Law of New York

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The law of New York consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, regulatory and case law, and also includes local laws, ordinances, and regulations. The Consolidated Laws of New York form the general statutory law.


The Constitution of New York is the foremost source of state law. The legislation of the New York State Legislature is published in the official Laws of New York and codified in the Consolidated Laws of New York. State agencies promulgate rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) in the New York State Register which are codified in the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations. Because New York is a common law state, every opinion, memorandum, and motion sent by the Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court is published in the New York Reports, and selected opinions of the trial courts and Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court are published in the Miscellaneous Reports. Each local government may elect a legislative body and adopt local laws, and counties, cities, and towns may also promulgate ordinances.


The foremost source of state law is the Constitution of New York. The Constitution of New York in turn is subordinate only to the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme law of the land.


Pursuant to the state constitution, the New York State Legislature has enacted legislation, called chapter laws or slip laws when printed separately.[1][2][3] The bills and concurrent resolutions proposing amendments to the state or federal constitutions of each legislative session are called session laws and published in the official Laws of New York.[4][5]

The codification of the permanent laws of a general nature are contained in the Consolidated Laws of New York.[4][6] New York uses a system called "continuous codification" whereby each session law clearly identifies the law and section of the Consolidated Laws affected by its passage.[7][8] Unlike real codes, the Consolidated Laws are systematic but neither comprehensive nor preemptive, and reference to other laws and case law is often necessary.[4] There also exist unconsolidated laws,[9] such as the various court acts.[10][11] Unconsolidiated laws are uncodified, typically due to their local nature, but are otherwise legally binding.[3]


Pursuant to certain broadly worded statutes, state agencies have promulgated an enormous body of rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law). Regulations are promulgated with and published in the New York State Register and codified in the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).[12] There are also numerous decisions, opinions, and rulings of state agencies.[13]

Case law[edit]

Decisions of the New York Court of Appeals are binding authority on all lower courts, and persuasive authority for itself in later cases.[14] Decisions of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division department panels are binding on the lower courts in that department, and are persuasive authority for the Court of Appeals, other Appellate Division departments and lower courts in other departments.[14] In the absence of a relevant Appellate Division decision from a trial court's own department, the trial court is bound by the applicable decisions of other departments.[14][15] Published trial court decisions are persuasive authority for all other courts in the state.[14]

The New York State Reporter of the New York State Law Reporting Bureau is the official reporter of decisions and is required to publish every opinion, memorandum, and motion sent to it by the Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the New York Reports.[16][17] The Appellate Term and trial court opinions are published selectively in the Miscellaneous Reports.[17][18] The current versions are the New York Reports 3d (cited as N.Y.3d), the Appellate Division Reports 3d (cited as A.D.3d) and the Miscellaneous Reports 3d (cited as Misc.3d).[19] Select opinions of the lower courts in the first and second departments are also published in the New York Law Journal.[20]

Local law[edit]

New York is divided into counties, cities, towns, and villages, which are all municipal corporations with their own government.[21] New York City contains no county, town or village governments other than the government of New York City.[22] The Constitution of New York enumerates the powers of local governments, such as the power to elect a legislative body and adopt local laws.[22][23] Counties, cities, and towns may also promulgate ordinances in addition to laws.[24] A local law has a status equivalent with a law enacted by the Legislature (subject to certain exceptions and restrictions[25]), and is superior to the older forms of municipal legislation such as ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations.[26]

Each local government (counties in particular[27]) must designate a newspaper of notice to publish or describe its laws.[28] The Secretary of State is responsible for publishing local laws as a supplement to the Laws of New York, but they have not done so in recent years.[28][29][27] Local laws are not effective until they have been filed with the Secretary of State in the form designated.[30][31]

With respect to the New York City, the New York City Administrative Code is the codified local law and has 29 titles,[32][33] the Rules of the City of New York are the regulations promulgated by city agencies and consists of 71 titles,[34] and the City Record is the official journal published each weekday (except legal holidays) containing official legal notices produced by city agencies, including notices of proposed and adopted rules, procurement solicitations and awards, upcoming public hearings and meetings, public auctions and property dispositions, and selected court decisions.[35][36]

See also[edit]





  1. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 29.
  2. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 46.
  3. ^ a b "Zimmerman's Research Guide: New York State - Legislative Branch - Statutes". LexisNexis. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 30.
  5. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 47–48.
  6. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 56–57.
  7. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 57.
  8. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 70–71.
  9. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 83.
  10. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 72.
  11. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 84.
  12. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 218.
  13. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 235–253.
  14. ^ a b c d Birnbaum, Edward L.; Belen, Ariel E.; Grasso, Carl T. (2012). New York Trial Notebook (6th ed.). James Publishing. p. 1-23. ISBN 1-58012-104-7. 
  15. ^ Duffy v. Horton Memorial Hospital, 66 NY2d 473, 497 NYS2d 890 (1985); Mountain View Coach Line v. Storms, 102 AD2d 663, 476 NYS2d 918 (2d. Dept. 1984).
  16. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 149.
  17. ^ a b Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 153.
  18. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 151.
  19. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 155.
  20. ^ Liebschutz, Sarah F. (1998). New York Politics and Government: Competition and Compassion. University of Nebraska Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-8032-2925-9. LCCN 97-268980 Check |lccn= value (help). 
  21. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 257–258.
  22. ^ a b Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 258.
  23. ^ NYSDOS 1998, pp. 1-3.
  24. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 263.
  25. ^ NYSDOS 1998, pp. 3-10.
  26. ^ NYSDOS 1998, p. 10.
  27. ^ a b NYSDOS 1998, p. 22.
  28. ^ a b Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 261.
  29. ^ NYSDOS 1998, p. 19.
  30. ^ NYSDOS 1998, p. 18.
  31. ^ NYSDOS 1998, p. 23.
  32. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 450.
  33. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 458.
  34. ^ Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 473.
  35. ^ "About DCAS - The City Record". New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  36. ^ Durkin, Erin (26 May 2014). "Councilman Ben Kallos wants city to publish government notices on its website". New York Daily News. 

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