Maryland Resources In-Depth
This State Guide provides an in-depth look at sources of law in Maryland.
This research guide identifies and describes major publications of Maryland law, including statutory law, administrative law, case law and secondary materials. Multiple sources of the same information, print or electronic, and useful contact information are also included.
Maryland's present constitution was ratified September 18, 1867, but has been amended approximately 200 times. The General Assembly can propose amendments to the Maryland Constitution. Each amendment must be proposed in a separate bill, embodying the constitutional article or section. Amendments must first be approved by three-fifths of all the members elected to each of the two houses of the General Assembly, then published in newspapers around the state and approved by a majority of Maryland voters. Md. Const. art. XIV, § 1.
Every 20 years (beginning in 1970), as part of the general election, Maryland voters must decide whether to call a constitutional convention for the drafting of a new constitution. If such a convention is called, any draft constitution it produces must be approved by a majority of Maryland voters. Md. Const. art XIV, § 2.
Maryland had three other constitutions before the Constitution of 1867: 1776, 1851, and 1864.
A. Where to Find the Maryland Constitutions and Proceedings of the Constitutional Conventions?
1. Current Constitution
The Constitution of Maryland can be found in the following publications:
- Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland. Constitutions (official) [ KFM1230.5.M6.C45 2003]
- Maryland Manual [JK3830.M3 2006]
- Maryland Manual Online This web page also links to a pdf copy of the Maryland Constitution (including the index) as taken from the Maryland Manual, 1996-1997.
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Statute & Regulations > MD-Maryland Constitution - the version from the Annotated Code of Maryland.
- Westlaw: MD-ST-ANN or MD-STM-ANN
2. Historic Constitutions
b. Francis Newton Thorpe, ed. The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies. (1909). [KF4530 .T46 1909]. Maryland documents are in volume 3, pp. 1669-1826.
c. William F. Swindler, ed. Sources and Documents of United States Constitutions. (1973-1979). [KF4530 .S94]. Maryland documents, including the Draft Constitution of 1968 (which was never ratified) are in Volume 4.
3. Constitutional Conventions
Many of the proceedings of the various constitutional conventions have been digitized and are available from the Maryland State Archives. The Williams Library also has the proceedings in print:
- The Decisive Blow is Struck: A Facsimile Edition of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1776 and the First Maryland Constitution with an introduction by Edward C. Papenfuse, Gregory A. Stiverson. [KFM1601 1776 .A223 1977].
- Debates and Proceedings of the Maryland Reform Convention to Revise the State Constitution ... / published by order of the convention. [ KFM1601 1851 .A22; 2 volumes].
- The Debates of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Maryland: Assembled at the City of Annapolis, Wednesday, April 27, 1864 ... / Official Wm. Blair Lord, reporter; Henry M. Parkhurst, assistant. [ KFM1601 1864 .A22; 3 volumes].
- Proceedings of the State Convention of Maryland: To Frame a New Constitution, Commenced at Annapolis, May 8, 1867. [KFM1601 1867 .A2].
III. STATUTORY LAW
A. Bills & the Legislative Process
This section is a summary of guide prepared by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, The Legislative Process.
Maryland has a two-chamber legislature called the Maryland General Assembly. Its two houses are called the Senate and the House of Delegates. The Maryland General Assembly meets in Annapolis each year from January to April (a "session") and has 47 senators and 141 delegates elected from 47 districts.
When a bill is introduced in the Maryland General Assembly, it follows this process:
When a legislator decides to sponsor legislation, legislative staff aides draft the bill for the legislator's approval. Bills on most subjects may be introduced in either chamber during the first 55 days of a session. After that, a bill may only be introduced with the consent of two-thirds of the membership of the chamber in which it is to be introduced.
2. First Reading.
The Maryland Constitution requires that a bill receive three "readings," and favorable votes in each chamber. When a bill is introduced, it receives its first reading. The title, sponsor, and committee assignment of the bill are announced.
3. Committee Action.
The assigned committee holds a hearing to consider the bill. Anyone may testify at the hearing; written statements such as letters and emails from constituents may also be submitted. Later, the committee meets again to consider proposed amendments and to vote on the bill. The bill may be voted "favorable," "favorable with amendments," or "unfavorable." Alternatively, the bill may be referred for interim study. A bill referred for interim study will receive no further action before the next session.
