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Civil Procedure: Overview


Civil procedure is the mechanism by which a civil case proceeds in court.  For the Federal Courts, this mechanism is mainly codified in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  In this guide, you will find links to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other sources of law, commentary and analysis.  You will find resources that will help keep you abreast of what's happening in civil litigation as well as study aids.

The Constitution

The Federal Courts' scope of power is laid out in Article III of the U.S. Constitution

Title 28: Judiciary and Judicial Procedure

Title 28 of the United States Code contains the Rules on Civil Procedure.  It is available free online from the following sites:

There is also a subscription version on HeinOnline:

Annotated Versions of the Code are available from the following pay services:

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

The Federal Rules can also be found on Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg.

Rule Changes and Amendments

From time to time the Rules of Civil Procedure are amended.  Proposed rules are evaluated by the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.  The proposed rules are then subject to public notice and comment.  If the Committee chooses they are recommended to the Supreme Court for approval.

Finding other resources in the catalog.

Using our catalog you can find resources on civil procedure and any other topic.  Here is a list of FAQs for the catalog.

Case Law

The Rules of Civil Procedure are interpreted by the courts.  Cases interpreting the various rules can be found in the usual places including Westlaw (which also includes the Federal Rules Decisions database, this database contains cases that deal specifically with civil procedure issues).  Lexis and Bloomberg.  Cases can also be found on the free internet at the following sites:

Major General Treatises

More topic based treatises can be found browsing Westlaw and Lexis.