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California Statutes: Finding Codes and Statutes

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resources for California statutory materials, such as statutes, codes, initiatives, referenda, uncodified statutes and superceded law available in the UCLA Law Libray as well as online.

Useful Links

By Code Citation

With a citation to a Code section, you can find the text of the law (as well as annotations in either West or Deering).  Code citations use the name of the code subject and the section number, e.g., Cal Penal Code §190.3.

  1. LexisNexis: The GET A DOCUMENT feature allows you to view the Deering version of a California code section.  Click on the GET A DOCUMENT tab, then type the code name and section number to retrieve the statute.

    EXAMPLE CA Penal 190.3
  2. Westlaw: The FIND A DOCUMENT feature, accessible from FIND & PRINT, allows you to view the West version of a California code section.  Click on the FIND & PRINT link and then type the code name and section number in FIND A DOCUMENT to retrieve the statute.

    EXAMPLE CA Penal 190.3

  3. InternetLegInfo Codes (Web version is unannotated)

By Chapter Number

When you know the Chapter number of a law, you can go directly to Statutes of California and Digests of Measures (bound as California Statutes and Amendments to the Code). The Chapter number will indicate in which part of the Code the law appears.  Session law citations use the session year and the specific page in the California Statutes and Amendments to the Code on which the chaptered law begins, e.g., 1994 Cal. Stat. 5675.

Library: KFC 25 A2 (California Collection, Level 2)
LexisNexis:  CAL;CAALS (1987-present) Add the year as a search term.
Westlaw: CA-LEGIS-OLD database (1987-previous session)
Internet: LegInfo Statutes (1993-present, searchable)

By Topic

Many of the sources for California statutes include detailed subject indexes.

  1. Statutes of California and Digests of Measures (bound as California Statutes and Amendments to the Codes) contains a subject index for each Legislative session, which provides references to the appropriate Chapter.

  2. West’s and Deering’s Codes each contain a general subject index covering all 29 titles of the California Code as well as subject indexes for each individual title.  The Advance Legislative Services also provides subject indexes. 

  3. LARMAC Consolidated Index to Constitution and Laws of California is a one-volume index providing detailed subject access to the entire set of California Codes.  LARMAC also includes a listing of statutorily defined terms under the heading “Defined Terms,” with references to the appropriate defining sections.

    Library: KFC 40 L3 (Reference & California Collection, Level 2)

  4. LexisNexis and Westlaw: Both online systems allow access to their versions of the code by keyword and tables of contents.  In addition, Westlaw also allows access by index and popular name.   Searching the tables of contents or Westlaw’s online index may be more fruitful than keyword searching.

    Westlaw CA-ST-IDX database contains the West Code Index
    LexisNexis: CAL;CATOC (The Deering’s California Code Annotated Table of Contents is presented each time you search the code in LexisNexis.  Click the “plus” sign by each heading to expand that topic.)

  5. InternetLeginfo Codes is searchable by topic and contains a Table of Contents to the Code.    

By Popular Name

When you have the name by which legislation is commonly known, rather than a citation or subject, you can turn to Popular Name Tables.

  1. West’s and Deering’s Annotated Codes both include Popular Name Tables in their indexes.  These tables list California statutes alphabetically by their common names and provide citations to the appropriate title and section.

  2. LARMAC also contains an alphabetical Popular Name Table (located under heading “Popular Titles”) which lists California statutes by their common names.

  3. Shepard’s Acts and Cases by Popular Name: Federal and State provides constitutional and statutory references to the common names of both federal and state statutes and cases.  Because of its comprehensive nature, Shepard’s Acts and Cases by Popular Name often lists several citations for a particular name and states are clearly identified along with the appropriate Code and section reference.

    Library: KF 90 S52 (Reference Desk)

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