4. Second Reading.
If the bill receives a favorable committee vote, it will be sent to the full chamber. The bill and any amendments made by the committee are explained to the full chamber. The full chamber may debate the bill, and amendments may be offered from the floor. Votes are taken on the bill and any amendments; these are usually voice votes. If the bill passes the second reading vote, it is reprinted to incorporate the amendments.
5. Third Reading.
This is the final vote by the full chamber. No amendments may be offered, and a roll call vote must be taken. If the bill passes this vote, it is sent to the other chamber for consideration.
6. Second Chamber Consideration.
The consideration process is similar in the second chamber. However, testimony at the committee hearing may be limited, and sometimes only the bill's sponsor will be able to testify. Also, it is possible in the second chamber to propose amendments at the third reading stage. If there are no amendments in the second chamber, the bill is sent to the governor.
If the second chamber passes an amended version of the bill, it is sent back to the original chamber, which will consider the amendments. The chamber of origin may concur in the amendments or reject them. If it rejects them, the second chamber may be asked to withdraw its amendments. If the second chamber agrees, the amendments are stripped from the bill and the second chamber votes again, passing the version of the bill that was approved by the chamber of origin. If it does not agree, either chamber may request a conference committee.
8. Conference Committee.
A conference committee consists of three members from each chamber. Conference committees attempt to reach a compromise between the differing versions of the bill passed by each chamber. Four out of six committee members must vote in favor of a compromise bill for it to be "reported out;" otherwise, the bill dies. The conference committee "report" contains the compromise language, and must be approved by both houses before the bill is considered "passed." The conference report cannot be amended.
Once both chambers have passed identical versions of the bill, it is sent to the governor for signature or veto. The governor has a limited period of time, usually six days, excluding Sunday, to decide whether to sign or veto a bill, but the exact amount of time varies depending on when the bill is presented. If the governor does not act within the required period, the bill automatically becomes law (Md. Const. art. II, § 17). The General Assembly may override a veto with a three-fifths vote of the elected membership of each chamber. Once the bill is approved, it is assigned a chapter number and becomes part of the Laws of Maryland.
10. Where to Find Bills and Bill Information?
- Maryland General Assembly
- "Legislation by Session" section covers bills from 1996-
- Using Legislation by Session, you can find a bill or a joint resolution:
- by bill number
- by bill sponsor
- by subject
- by file code
- by section of state or local law affected
- The web site provides bill history by legislative date, as well as different versions of the bill - First Reading, Third Reading, and Enrolled - as available.
- The web site also provides Senate and House proceedings in audio files and roll call votes.
- State budget information is also available.
- The Library and Information Services, Department of Legislative Services publishes a weekly "The Legislative Wrap-Up" during the session, summarizing activities at the legislature. Wrap-ups from prior sessions are also available (1996- ).
- Depository Libraries: Depository libraries in Maryland (including the University of Maryland Law Library and the Maryland State Law Library) receive copies of bills and bind them; the bound volumes are organized by session, chamber, and bill number.
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Statutes & Regulations > MD Bill Tracking and Full-Text Bills: Current session only, updated daily during the week.
B. Session Laws
Session laws are compiled in a set of volumes containing all laws enacted during the session. They are given a chapter number after signature by the governor and are published chronologically.
1. Where to Find Session Laws?
- Laws of the State of Maryland [KFM1225 .A213] (1876-1985 session laws are shelved in the Historic Core Collection and must be requested at the circulation desk)
- Sessions Laws (1996- ) are available through by searching Legislation by Session on the Maryland General Assembly Web Site.
- Session Laws: HeinOnline, (1692- )
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Statutes & Regulations > MD-Maryland Advance Legislative Service - The Maryland Advance Legislative Service contains the full text of all laws enacted during a legislative session (1989-)
C. The Maryland Code (Subject Compilation)
Enacted laws published in the Laws of the State of Maryland are arranged chronologically, which presents problems for researchers who are looking for current law on a particular subject. To facilitate research for current law, statutes are arranged by subject in the Maryland Code. Like the United States Code and other state codes, the Maryland Code is a subject compilation of enacted legislation, divided into articles, titles, chapters and sections.
