Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98195