Legal Research

General Legal Research Articles

The purpose of legal research is to find legal documents that will aid in finding a solution to a legal problem.
This is a quick overview of where to find the "law."
The General Assembly is Maryland's legislative body and enacts Maryland laws called statutes.
Case Law is made by judges. Case law is made up of the published opinions of a court on a particular case. Opinions are written explanations of why the judges decided the case the way they did.
The Maryland Rules are rules that lay out the procedures that must be followed when conducting business with the Maryland State courts.
Regulations are laws made by executive branch agencies. Executive branch agencies have the authority to make laws based on statutes passed by the legislatures.
A statute is a written law passed by a legislative body. Maryland's legislative body is the Maryland General Assembly. Congress is the legislative body for the United States.
Secondary sources are resources that you can use to aid your understanding of the law but are not themselves considered law.
Legal research can be a complicated process. Although there is a lot of free legal information on the Internet, the information may not all be accurate or detailed enough to answer all of your questions. If you are serious about handling your own legal problems, it's a good idea to go to a law library and seek research advice from a law librarian.
This article is intended to help you evaluate legal information that's available online.