Michie's Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland consists of a set of "black books"containingthe numbered articles and a set of "red books" (actually maroon in color) containing the named articles. The reason for the existence of both the "black books" and the "red books" is that the Michie's Annotated Code of Maryland is in the process of being revised. Since the early 1970s, the State has started to repeal statutes in the "black books" and recompile them into revised articles in the "red books." Eventually, all the "black books" will be replaced. Depending on where you find the provisions you need, you cite either to MD. CODE ANN by subject (the "red books") or to MD. ANN.CODE of 1957 (the "black books"). Table T.1 of the Bluebook gives a list of subject abbreviations.
The complete Maryland Code, both the "black books" and the "red books," is indexed in two softcover index volumes, which are updated annually. The index is a "subject" or "topic" index, not a keyword index. For example, if you look under "advertisement" when trying to find "false advertisement," a cross-reference should lead you to the right entry.
The Maryland Code is updated by pocket parts. Prior to the publication of each year's pocket parts, the Advance Legislative Service (which reproduces the acts passed by the Maryland General Assembly and approved by the Governor) is issued. It includes tables that show the impact of legislation on sections of the Code. The Advance Code Service pamphlets are published three times a year to update statutory material and annotations.
1. Where to Find the Maryland Code?
- Current: Michie's Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland [KFM1230 1957.A4]
- Historic: Superseded volumes of the Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland all the way back to the 19th century are kept in the Historic Core Collection. These volumes must be requested at the circulation desk.
- Current: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Statutes & Regulations > MD-Annotated Code of Maryland.
- Historic: The Maryland Code Annotated (1991-last year) is available at Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Find Statutes, Regulations, Administrative Materials & Court Rules > By Statutes & Regulations > Legislative Archive.
- Superseded Maryland codes are also available on Westlaw (1986-last year). The database identifiers for each of these superseded codes take the form MD-STMANNxx, where the "xx" stands for the two-digit year, e.g., MD-STANN03 for the Maryland Code as it existed in 2003.
D. Legislative History
"Legislative history" refers to the legislative documents that are produced by the Maryland General Assembly during the process of studying and debating a bill, and ultimately enacting a statute. For a guide to the law-making process, check the section "Bills & the Legislative Process" above. Legislative history includes the following documents:
- Bills: See above for more information.
- Senate and House proceedings: Audiotapes and written records of floor action.
- Committee hearing records: Most of the available testimony consists of written statements; audiotapes of hearings are available for some bills.
- Committee reports: From 1982 through 2001, bills reported out of certain "standing committees" (the committees that regularly consider bills before their second reading on the floor) were required to be accompanied by a committee report that included section-by-section analysis, background information, and an explanation of legislative intent. This requirement never applied to all committees and was abolished for legislative sessions after 2001. Conference committees still issue reports when they report out compromise bills.
- Fiscal Notes: Every bill reported out of committee must be accompanied by a fiscal note which analyzes the likely financial impact of enacting the bill. Since 2002, some of these notes also provide section-by-section analysis of the bill, a brief restatement of current law, and background on the reasons for the bill.
- Session laws: See above for more information.
For more detailed descriptions of the documents of Maryland legislative history, consult Ghost Hunting: Searching for Maryland Legislative History by Michael S. Miller and Judith C. Levinson of the Maryland State Law Library.
Legislative history materials for Maryland laws enacted before 1975 are hard to find. Of the materials listed above, only the bills and session laws themselves and the House and Senate Journals are available for pre-1975 legislation. Another resource for pre-1975 legislative history research is the Legislative Council Report to the General Assembly (1941-1976), also known as the "Blue Book." The Legislative Council Report included bills recommended by the Legislative Council for the upcoming session, actual minutes of the Council, and committee or special reports.
1. Where to Find Legislative History Documents?
- Bills: See above.
- Senate and House proceedings:
- Maryland General Assembly Web Site
- Proceedings of recent legislatures (2011-) are available in text and audio files
- Audiocassettes of floor debates (1992-) are available for listening and duplication at the Legislative Services Library in Annapolis.
