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Maritime Law: Legislative Materials

Basic Resources

Federal Legislative History

To learn more about the purpose and methods for researching U.S. legislative history, talk to one of our reference librarians or consult this report (PDF download) from the Congressional Research Service, Legislative History Research: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff.

The Many Different Types of Legislative History

  • Compiled
    • Major pieces of legislation
    • Normally multi-volume
    • Resources such as ProQuest, Hein, Print resources
  • Legislative Documents (What they are)
    • The Bill Itself; voting records
    • Committee Hearing
    • Committee Report
    • Committee Prints
    • Congressional Research Service Reports
    • Floor Debates - Congressional Record
    • Signing Statements
  • Legislative Documents (Where to find them)
    • ProQuest
    • Hein
    • Print / Microfiche / Microfilm
  • Digging Deeper
    • Sutherland Statues and Statutory Construction (Print & Westlaw)
    • Statutory Interpretation: The Search for Legislative Intent, Brown

Travaux Préparatoires

You may also want to find this information for maritime treaties. Materials for treaties that typically include records of negotiations, discussions, and drafts are called travaux préparatoires. For a full discussion on finding these materials, see the Public International Law Guide - Treaties section. It includes a discussion on finding working documents and implementing legislation. As with the text of treaties, this discussion applies to all areas of the law (not just public international). A few examples of helpful resources are listed below, including some electronic and print materials.


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