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Research Guides

District of Columbia (D.C.) Law

A guide to researching D.C. Law

D.C. Session Laws

Prior to the formation of the D.C. Council in 1967 (predecessor to the current Council of the District of Columbia), there existed other forms of governance in D.C.  Enactments from some of these earlier governing bodies remain in effect:

1871 - 1874:  Legislative Assembly:


1875 - 1967:  Board of Commissioners:
The Board of Commissioners governed the District through issuance of Commissioners' Orders.  Orders were codified in the D.C. Rules and Regulations (DCRR) which was later superseded by the D.C. Municipal Regulations (DCMR).

"Most of these Commissioners' Orders have been repealed or superseded, but some are still in effect.  They were never codified in the D.C. Code."

Source:  District of Columbia Practice Manual, at 6 (28th ed., 2020). Library Collection


1967 - 1974:  D.C. Council:

D.C. Council regulations were initially codified in the publication, D.C. Rules and Regulations (DCRR).  This publication was superseded by D.C. Municipal Regulations (DCMR).


1975 to date:  Council of the District of Columbia

D.C. Code

Before the 1981 D.C. Code, published by Michie, the Code was published by the U.S. Government Printing Office under the direction of the Office of Law Revision Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives.

Earlier editions of the D.C. Code:

Additional sources for pre-1967 codes and statutory compilations:

Legislative History


Prior to the codification of D.C. regulations in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (D.C.M.R.), they were published as special editions of the District of Columbia Register (D.C. Reg.). 

These special editions were known as the D.C. Rules and Regulations (D.C.R.R.).  The D.C.R.R. contained some but not all agency regulations. Some titles were incorporated by reference so the text was not published in D.C.R.R.

Titles had irregular formatting, infrequent supplementation, varying degrees of reliability and did not include Mayor's or Commissioner's Orders.

Agency Decisions

Office of the Corporation Counsel


1871 Office of the Attorney for the District of Columbia established
Jan. 1, 1902 Redesignated as the Office of the City Solicitor
July 1, 1902 Redesignated as the Office of Corporation Counsel  
May 26, 2004 A Mayor's Order issued by Mayor Anthony Williams changed the name of the D.C. Office of the Corporation Counsel to Office of the Attorney General.

D.C. Court of Appeals

D.C. Superior Court

Early D.C. Courts & Opinions

Congress reorganized D.C. courts a number of times prior to the establishment in 1970 of D.C. Court of Appeals and the D.C. Superior Court. 

The Bluebook, Table 1: United States Jurisdictions: District of Columbia (D.C.) (T1), provides a list of these earlier courts and their reporters. Library Collection

Rules of Professional Conduct & Ethics Opinions


Law Journal Articles


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