- Journals of the Senate and House of Delegates: Official records of the proceedings of the Senate and the House for the entire session are available in the Legislative Services Library and in depository libraries throughout the state. These journals do not provide verbatim records of debate, but do provide a bill's committee assignment, votes on bill amendments, and the final roll call vote.
- Maryland General Assembly Web Site
- Committee hearing records: Available only in the committee bill files. For information on the bill files, see the heading "Committee bill files" below.
- Committee reports:
- Conference committee reports:
- Maryland General Assembly Web Site. Conference committee reports (1996- ) are available from the General Assembly as part of each session's proceedings.
- Westlaw: MD-LH (1997-). The easiest way to retrieve materials in this database is to do a terms and connectors search in the title field for the session (year) and bill number. Example: ti(2004 & "house bill 172").
- Standing committee reports:
- Standing committee reports, when they exist, are included in the General Assembly's committee bill files. For information on the bill files, see the heading "Committee bill files" below.
- Conference committee reports:
- Fiscal notes:
- Maryland General Assembly Web Site.
Selected fiscal notes (1996-) are available through the House and Senate proceedings. From the proceedings, click a linked bill number and scroll to the bottom of the page for that bill's fiscal note.
- Westlaw: MD-LH (1996-). The easiest way to retrieve materials in this database is to do a terms and connectors search in the title field for the session (year) and bill number. Example: ti(2004 & "house bill 172").
- Fiscal notes are included in the General Assembly's committee bill files. For information on the bill files, see the heading "Committee bill files" below.
- Maryland General Assembly Web Site.
- Committee bill files:
- Session laws: See above.
IV. AGENCIES AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
A. Executive Branch
Maryland's executive branch of government, headed by the Governor, includes nineteen principal departments, and numerous independent agencies, commissions, task forces, and advisory boards.
1. Governor and Lieutenant Governor
The Governor is elected by popular vote for a four-year term and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms. The Office of the Governor maintains a Web site. The Governor's powers and duties include the following:
- At the beginning of each legislative session, submits proposed budget for the following fiscal year to the General Assembly;
- Gives State of the State Address to the General Assembly at the beginning of each session;
- Considers each bill passed by the General Assembly for approval or veto;
- Appoints military and civilian officers with the advice and consent of the Maryland Senate;
- Serves as Commander-in-Chief of the Maryland National Guard except when it is called to national service;
- Serves on certain boards and commissions, including the Board of Public Works and the Governor's Workforce Investment Board.
The Lieutenant Governor is also elected to a four-year term, and performs duties delegated by the Governor. If the Governor leaves office before the end of the four-year term for any reason, the Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor.
2. Executive Departments and Agencies
The 19 principal departments of Maryland's executive branch include the Departments of Business & Economic Development; Education; Health & Mental Hygiene; Labor, Licensing, & Regulation; Natural Resources; State Police; and Transportation. A complete list of the principal departments, with organizational charts and contact information, is available from the Maryland Manual Online. Each principal department is made up of numerous agencies. For example, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene includes under its umbrella the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration and the AIDS Administration.
Maryland also has many executive branch agencies which are not part of any of the principal departments; these are called independent agencies. A list of Maryland's independent agencies, with organizational charts and contact information, is also available from the Maryland Manual Online.
A complete list of Maryland departments, agencies, task forces and commissions is available from Maryland.gov, which also provides links to their home pages. Below are direct links to a few of the more important agencies:
- Maryland Attorney General: The Attorney General is Maryland's chief legal officer. The Attorney General's Office "represents the State in all cases pending in the Appellate Courts of the State, and in the U.S. Supreme Court and lower Federal Courts." It also "gives legal opinions as to the construction or interpretation of the law as it affects various agencies of the State and gives legal opinions to local subdivisions on questions involving substantial statewide interest."
- Comptroller of Maryland: The primary duty of the Office of the Comptroller is to collect taxes.
- State Department of Assessments and Taxation: The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is responsible for the valuation of personal and real property for state tax purposes. SDAT is also the agency with which businesses must file articles of incorporation (to form a corporation), articles of organization (to form a limited liability company), forms for registration as a foreign corporation doing business in Maryland, and related documents.
