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Primary Authority   Tags: legal research  

A brief overview of primary authority
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014 URL: http://cooleylawlibguides.com/primaryauthority Print Guide RSS Updates
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Primary Authority

Type of Authority When & Where Mandatory When & Where Persuasive
U.S. Constitution Always mandatory on all federal and state courts  N/A
U.S. Supreme Court decision interpreting & applying federal law (U.S.)  Always mandatory on all federal and state courts  N/A
Federal Statute (U.S.C) Always mandatory on all federal and state courts N/A
Federal Administrative Regulation (C.F.R.)  Always mandatory on all federal and state courts N/A
U.S. Court of Appeals decision interpreting & applying federal law (F.3d)   Always mandatory on federal courts within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Court of Appeals issuing the decision May be regarded as persuasive by federal state courts that do not need to treat the decision as mandatory 
U.S. District Court decision  interpreting & applying federal law  (F.Supp.)  Always mandatory on specialized  lower federal courts, if any, within the jurisdictional boundaries of the District Court issuing the decision & over which the District Court has appellate jurisdiction  May be regarded as persuasive by federal & state courts that do not need to treat the decision as mandatory
State Constitution  Always mandatory on all state courts within the given state N/A
Decision of a state’s  highest court interpreting & applying that state’s  law (Mich.) Always mandatory on all lower state courts within the given state May be regarded as persuasive by federal & state courts that do not need to treat the decision as mandatory
Decision of a state’s intermediate jurisdiction (i.e. Mich. App.)  Always mandatory on all lower state courts within the jurisdictional boundaries of the intermediate appellate court issuing the decision; in some states, may also be  mandatory on lower state courts outside those jurisdictional boundaries  May be regarded as  persuasive by federal &  state courts that do not  need to treat the decision as mandatory
State Statute (i.e M.C.L.)  Always mandatory on all state courts within the given state N/A
State Administrative Regulations (i.e Mich. Admin. Code) Always mandatory on all state courts within the given state N/A
 

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Bryan van Pottelsberghe is the Head of Public Services at the Tampa Bay campus library. 

Last updated 2/26/14.

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