Researching Uniform Laws

March 29, 2024

In certain areas of law, it benefits states to have similar legislative approaches. Sometimes states pass virtually identical acts, known as uniform laws, to reduce the confusion caused by conflicting state statutes. But how do they decide what makes up these uniform laws, and how can we research them?

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is an organization that creates model laws with the help of representatives from every state. The Commission is made up of lawyers, judges, legislators, and law professors who meet frequently to draft model laws. States are free to adopt and modify these model laws as they see fit. Some of their model laws, like the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), are widely influential or have been adopted by every state. Others have been sparsely or not adopted at all.

These can be of great interest to legal researchers. It’s possible one-or-more states you are working in have adopted or are planning to adopt a model law and you want to know more about it. Seeing the changes your state made to a model law in the process of enactment can be valuable legislative history information. You may also want to track down draft versions of a model law to see how it has changed over time.

Luckily, there are multiple great resources for researching uniform laws:


The Uniform Law Commission’s website is an excellent (and free!) resource. First, it contains lots of helpful contextual information about the Commission, its processes, and the kinds of documents it creates.

It also contains a database of all current acts and a wealth of easy-to-ready supplementary information, including: (1) a description of the act and what it covers; (2) an enactment map and history; (3) bill tracking; and (4) a committee archive containing meeting and draft documents.

The commission provides a database of drafting committees who are actively working on new model laws. The database includes the committee charge, list of members, and drafts of laws in-progress. Keeping track of these is a great way to stay a step ahead in areas of laws you’re interested in.


Westlaw’s Uniform Laws Annotated includes the complete set of uniform laws with commentaries and notes regarding differences in various enacted state laws, tables of adopting states with code citations, commissioners’ notes, and annotations to court decisions from adopting jurisdictions.


Lexis’ Uniform Law Commission Model Acts (ULCLAW) includes about 175 uniform laws with commentaries. Unlike Westlaw, it does not contain case annotations.


HeinOnline’s Uniform Law Commission database includes the full text of many acts as well as archived versions that are not always available on the Uniform Laws website, making it a valuable resource for those digging into the history of a particular model law.

Further Reading

This has been but a brief dive into the world of model laws. Beyond the Uniform Law Commission, other organizations create and advocate for model laws like the American Law Institute. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these resources: