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California Administrative Law

Information on locating California regulations, guidance, administrative decisions, and executive orders and proclamations online and at the UCLA Law Library.
URL: https://libguides.law.ucla.edu/caladminlaw

Tips for Finding California Administrative Decisions and Guidance

The best source for most administrative decisions and guidance is the agency's own website. Usually, you can quickly find the agency website by Googling its name and making sure to select a website on the California government's ca.gov domain. The California government also maintains a directory of agency websites:

Once you've located the agency website, browse or search for pages providing administrative decisions or guidance.

In July 2019, many agencies deleted large swathes of administrative decisions and guidance to comply with Cal. Gov’t Code § 11546.7, which mandates that all materials on agency websites by accessible to screen readers. See Wes Venteicher, California Disability Law Has Costly EffectsSacramento Bee, Oct. 29, 2019, 12:15 PM.

If you check an agency website and see only recent decisions or guidance or lists of decisions or guidance but no links to the full text, check to see if archived versions of the page have any deleted materials:

Many California agency decisions and guidance are also available in print or on Westlaw, Lexis, or Nexis Uni, including some older materials that have never been posted to the agency website. To locate these materials, search for the agency name in the library catalog or check the relevant Westlaw, Lexis, or Nexis Uni categories.

Selected materials are listed and linked below by specific agency. 

California Agricultural Labor Relations Board

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is one of a handful of agencies that systematically publishes its decisions in print.

The ALRB website is the best starting point for researching its decisions:

Some ALRB materials are also available on Lexis:

The UCLA Law Library also maintains copies of ALRB decisions and the ALRB case digest in print. However, the library no longer updates the print copies and it's better to use the versions available on the ALRB website. 

According to the California Style Manual, ALRB decisions should be cited in the format:

 Gallo Vineyards, Inc. (1995) 21 ALRB No. 3, pp. 3-4.

For additional details, see the relevant section of the California Style Manual:

California Commission on State Mandates

California Department of Business Oversight

The Department of Business Oversight was formed in 2013 by consolidating the formerly separate Department of Corporations and Department of Financial Institutes and includes the:

  • Division of Corporations, which regulates the sale of securities and the operations of securities brokers and similar financial professionals.
  • Division of Financial Institutions, which regulates banks, credit unions, and similar financial organizations. 

Its materials are available from the following sources:

California Department of Consumer Affairs

Department of Consumer Affairs License Search

The Department of Consumer Affairs manages the licensing of a wide variety of professions, through various boards and bureaus ranging from the Structural Pest Control Board to the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

The DCA provides a centralized search engine for verifying licenses and checking for disciplinary action against licensee:

For additional information, check the websites of individual DCA Boards and Bureaus, listed on the DCA's website:

Relevant pages on the websites of selected board and bureaus are linked below.

California Acupuncture Board

California Architects Board

California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists

California Board of Accountancy (CBA)

California State Board of Pharmacy 

Podiatric Medical Board of California

California Veterinary Medical Board

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

California Department of Developmental Services

California Department of Developmental Services cases are decided by the Office of Administrative Hearings, which posts decisions to its website:

California Department of General Services

California Public Works Contract Arbitration Program

California Department of Industrial Relations

Prevailing Wage Determinations

To prevent companies from winning public works contracts by underpaying their workers, bidders for public works projects must pay at least the prevailing wage for the type of job and location. On its website, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) posts determinations of prevailing wages and determinations of whether specific projects are public works contracts subject to the prevailing wage determinations:

The DIR formerly designated some public works coverage determinations as precedent but no longer does so.

Other Agencies Within the DIR

The Department of Industrial Relations includes a number of active divisions and boards, listed separately on this guide:

California Department of Insurance

The California Department of Insurance posts a small number of precedent decisions on its website:

The Department of Insurance also produces guidance documents, in the form of bulletins, notices, and Commissioner's Opinions. The Department of Insurance's website posts selected documents dating back to 1956, while Westlaw, Lexis, and Nexis Uni provide more comprehensive collections:

Finally, the Department of Insurance produces market conduct examination reports, which evaluate whether insurers are complying with relevant statutes and regulations. These reports are available on the Department's website and on Lexis:

California Department of Managed Health Care

The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) protects the rights of Californians enrolled in healthcare plans, using several tools:

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) enforces a variety of labor laws, including laws regulating minimum wage, overtime, and rest periods.

The DLSE produces an enforcement manual, available at the following links:

The DLSE also produces opinion letters, available at the following links:

The DLSE formerly designated some of its opinion letters as precedent but was forced to stop after Corrales v. Bradstreet, 153 Cal. App. 4th 33, 62 Cal. Rptr. 3d 440 (2007) held that it did not have the right to do so:

The DLSE is also responsible for enforcing the Talent Agency Act, which is used by performers to void exploitative or undesirable contracts with unlicensed talent agents. The DLSE produces administrative decisions applying the act to individual performers, available on its website and on Westlaw:

Finally, the DLSE website allows users to verify the licenses of talent agents, studio teachers, and those providing services to child performers:

California Education Agencies

Education Audit Appeals Panel (EAAP)

The EAAP hears appeals filed by schools and school districts contesting audits finding that they are not in compliance with state or county educational standards.

Special Education Decisions

Materials by Other Education Agencies

California Energy Commission

California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) coordinates environmental protection in California and includes a number of environmental departments and boards.

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Department of Pesticide Regulation

Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Department of Toxic Substances Control

State Water Resources Control Board

California water is managed by a state-wide State Water Resources Control Board and by nine Regional Water Boards, all ten of which are collectively known as the water boards.

The water boards' website provides a map of the water board regions, along with background information:

The water boards' website also posts the boards' guidance documents and administrative decisions:

Lexis and Westlaw also provide access to California State Water Resources Control Board decisions:

California Horse Racing Board

California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC)

The California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) heard discrimination complaints until 2012, when the California legislature eliminated the Commission and authorized Department of Fair Employment and Housing staff to file complaints directly with the courts.

FEHC decisions are available from the following sources:

According to the California Style Manual, if possible, FEHC decisions should be cited to the print in the format:

Dept. Fair Empl. & Hous. v. Madera County (1990) No. 90-03, FEHC Precedential Decs. 1990-1991, CEB 1, p. 26

For additional details, see the relevant section of the California Style Manual:

California Fair Political Practices Commission

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) hears complaints alleging violations of campaign finance laws. Its Enforcement Division issues:

  • No Action Closure Letters: If it does not believe a violation has occurred.
  • Advisory Letters: If there is insufficient evidence to prove a violation but the Division believes further advice is necessary to prevent future violations.
  • Warning Letters: If the Enforcement Division believes a violation has occurred but that it is not serious enough to merit a fine.
  • Enforcement Decisions: If the Enforcement Division believes a violation has occurred and that it is serious enough to merit a fine.

These materials are available from the FPPC's website:

Older FPPC materials are available on Lexis, on Nexis Uni, on Westlaw, and in print:

California Law Revision Commission

The California Law Revision Commission suggests revisions to California statutes. It posts most of its materials to its website:

California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board

California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board decisions were formerly available on the board's website but were first partially and then fully removed. They remain available through the Archive of the California Government Domain, CA.gov, Westlaw, Lexis, and Nexis Uni:

Additionally, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine preserves some decisions of individual administrative law judges formerly posted to the board's website:

California Public Utilities Commission

About California Public Utilities Commission Decisions

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), formerly the Railroad Commission of the State of California, regulates electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies.