- SDAT maintains Maryland's business filings. Filings include registered agent information; personal property assessment information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships, and professional corporations; and trade name registrations.
Similar to the federal model, Maryland's state agencies are authorized to promulgate regulations to enforce a particular statute. All proposed, amended, and adopted regulations by state agencies have to be published in the Maryland Register before they enter into force.
1. Maryland Register
The Maryland Register (Md. Reg.) is an official publication of the State of Maryland and is published every two weeks. It was first issued on October 17, 1974 after the enactment of the State Document Law. In addition to regulations, the following information is also published regularly in the Maryland Register: Governor's Executive Orders, Governor's Appointments to State Offices, Attorney General's Opinions in full text, Open Meetings Compliance Board Opinions in full text, State Ethics Commission Opinions in full text, Court rules, District Court Administrative Memoranda, Courts of Appeal Hearing Calendars, Agency Hearing and Meeting Notices, and other documents considered to be in the public interest.
2. Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)
While the Maryland Register publishes, among other things, proposed, amended and adopted regulations chronologically in bi-weekly issues, the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) organizes all adopted regulations by subject. COMAR first appeared in 1977, but the whole set was not completed until 1981. The Maryland Register is, therefore, used as the supplement to COMAR. In each issue of the Register, there is a cumulative table of regulations by COMAR title which have been adopted.
3. Where to Find Maryland Regulations?
- Maryland Register
- Print: KFM1234.A2 M37 (Library has v.14, 1987-)
- Web: Maryland Register online (only the 8 most recent issues are available)
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Agency & Administrative Materials > MD-Maryland Register - (January 14, 2000-; tends to be about one month behind). There is also a MD State Regulation Tracking database which contains summaries of proposed regulations and status actions for individual regulations as promulgated by various agencies in the state, from 1995-present.
- Westlaw does not have the full text of the Maryland Register, but it has MD-REGTXT - Maryland Regulation Tracking Full Text, which contains the full text of proposed and recently adopted regulations; it is updated daily.
- Code of Maryland Regulations
- Print: KFM1235 1977 .A25 (current only; to find historic regulations, check the Maryland Register, KFM1234.A2 M37)
- Web: COMAR Online (updated bi-weekly)
- Current: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Agency & Administrative Materials > MD-Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR): Current through the most recent Maryland Register
- Historic: Previous editions of COMAR are available at Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Find Statutes, Regulations, Administrative Materials & Court Rules > By Statutes & Regulations > Administrative Code Archive .
- Current: MD-ADC: Maryland Administrative Code: Current through the most recent Maryland Register
- Historic: Previous years' editions of the Maryland Administrative Code (back to 2002) are available in databases named according to the year. For example, to search COMAR as it existed in 2004, search the MD-ADC04 database.
- Note: Before the enactment of the State Document Law in 1974, regulations were not published on a regular or consistent basis. Newspaper articles, legal notices and agencies' annual reports are some of the documents a student researching pre-1970 regulatory matters can hope to find in the Maryland State Law Library, and the Legislative Services Library.
C. Administrative Orders, Decisions, and Opinions
In addition to making regulations, many Maryland agencies issue orders, decisions, and opinions. Many of these orders, decisions, and opinions are originally published in chronological order in the Maryland Register. Other sources, as listed below, are superior when you are researching these documents by subject.
1. Where to Find Maryland Administrative Orders, Decisions, and Opinions?
- Maryland Attorney General Opinions
- Office of the Attorney General (1993-)
- Annual Report and Official Opinions of Attorney General of Maryland [KFM1640.A55, v. 23 (1938)-v. 58 (1973)]
- Annual Report and Official Opinions of Attorney General of Maryland [KFM1640.A55 (Microform) (1916- 2010)]
- An Up-to-date Copy of the Opinions of Attorney General - State of Maryland (by the Rules Service Co.) [KFM1640.A56, v. 65 (1980 - )]
- Lexis: the following databases can be found in this folder: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Find Statutes, Regulations, Administrative Materials & Court Rules > By Administrative Materials
- MD Attorney General Opinions (1970-)
- MD Public Service Commission Decisions (Aug. 6, 1976-)
- MD Securities Orders, Releases and Letters (April 1980-)
- National Reporter on Legal Ethics & Prof. Responsibly - MD opinions (1987-; selected decisions)
- MD-AG: Maryland Attorney General Opinions (1977-)
- MDENV-ADMIN: Maryland Environmental Law Administrative Decisions (December 1985-December 1995 )
- MD-PUR: Maryland Public Utilities Reports - decisions of the Maryland Public Services Commission (1953-)
- MDSEC-ADMIN: Maryland Securities Administrative Decisions (April 1980-)
- Note: For decisions of other agencies, contact the agency itself or the Maryland State Law Library.
