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Administrative Law Research

Illinois Administrative Law

     Illinois Administrative Law Research    

Illinois Administrative Procedures Act

The Illinois Administrative Procedures Act is located at 5 ILCS 100/1-1 through 100/15-10.  The act covers the standard issues in administrative procedure:  rulemaking, regulatory oversight, adjudication of administrative issues, publication, licensing, and a host of others in fine detail. 


The Illinois Administrative Code

The Code is the Illinois equivalent of the Code of Federal Regulations.  There are 95 titles in the Code, each covering a different administrative subject and Illinois agency.  While a copy of the table of contents is available at the Illinois Secretary of State’s web site, (, there are no links to online versions of the code.  The Secretary’s page offers to reproduce individual sections for a fee. This does not mean, however, that there are no other copies of the rules available.  The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules of the Illinois Legislature now places an electronic copy of the Illinois Administrative Code on its web site (     

The Secretary’s office distributes the Code in CD-ROM form to libraries and other organizations on a quarterly basis.  This is the only form in which the Code otherwise appears as distributed by the State of Illinois.  Administrative Code databases are on both Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge in their respective Illinois materials libraries.  These databases are probably the most reliable and up to date versions of the Code, from any online source.

A growing number (more than half) of Illinois agency web sites publish their sections of the Code.  Not all agencies have their rules or decisions on the web.  FindLaw maintains a list of some available Code sections with hyperlinks at  The FindLaw list is not comprehensive.  It is therefore important to check at the individual agency’s web site for the existence of a rules page, as indexes and other lists of links may not be updated with current information.

The Illinois Register

This is the Illinois equivalent of the Federal Register.  The publication appears weekly, in paper, as a compendium of new and proposed rules issued by an agency in the past week. One volume covers an entire calendar year. Each issue that has an index cumulates the entire year up to the publication date of that issue, with the last issue of the year containing the final cumulative index for the year/volume.

The Illinois Register is now on the web at the Secretary of State’s web site from starting with the August 2002 issues.  Aside from this online version from the Secretary of State, the only other databases that contain the full text of the Register are databases that appear respectively on Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge.  Both services not only provide single databases, but also offer a combined search with the Administrative Code with a single query.  The Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge databases have the text for the full run of the Illinois Register.

Research issues with Illinois regulations

Frequently, research requires locating the citation and current text of a particular regulation.  This is relatively easy, given the options for searching text electronically in the quarterly CD-ROM or the Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge sources.  However, neither these databases nor any paper version of the Code contain archived versions.  The common way to see what a Code provision read five years ago is to trace back the amendments in the Illinois Register and interpolate the text from the subsequent amendments from the point of time in which you are interested.  Be forewarned that this is a tedious and time-consuming process. As the Register is on Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge, some tracing may be done by section or keyword search.  However, coverage starts in 1995, limiting its use to no earlier than that.  Check with a library to see if it has archived copies of the Code in CD-ROM or microform.


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Other States

The administrative codes from other states are generally in full text on their official government web sites.  Some states also include their Register-type products online.  All administrative codes and updates (that exist) for the states are on Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge.  These are probably the best sources for out of state codes, as very few law libraries will subscribe to these out of state materials.  There is a directory of state administrative codes located in individual state resources through FindLaw.