Skip to Main Content

New Hampshire Administrative Law: Introduction

This guide includes information about administrative law and procedure in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Law

Part 2, Article 5 of the New Hampshire Constitution gives authority to the legislature to "from time to time...make, ordain, and establish, all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statues, ordinances, directions, and they may judge for the benefit and welfare of this state." (N.H. CONST. Pt. 2, Art 5).  The legislature, which enacts broad sweeping statutes, delegates the specifics of implementation and enforcement to administrative agencies.  The New Hampshire Administrative Procedures Act (N.H. RSA 541-A) governs the process by which agencies promulgate and adopt rules.  In New Hampshire, these regulations are called "administrative rules."  Unlike statutes, most administrative rules expire and then agencies must go through the rulemaking process again. This guide will tell you how rules are promulgated, where to find rules presently in effect, and where to find expired rules.  (Rules adopted prior to September 11, 2011, expire after eight years.  Rules adopted after September 11, 2011, expire after ten and have an extended life provided the agency files a new rulemaking proceeding prior to their expiration.)

Where to find NH Administrative Rules

Electronic Sources:

NH Office of Legislative Services: is the New Hampshire state government office where all proposed and adopted administrative rules subject to RSA 541-A, the Administrative Procedure Act, must be filed by state executive branch agencies in order to be certified once adopted.   When an agency files adopted rules, the Office of Legislative Services formats them and the agency certifies them. These are the "certified" rules.  If the agency doesn't file adopted rules with the OLS, the rules will still be adopted and effective but, not "certified" and, therefore, not on line.  (Hint: If you do a lot of administrative law research in New Hampshire, bookmark this page.)

Lexis: Browse by Jurisdiction to New Hampshire.  Pick the Code of New Hampshire Administrative Rules.

Westlaw: State materials; Regulations; New Hampshire Regulations

Print :

:  Both the New Hampshire State Library (20 Park Street, Concord) and the New Hampshire Law Library (One Charles Doe Drive, Concord) receive copies of all official  New Hampshire Administrative Rules.

NH Office of Legislative Services:  The rules on the website of OLS are not the "official version" of the rules due to style differences including font style, spacing, and deletion of underlining.  If you need the official, you'll have to head to the office (25 Capitol Street, Room 219, Concord.) or, to the two libraries listed above.

Code of New Hampshire Rules (Charlottesville, VA: Lexis Nexis): In the UNH Law Library along the long "New Hampshire Stacks" near the Law Review office.


Secondary Sources - Read More about Administrative Rules

Nusbaum, Richard E., "The Making of 'Permanent' Rules in New Hampshire Under RSA 541-A" New Hampshire Bar Journal, Vol. 35, Issue 4 (December 1994), pp. 6-12.  (Available from HeinOnline)

Subject Guide