V. COURTS, CASES & COURT RULES
The Maryland Judiciary consists of the following courts:
- The Court of Appeals
- The Court of Appeals, the highest tribunal in the State of Maryland, was created by the Constitution of 1776. It hears cases almost exclusively by way of certiorari, a discretionary review process. The Court has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals in which a sentence of death is imposed.
- The web site provides general information on how to file petition for writ of certiorari, how to file appellate briefs, how to change your name on the Court's official roll (for attorneys), and how to obtain a certificate of good standing (for attorneys).
- The web site also provides biographical information of judges, court schedule, and fee schedule.
- See the next section for court opinions.
- The Court of Special Appeals
- The Court of Special Appeals is Maryland's intermediate appellate court, created in 1966.
- The site provides biographical information of judges, appellate fee schedule, and links to court opinions.
- The Circuit Courts
- There are 8 judicial circuits in Maryland. The Circuit Courts are the highest common law and equity courts of record.
- The web site provides contact information for administrative judges, a fee schedule, and links to all circuit courts of all 24 counties.
- The District Court
- The Jurisdiction of the court includes all landlord-tenant cases, replevin actions, motor vehicle violations, misdemeanors and certain felonies. In civil cases the District Court has excusive jurisdiction in claims for amounts up to $5,000, and concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts in claims for amounts above $5,000 but less than $25,000. The jurisdiction of the court in criminal cases is concurrent with the Circuit Court for offenses in which the penalty may be confinement for three years or more or a fine of $2,500 or more; or offenses which are felonies.
- The web site provides contact information for District Court Commissioners, electronic versions (in both html and pdf formats) of some of the Court's brochures, fee schedule in pdf format, and various district court forms in pdf format.
- The Orphans' Courts
- The Orphans' Court hears all matters involving decedents' estates which are contested and supervises all of those estates which are probated judicially. It approves accounts, awards of personal representative's commissions, and attorney's fees in all estates. The Court also has concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit court in the guardianships of minors and their property. All matters involving the validity of wills and the transfer of property in which legal questions and disputes occur are resolved by the Orphans' Court.
- The web site provides a description of the Courts and a directory of Orphans' Courts judges and registers of wills.
For more information about the Maryland Judiciary, consult Annual Report of the Maryland Judiciary [KFM 1708.A826]. The Library has volumes 1976-77 through 2001-02 in print. Later editions were published in two parts: a statistical report and a "highlights" report. These later editions are available on the Judiciary website (1999- ).
B. Where to Find Court Opinions?
1. Reported Appellate Court Opinions
Reported appellate court opinions are accessible in the following publications and databases:
- Maryland Reports: Cases Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Md.)
- Maryland Appellate Reports, Cases Adjudged in the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (Md. App.) [KFM1248.A2]
- Library has v.1, 1967 to present
- Maryland Advance Reports [KFM1245.A3]
- Published weekly (except last week of September and first week of October)
- Atlantic Reporter (A., A.2d)
- Appellate Court Opinions Website
- The database includes reported opinions, in WordPerfect and pdf formats, from the Court of Appeals and the Court of Special Appeals from 1995 to date. There are two ways of accessing the opinions you need. You can do a full-text keyword search; search query results are only available in pdf format. Opinions can also be listed by case docket number/term, by official case citation, by appellant's (or first party's) name, by date opinion is filled by court, or by judge. You can choose one particular year or all years.
- Reported opinions are posted on the web site on the day they are filed.
