Rhode Island

Rhode Island in the United States

Legal Materials

Internet links to Rhode Island government agencies statutes, regulations, cases, etc. are posted by FindLaw and WashLaw. Primary legal materials are also available from Lexis, Westlaw and LOIS. Google Scholar has free cases back to 1950; subscription sites Versuslaw and Fastcase also have cases back to 1950.

Supreme Court cases are published in West’s Atlantic Reporter, going back to 1885; they were published in Rhode Island Reports from 1829 to 1980.

To check on the status of a pending bill, call the Legislative Data Systems at 401-751-8833 (out of state) or 800-547-8880 (in state). For questions about recent legislation, try calling the Rhode Island State Law Library (401-222-3275).

Regulations are posted free by the Secretary of State.

West publishes Robert Kent’s Rhode Island Practice.

Subscribers can get historical session laws (1776-1836) from the Digital Session Laws collection on HeinOnline.

Questions, copies and ILL:For questions about Rhode Island legal materials, copies and/or inter-library loan, try calling the Rhode Island State Law Library (401-222-3275) or the Roger Williams University School of Law library (401-254-4530).

Business Entities: You can locate corporate records for Rhode Island business entities using the online database posted by the Secretary of State’s office. The database has records for business corporations, professional service corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies, and producers’ and consumers’ cooperatives.

For older companies not included in the database, call the Secretary of State’s Corporate Division (401-222-3040). They have older records on cards, and they can then request to have files pulled from a records center.

For certificates of incorporation, amendments and name changes filed prior to 1960, you can also contact the Rhode Island State Archives (401-222-2353; statearchives@sos.ri.gov). The Archives has an index of companies going up to 1942, so you may want to call them first for help identifying older companies, especially if the company name has changed. It may also be quicker to get records from the Archives, since they don’t have to retrieve the file from a records center.

Note: We linked the resources to archive.org in an effort to decrease the number of broken links cited.

Primary Law

For more U.S. state primary law resources, see:

Topics Covered by the Rhode Island Legal Encyclopedia

Note: More detailed information about this State is provided in the Rhode Island jurisdictional legal Encyclopedia, which tie together Rhode Island statutory and case law.

Topics include:

  • Rhode Island Statutes
  • RI Cases & Case Law
  • Rhode Island Legal Websites
  • RI State Government Info
  • Rhode Island Counties
  • Rhode Island Cities
  • Rhode Island Legislation
  • RI Court Reporters/Depositions
  • Rhode Island Legal Forms
  • Rhode Island Courts
  • RI State Bar/Legal Associations
  • Rhode Island Law Enforcement
  • Rhode Island Media Sources


See Also

Rhode Island: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Rhode Island. This part provides references, in relation to Rhode Island, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Rhode Island by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Rhode Island and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Rhode Island or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Rhode Island and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Rhode Island. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Rhode Island should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Rhode Island when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

Leave a Comment