It is often useful and important to find out what the law is, but it is not always easy to do so. Fogler Library is not a law library, but it does contain materials to help you do certain kinds of legal research. Before beginning your search for information step back and consider what you really want to know. In the United States laws are established by many different institutions at many different levels. If you have questions regarding sales tax law in Maine, federal law will likely be irrelevant. This guide provides resources for Maine law; if you need federal law, use the United States Law guide.
A good deal of legal research hinges on being able to identify who makes the law relevant to your question and who hears cases based on that law. Is the law federal, state, local, regional, or international? Is the law made by Congress, a regulatory body, a state legislature, local government, or an international agency? Which courts hear the relevant cases and appeal: federal, state, special judicial bodies, or international? This guide is restricted to information about law in Maine. Please contact us at Ask-a-Librarian with any questions.
Consumer Law Guide - Office of the Maine Attorney General
HelpMELaw - Maine legal help resource
iResearch - Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library
Legislative history traces the course of a bill through all its stages from introduction to passage. It is often necessary to know the legislative history of a law in order to understand the intent of the legislators. Look at Maine's Path of Legislation for an overview of this process.
State of Maine Legislature Bill Text & Status - Searchable access to the full text and status of bills.
Historical Legislative Record - Spec Coll St.Docs L 40.27
The transcripts of Legislative sessions; the print version is indexed with brief legislative histories.
History & Full Disposition of Legislative Documents - Spec Coll St.Docs L 40.28; Published annually, provides the legislative history of each bill introduced into the Legislature.
Statutory law includes 1) the laws passed by legislative bodies, and 2) administrative rules and regulations which, because of legislative acts, have force of law.
Legislative Acts and Documents
Slip laws enacted by the Legislature. Cited by year and number, i.e. 1988 Me.Acts 323.
Bill Text and Status - Status available from the 121st Legislature; text available from 119th Legislature
Laws of Maine Spec Coll St.Docs L 38.22
Official compilation of laws published for each year and arranged by subject. Cited by year and number, i.e. 1989 Me.Laws 231.
Maine Revised Statutes Annotated
- Ref KFM 30 .A24. searchable (not annotated) at
LexisNexis> US Legal>State Statutues, Codes, and Regulations>Maine
Compilation of Maine laws currently in effect. Cited by title and section, i.e. 14 MRSA 1144. The print edition has historical annotations.
Code of Maine Rules - Ref KFM 35 1986 .A32
Privately published compilation of Maine administrative rules.
Maine State Agency Rules - Rules by Department.
Case law covers the decisions of the courts. These decisions fix the interpretation of the law and establish precedent.
LexisNexis> US Legal>Federal & State Cases - includes Maine Supreme Court decisions from 1820 and Maine Superior Court decisions from 1979
Maine Supreme Court Opinions - Decisions since 1997.
Maine Reports - Spec Coll St.Docs J 90 .D8
The decisions of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, issued at the end of each session. Cited by volume and page, i.e. 123 Me. 234.
A legal citation is a reference to a specific law or case. The works below provide examples:
Citators provide ways to trace related cases. A decision may cite prior cases, or be cited in future cases, and citators allow these links to be followed.
Maine Employer's Handbook - Ref Business KF 3457 .Z99 M225
West's Maine Rules of Court Annotated - Ref KFM 529 .A196
To contact a Reference Librarian with questions, click here: Ask-a-Librarian.