- Amicus Curiarum: a Publication of the Administrative Office of the Courts
- This publication provides abstracted highlights of selected appellate opinions. (Georgetown Law Library does not carry this, but the Maryland State Law Library and a few university libraries in Maryland do.)
- The Maryland Judiciary Website provides the publication in html and pdf formats from August 2003 (Vol. 20, Issue 8).
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Cases
- MD Court of Appeals of Maryland from 1658: Through current; Earliest opinion dated 1658 through current. Includes official and parallel citations from: 1 A. (from 1885); 1 H. & J. (1800-); 1 H. & McH. (1770-)
- MD Court of Special Appeals of Maryland from 1967 (February 1967 (1 Md. App.) - current)
- MD State Cases, Combined
- Westlaw: MC-CS - Maryland Cases covers cases from the following:
- Provincial Court, Proprietary Province of Maryland (1714-1774), General Court (1781-1805), Court of Appeals (1787-), Court of Special Appeals (1967-), Tax Court (1960-)
2. Unreported Appellate Court Opinions
- A list of unreported Appellate Court Opinions is available on the courts' website by month since January 2001. Full-text is not available.
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Cases > MD State Cases, Combined
- Westlaw: MD-CS
- Note: Under Maryland Rule 1-104, unpublished opinions are not precedent and also not persuasive authority; therefore, you should not cite them in documents submitted to Maryland courts.
3. Circuit Court Opinions
- As noted in Pamela Gregory, Legal Research in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (2000) [KF240.C43 2000], "Opinions of the circuit courts seldom are ever published, as they are nisi prius opinions. Occasionally an opinion will be of such general interest or uniqueness that the Daily Record will publish it, but those instances are rare." (p. 2-60). The Daily Record is a daily newspaper containing legal announcements, court calendar, opinions of Attorney General, and synopses of important court decisions. The current issue is available in the Library Lounge, earlier issues are kept on Reserve behind the Circulation Desk in the Library until replaced by the Microfiche set (vol. 1, 1888- v.245, 1996).
4. Court Opinions - Finding Aids
- West's Maryland Digest 2d: Covering Cases from State and Federal Courts [KFM1257.M3 1993] (1658-)
- It is not necessary to consult the Digest's first series, below, because this series covers all published Maryland cases from 1658 on.
- Maryland Digest: Covering Cases from State and Federal Courts [KFM1257.M3] (1658-1993)
- Atlantic Reporter Digest [KF135.A72 W3]
- Subject index for the West regional reporter which includes published cases from Maryland
- Summarizes cases from Maryland state courts, but not from the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland
- West's Atlantic Digest 2d [KF135.A72 W4] (1968-2004)
- To find cases earlier than 1968 you must search the first series, Atlantic Reporter Digest
- Summarizes cases from Maryland state courts, but not from the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland
C. Where to Find Docket Information?
The Maryland Judiciary Case Search page provides basic docket information (filing date, party names, attorney names, and case status) for all Maryland circuit and district courts except those of Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. Dates of coverage vary by court. The Maryland Judiciary Case Search is a free service searchable by participant (party, attorney) name and docket number.
D. Where to Find Court Rules?
- Print: Michie's Annotated Code of the Public General Laws of Maryland [KFM1230 1957.A4]. Includes two Rules Volumes at the end of the set.
VI. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
A. Background Information Sources
- Mark M. Viani, Maryland Local Government Law and Structure (1999) [KFM1630.A75 M37 1999]. Provides a detailed description and discussion of local government law and structure in Maryland.
- Maryland at a Glance: Local Government by the Maryland State Archives
B. County Governments
Twenty-three counties and Baltimore City are the twenty-four primary local jurisdictions in Maryland. In most other states, power to deal with local issues are delegated to incorporated municipalities, but in Maryland, the responsibilities and powers rest mainly with the counties. Counties provide local services and act as an administrative arm of the State.
There are two major types of county government in Maryland: (1) commission and (2) home rule. In addition, Baltimore City has its own type of local government that differs from both the commission and home rule models. For detailed descriptions of the county and Baltimore City government types, see the "Local Law" section of the Thurgood Marshall Law Library Research Guide.
