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North Carolina Administrative Law

Information and resources for researching North Carolina Administrative Law

North Carolina Administrative Code

The North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC) is the official publication that sets out what rules have been adopted. It includes 30 titles organized by subject matter.

Rules prior to 1987 are difficult to locate. In Orange Co. v. Dept. of Transp., 46 N.C. App 350 (1980), the court took judicial notice that regulations were not published as required by the NC Administrative Procedure Act (specifically G.S. 150A-63).  See id. at 377. In 1981, the Administrative Procedure Section of the North Carolina Department of Justice began publishing the NCAC, though only in microfiche. The code was published twice a year (in March and October), and updated with a monthly List of Rules Affected (LRA). (The NCAC was not published in October 1983 due to a computer update.) These microfiche copies of the code of regulations are available in the library. The last LRA for the microfiche publication is dated August 1, 1987. Please see a reference librarian for assistance locating and using these materials.

The 1986 recodification of the NC Administrative Procedure Act required the print publication of the NCAC, which was first published in paper in March 1987 by the NC OAH.

For additional information on this subject, see:

Scott Childs & Nick Sexton, North Carolina Legal Research Guide 161-98 (2d ed. 2009).

Jackson Nichols, The New North Carolina APA: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Using It, 9 Campbell L. Rev. 293 (1987).

Richard B. Whisnant, Rule Making in North Carolina (2005).

The North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings (NC OAH) makes the current version of the NCAC available online. The website is updated weekly. You can search by citation or keyword in the title or full text and browse by title. Subchapters and rules are available in HTML, PDF or Microsoft Word.

Westlaw and Lexis Advance both contain current versions of the NCAC. Westlaw also has historical codes available beginning in 2002.

Individual agency websites may have the rules they promulgated available online.

The NCAC, now published by West, is available in the library [KFN7435 1998 .A26]. From 1994 to 1997, it was published in looseleaf by Barclays Law Publishers [KFN7435 1995 .A25]. From 1987 to 1994, it was published by NC OAH [KFN7435 1987 .A25]. The North Carolina Department of Justice, Administrative Procedure Section published the microfiche from 1981 to 1987 [available in the microfiche cabinet on the first floor. Microfiche KFN7435 1981 .A25].

North Carolina Register

North Carolina Register

First published in April 1986, the North Carolina Register is the official source for the publication of administrative notices, including proposed rules and final rules. Each volume covers one fiscal year, from July 1 through June 30, and it is published twice a month. The North Carolina Register also publishes the following types of notices:

  • Notices of rulemaking proceedings
  • Permanent rules approved by the Rules Review Commission
  • Temporary rules entered into the NCAC
  • Emergency rules entered into NCAC
  • Executive orders of the Governor
  • Index to published, contested administrative decisions issued by NC OAH
  • Information relating to agency rulemaking, executive orders, contested case decisions & other notices by or affecting Chapter 150B of the general statutes

You can view the North Carolina Register via the following resources:

Online Resources

The North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings

The North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings makes volumes for current and previous fiscal years available online in PDF and docx formats. Additionally, archived Volumes 1-25 are available in PDF. Volumes 1-14 were digitized by the UNC Law Library and provided to the NC OAH.

North Carolina State Library

Scanned copies of the North Carolina Register are available via the North Carolina State Library via their North Carolina Digital Collections. PDFs are available from July 1, 1998-present.

Internet Archive

Scanned copies of the NC Register are available on the Internet Archive from April 15, 1986-June 15, 2001.

Westlaw and Lexis Advance

Westlaw and Lexis Advance include copies of the NC Register. Westlaw has coverage beginning with Volume 16, Issue 9 (from November 1, 2001). Lexis Advance has coverage beginning with Volume 22, Issue 13 (from January 1, 1998).

Note: Access via Westlaw or Lexis Advance is limited to UNC Law Faculty & Students.


Print Resources

UNC Law Library

The North Carolina Register is available in the law library [KFN7434.A2 N67].

North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings Rules Division

North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings Rules Division

The NC OAH Rules Division webpage includes additional resources related to North Carolina administrative rules. Records from the Rules Review Commission are available from 2001-present. On the Information for Rulemaking Coordinators page, you will also find links to forms used for various types of rules, publication schedules, and rule tracking reports.