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Researching Statutes: How do you interpret a statute?

This guide serves as an introduction to statutory research. To access the linked databases on Westlaw and Lexis, you should sign on to Westlaw and Lexis before clicking on the links in this guide.


More often than not, the language of a law, passed by a legislature, is unclear.  It falls upon the courts, adminstrative agencies, and practitioners to make sense of the law. In the tabs below, several resources are described that aid in this interpretation.  The list is by no means exhaustive but it should provide a good base with which to begin researching a statute's meaning.