- Maryland at a Glance: Local Government: Counties
- Maryland Association of Counties is a "nonprofit organization representing Maryland's 23 counties & Baltimore City. MACo advocates county issues at the state government level, promoting communication between levels of government and the public while providing special services to county elected officials." (from the homepage of MACo's web site)
Local codes are available online for selected counties; some are more up-to-date than others:
- Anne Arundel County
- Baltimore County
- Calvert County
- Charles County
- Harford County
- Howard County
- Montgomery County
- Queen Anne's County
- St Mary's County
- Wicomico County
- Worcester County
C. Municipal Governments
There are over 150 municipal corporations (towns and cities) in Maryland. Most of them have been incorporated by an act of the Maryland General Assembly, but some were incorporated by referendum. They are given home rule powers under Article XI-E of the Maryland Constitution. The General Assembly can pass legislation affecting municipal corporations, but that legislation must affect all municipal corporations the same way.
- Maryland at a Glance: Local Government: Municipalities (by County)
- Maryland at a Glance: Local Government: Municipalities (by name)
- Maryland Municipal League: The Association of Cities and Towns is "a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan association controlled and maintained by city and town governments." (from the "Overview" page of the web site) It represents 157 municipalities and 2 special taxing districts.
- Municipal Charters of Maryland, [KFM1631.5 A73 M8 2008] (updated annually)
Codes are available online for selected towns and cities; some are more up-to-date than others:
- Baltimore City
- Baltimore City Council Legislative Information Center (provides Council agenda, hearing and meeting schedules, text and status of legislation)
- Chevy Chase
- Mount Airy
VII. BOOKS & PRACTICE MATERIALS
- Maryland Civil Pattern Jury Instructions (2002-) (updated roughly every other year)
- Print: KFM1742 .M3 2002 (print subscription cancelled in 2008)
- Westlaw: MD-JICIV
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Jury Instructions & Verdicts > Maryland Civil Pattern Jury Instructions
- Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions (1986-) (updated roughly every other year)
- Print: KFM1783 .M39 1986
- Westlaw: MD-JICRIM (updated only to 2003)
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > Jury Instructions & Verdicts > Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions
- Maryland Law Encyclopedia. This encyclopedia is much like American Jurisprudence or Corpus Juris Secundum, but its analysis is limited to Maryland law, and it cites primarily Maryland cases and statutes. It is an excellent starting point for Maryland legal research.
- Maryland Practice. This set has multiple volumes covering district court law and practice, civil procedure forms, Maryland and federal evidence.
- Print: KFM1730 .M3
- Practice Manual for the Maryland Lawyer (3d ed. 1993-). This set has several loose-leaf volumes covering numerous topics, including family law, real property, criminal law, business organizations, law office management, and landlord and tenant law. It provides forms and explanations of the law.
- Trial Handbook for Maryland Lawyers
VIII. BAR JOURNALS & LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
- Maryland Bar Journal
- The Daily Record (legal newspaper)
- Microfilm: Media, 1st Floor (1888-)
- Westlaw: DAILYREC (2003-)
- Lexis: Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Maryland > General News & Information > The Daily Record (Baltimore, MD) (3/7/1995-)
IX. OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES
A. Web Sites
- Department of Legislative Services. Provides budget and revenue data and detailed information on the legislative process in Maryland, including roster and contact information for all General Assembly committees.
- Maryland State Home Page. Official home page of the State of Maryland; links to all Maryland agencies.
- Maryland Manual Online. Provides a complete list of Maryland's principal departments and the agencies within them, with organizational charts and contact information.
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Maryland State Law Library. Provides research guides on numerous practical matters, including name changes, vehicle registration, etc.
B. Other Research Guides
- Pamela Gregory, Legal Research in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (2000) [KF240.C43 2000]
- Michael S. Miller and Judith C. Levinson, Ghost Hunting: Searching for Maryland Legislative History (rev. ed. 2009)
- Thurgood Marshall Law Library, "Researching a Maryland Law Problem," in Thurgood Marshall Law Library Research Guide (2010)
- Department of Legislative Services, How a Bill Becomes a Law
Updated 9/2013 (JZ)
Updated 06/2011 (JZ)
Updated 01/2011 (TV)
Revised 3/2006 (SK)
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