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Uniform Laws & Model Acts Research Guide

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (commonly know as the Uniform Law Commission) has been involved in legislative reform activity since 1892. Three hundred sixty practicing lawyers, judges, scholars, and government officials serve as commissioners at present. The Conference publishes uniform acts, codes, and court rules, as well as model acts. State legislatures are urged to adopt uniform acts exactly as written to promote uniformity in law among the states. "Model" acts, in comparison, are intended to serve as guideline legislation which states can borrow from or adapt to suit their respective situations.

Washburn University School of Law has had 14 graduates serve as Commissioners. Two Washburn faculty have served as Commissioners.

Uniform Laws Annotated

Uniform Laws Annotated (ULA)—Master Edition (Reserve KF 165.A5): This set contains more than 160 uniform laws. For most laws, the following elements will be provided:

  • Table of Jurisdictions Wherein Act Has Been Adopted
  • Historical Notes
  • Commissioner's Prefatory Notes
  • General Statutory Notes
  • Outline of Act

For each section of a uniform law, these elements are usually provided:

  • Text
  • Official Comment
  • Action in Adopting Jurisdictions
  • Law Review Commentaries
  • Annotations or Notes of Decisions
  • Library References
  • An annual pamphlet comprising part of ULA Master Edition contains these helpful research aids:
    • Directory of Uniform Acts - gives locations in ULA Master Edition
    • Table of Jurisdictions listing Uniform Acts adopted
    • Table of Acts withdrawn
    • Cross Reference Index to Acts

Single copies of individual uniform laws or drafts may be obtained by contacting the headquarters office by mail:

Uniform Law Commission
111 North Wabash Ave.
Suite 1010
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Phone: 312-450-6600
Fax: 312-450-6601

Uniform Laws Commission: contains the text of final acts and legislation.

Drafts of Uniform and Model Acts: This is the official website providing text of draft acts. Both the Drafts and Final Acts pages have alphabetical indexes to the various uniform acts, with archives.

Lexis: To find uniform laws in Lexis, look under the "area of law by topic."

Westlaw: U.S. State Materials —Model Codes, Restatements & Principles of the Law

Handbook of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws & Proceedings of the Annual Conference

The library has the annual Handbook and Proceedings from 1892 to 1994 (KF 165 .A2). The Handbook contains a wealth of material.

  • Alphabetical List of Commissioners
  • Commissioners on Uniform State Laws by State
  • Annual Meeting Program
  • Minutes of the Executive Committee
  • Scope and Program Committee Reports
  • Schedule of Drafting Committee Meetings
  • Uniform and Model Acts Approved
  • Chart of Adoption of Uniform Acts by State

The Handbook contains a series of Tables in the Appendix that may be of assistance to researchers:

  • Acts promulgated by the National Conference which are at present recommended for adoption by all jurisdictions as Uniform Acts
  • Model Acts promulgated by the National Conference
  • Acts withdrawn because obsolete or superseded
  • Alphabetical list of all Acts drafted or endorsed by the Conference
  • Acts drafted or endorsed by the National Conference arranged by subjects, showing history and status
  • Lists of states showing the Uniform Acts adopted therein

Archive Publications

Commissioners on Uniform State Laws Archive (KF 165 .A2): a set of over one thousand fiche containing all available transcripts of the Proceedings of each annual meeting, from 1924 to 1994, as well as the transcript of the discussions in the Committee of the Whole of each Uniform and Model Act. Also included are the "successive drafts" of each act.

A hard copy index to the collection is kept on top of the microfiche cabinet. Law Library staff have cataloged each of the uniform acts in this collection. You can find the act by searching ATLAS, the library catalog. You may search by title of the act, by subject, or by the Hein index number. All titles in the series may be retrieved by a title search for "Proceedings of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws". For assistance in using the collection, contact a Reference Librarian.

Model Acts

Model acts are created where individual states are likely to modify a proposed law to meet their needs for specific fields, rather than adopt it completely. The National Conference has drafted some model acts, but the American Law Institute developed two of the more influential model acts, the Model Business Corporation Act and the Model Penal Code. The proceedings of the American Law Institute from 1964 to present are located at KF 294 .A5 A1 in the main stacks. Some model acts are published in Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest as well.

The American Law Institute website provides an index to look up current projects, as well as many of their past projects.

Other resources for finding model acts:

  • ULA Master Edition
  • Shepard's Acts and Cases by Popular Name
  • For Kansas: the K.S.A. General Index, "Uniform Laws"
  • Handbook of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, year of adoption
  • Shepard's Citations — Shepardize the particular statutory section number assigned in the state code.
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