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Business Law Legal Research: Pennsylvania Law

This guide will help you locate resources for basic business law-related legal research.

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For more information on searching state statutes and regulations, see one of the guides below.

Agency Websites

The Pennsylvania state government offers a web directory linking to government websites. Information about some of the major Pennsylvania organizations relevant to business is presented below.

Department of Agriculture: The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture encourages, protects and promotes agriculture and related industries throughout the commonwealth while providing consumer protection through inspection services that impact the health and financial security of Pennsylvania's citizens.

Department of Banking and Securities: The mission of Pennsylvania’s Department of Banking and Securities is to regulate financial services and work to ensure consumers and businesses are well-informed about the marketplace.

Department of Community and Economic Development: The Department of Community and Economic Development’s mission is to encourage the shared prosperity of all Pennsylvanians by supporting good stewardship and sustainable development initiatives across our commonwealth. With a keen eye toward diversity and inclusiveness, we act as advisors and advocates, providing strategic technical assistance, training, and financial resources to help our communities and industries flourish.

Department of Labor and Industry: L&I administers benefits to unemployed individuals, oversees the administration of workers' compensation benefits to individuals with job related injuries, and provides vocational rehabilitation to individuals with disabilities. The department prepares job seekers for the global workforce through employment and job training services for adult, youth, older workers, and dislocated workers. In addition, L&I enforces various laws and safety standards in the workplace and administers the commonwealth's programs for community service by young Pennsylvanians.

Department of Revenue: The Department of Revenue administers Pennsylvania state tax law.

Department of State: The Department protects the public's health and safety by licensing more than one million business and health professionals; promotes the integrity of the electoral process; supports economic development through corporate registrations and transactions; maintains registration and financial information for thousands of charities, and sanctions professional boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts. You can use the Department of State's PennFile site to search for business entities and UCC filings.

Business Laws in PA

Although there are many instances when you will look to federal law for guidance (e.g. federal securities, federal tax, bankruptcy), much of the day-to-day operations of a business is governed by state law. Here are some of the Pennsylvania statutory titles that relate to business law:

Pennsylvania statutory research is unusual because Pennsylvania has two co-existing law codes, the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes. For more detail, see our Pennsylvania Statutory Research Libguide. Both codes are available for free at this Thomson Reuters website.

The LRC possesses a print copy of the Pennsylvania statutory codes, which are also available on Westlaw and Lexis.

PA Regulations

The Pennsylvania Code compiles regulations passed by administrative agencies in the Commonwealth. Here are some of the Pennsylvania Code titles relevant to business law:

The Pennsylvania Code is available for free online.  We have the Pennsylvania Code in print in the LRC, and it is also available on Westlaw and Lexis.