The publication and citation format for CPUC decisions is similar to the publication and citation format for California cases:

  • Decisions are published in both a California-specific official reporter (C.R.C. until 1946, Cal.P.U.C. afterwards) and in an unofficial reporter (Public Utilities Reports) that also includes decisions from other states.
  • Both the official and unofficial reporter are divided into series. So, for example, in the official reporter, Volume 84 (84 Cal.P.U.C.) is followed by 2nd Series, Volume 1 (1 Cal.P.U.C.2d) and 2nd Series, Volume 86 (86 Cal.P.U.C.2d) is followed by 3rd Series, Volume 1 (1 Cal.P.U.C.3d).

According to the California Style Manual, decisions should be cited to the official reporters in the format:

Matter of Truck Owners' Association (1938) 41 C.R.C. 184

SoCal Gas Co. (1983) 10 CaI.P.U.C.2d 773, 785 

If a decision is not published in the official reporters, it should be cited by decision number in the format:

Southern California Edison Co. (1983) Cal. P.U.C. Dec. No. 83-09-007

For additional details, see the relevant section of the California Style Manual:

Finding California Public Utilities Commission Decisions

The most comprehensive, searchable collections of CPUC decisions and materials are available on Westlaw, Lexis, and Nexis Uni:

Recent decisions and materials are also available on the CPUC website:

Older CPUC decisions are available in print and digitized on HathiTrust.

The UCLA Law Library owns a complete print set of the unofficial reporter until 2016:

The UCLA Law Library owns a complete print set of official reporters until 2000:

Many of the official print reporter volumes have been digitized and made searchable on HathiTrust. However, because HathiTrust is extremely cautious about copyright, most decisions are not available as full text.

California Victim Compensation Board

The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) posts its precedent decisions and any decisions involving claims by erroneously convicted persons:

California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and Industrial Accident Commission

Industrial Accident Commission 

From 1911 to 1935, workers’ compensation cases were decided by the Industrial Accident Commission and published in Reports of Decisions of the Industrial Accident Commission of the State of California.

IAC decisions are available in print at the law library and scanned on HathiTrust:

 Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).

Since 1936, workers’ compensation cases have been heard through the following system:

  • A workers' compensation judge makes an initial decision.
  • The case is appealed to the seven member Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). The case may be heard by a three board member panel, which produces a panel decision, or by the full seven member board, which produces an en banc decision. En banc decisions create binding precedent for panels and individual judges. Panel decisions are not binding precedent but particularly significant or noteworthy panel decisions may be published and cited as persuasive. 
  • The case is appealed to the California Court of Appeals through a writ of review. If the court denies review, it can produce a non-binding writ denied summary. If the court grants review, the case proceeds to a California Court of Appeal decision and possibly a California Supreme Court decision, which are binding under the general rules of precedent that apply to cases. 

Since 2013, disputes over the appropriate level of medical care an employer must provide to an injured worker have been referred to outside medical professionals who issue non-precedential Independent Medical Review decisions, deciding which treatments are appropriate. 

Most significant workers' compensation decisions are published in Lexis' California Compensation Cases, which includes en banc opinions, selected panel decisions, writ denied summaries, and selected Independent Medical Review decisions. Lexis' California Compensation Cases are available on Lexis, Nexis Uni, and in print at the UCLA Law Library:

Many decisions published in California Compensation Cases are also available on the WCAB website and on Westlaw. Additionally, decisions and other WCAB materials that are not formally published in California Compensation Cases are increasingly becoming available online and in print:

Citing IAC and WCAB Decisions

According to the California Style Manual:

  • Workers' compensation decisions from 1911 to 1935 should be cited to Decisions of the Industrial Accident Commission, in the format Rabin v. Metzger (1934) 20 I.A.C. 20
  • If possible, workers' compensation decisions after 1936 should be cited to California Compensation Cases in the format Czarnecki v. Golden Eagle Insurance Company (1998) 63 Cal.Comp.Cases 742.
  • If a decision is not published in California Compensation Cases, it should be cited to the California Workers’ Compensation Reporter in the format Smith v. ESIS, Inc. (1996) SBA 74576, 74580, 24 Cal. Workers’ Camp. Rptr. 139.

For additional details, see the relevant section of the California Style Manual: