Federal Register

Drafting Legal Documents, Cross References

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Cross References

1. Use cross references sparingly and carefully. Too many cross references can make a provision difficult to read and understand. Include a cross reference only when it is essential to the meaning of the provision, or limits, or makes an exception to the provision.

2. Make a cross reference a reader's aid. If you find it necessary to include a cross reference, cite the specific section designation. After the section designation, include a brief description of the subject matter, so the reader won't be forced to turn to the provision to see what it's about.

See the above section.
Note the chapter on umbrellas.
See 45 CFR 103.1
See 45 CFR 103.1, Use of black umbrellas.

3. A Federal agency may cross reference the regulations of another Federal agency only if the Office of the Federal Register finds that the reference meets any one of the following conditions specified in 1 CFR 21.21:

  • The reference is required by court order, statute, Executive order or reorganization plan.
  • The reference is to regulations promulgated by a Federal agency with the exclusive legal authority to regulate in a subject matter area, but the referencing Federal agency needs to apply those regulations in its own programs.
  • The reference is informational or improves clarity rather than being regulatory.
  • The reference is to test methods or consensus standards produced by a Federal agency that have replaced or preempted private or voluntary test methods or consensus standards in a subject matter area.
  • The reference is to the department level from a subagency.
If a Federal agency is thus qualified to cross reference another Federal agency's regulations, it still cannot make modifications to the regulations referenced. If any modifications need to be made, the regulations must be published separately in full text rather than as a cross reference.

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