On May 8, the Enforcement Division of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission published its Enforcement Manual for the first time.

The Manual’s purpose is twofold: to explain the role of the Enforcement Division within the CFTC and to set general policies and procedures that guide it in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting violations of law.

There’s too much to cover in one blog post. But among other things, the Manual describes the life cycle of enforcement cases from initial leads to preliminary inquiries to full-blown investigation to outright litigation. And it gives detailed guidance on how the Division goes about resolving them using the tools at its disposal.

The Manual does not create new rights that you can enforce in court.

But it’s a step toward greater maturity for an agency that will take on greater importance in the years to come.