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Finding California Statutes: Introduction

This guide outlines resources for California statutory materials, such as statutes, codes, initiatives, referenda, uncodified statutes and superceded law available in the UCLA Law Libray as well as online.

Important Note About Access to Databases

Be sure to read the Access to Databases Guide carefully before beginning your research.

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Introduction

Researching California law usually includes a search for relevant statutes.  A good starting point for such research is secondary sources such as treatises, practice guides, and law review articles, which often include references to applicable code sections. This guide is intended to assist the user in locating and updating California statutes.

Print v. Internet Publication

California statutes are published in two different ways:

  1. Chronologically as session laws; and
  2. Topically (arranged by subject) in Codes.  The Codes are the standard working tool for researching statutory law.

Print publication:  California statutes are first officially published as Chapter Laws (individual pamphlets containing the text of new legislation).  Then at the end of each Legislative Session, the Chapter Laws are compiled and published as the Statutes of California and Digests of Measures (bound as California Statutes and Amendments to the Codes).  Since California does not publish an official printed code, publication of California codes are provided by two commercial publishers, West and Deering (LexisNexis).  Both versions of the codes follow the same arrangement of 29 Titles subdivided by section.

Internet publication: California Statutes and Codes are available on the Web (see below) and are usually more up-to-date than any print publication.

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