Fastcase - A Brief Guide: Statutes
To search statutes, select "Search Statutes" from the left box on the start page. Fastcase allows you to search all federal and state statutes by keyword, natural language, and citation as well as browse them in an outline form.
Keyword searches for statutes allow you to search by certain phrases or terms coupled with Boolean operators to find laws about a specific subject.
Note: Many statutes have popular names, but searching for those may not return the actual statute.
Natural Language Searching
Natural language searches are less precise than citation or keyword searches, but are useful if you do not have exact search terms. The searches return the "most relevant" results for your search, even if some of your terms do not appear in the results.
All statutes have unique citations that point to their location in the corresponding code. The structure of citations varies between jurisdictions,
Citations for federal statutes have this structure:
6 U.S.C. § 1134
[Title #] [Code Citation] § [Section #]
Citations for New York statutes on Fastcase have this structure:
N.Y. RPP Law § 370
N.Y. [Code Abbreviation] § [Section #]
Note: Fastcase does not use standard Blue Book abbreviations for state codes, so searching using Blue Book citations may not lead to the desired statute. In these cases, either browse the desired code or ask a reference librarian for help.
The highly organized nature of codes and statutory compilations makes them ideal for browsing. When browsing for statutes, they are typically broken down in a format of: broad subject > narrower issue > particular law.
For help browsing and searching for statutes, please consult a librarian at the reference desk.
Case Law Interpreting Statutes
After each code section, Fastcase links to cases that cite to it. These cases may interpret certain provisions or terms in the statute and are useful in determining the meaning of the language.
If you have any questions regarding Fastcase or run into research problems, please consult a librarian in person at the reference desk, at 716- 645-2047, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the HELP pull-down menu for:
- User Guides - Click on "Documentation and Downloads" for print user guides
- Tutorials - Click on "Video Tutorials" to see short how-to videos
- FAQs - Click on "Frequently Asked Questions" to see a list of FAQs organized by category