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Finding California Statutes, Regulations, and Related Cases

Introduction

California statutes are the laws enacted by the California legislature and signed by the California Governor. California regulations are issued by the various California administrative agencies, which get their authority to regulate from specific California statutes. Regulations are designed to implement and sometimes interpret statutes. Both California statutes and regulations are binding authority on all individuals and entities in California.

Generally, it is best to begin your research with the relevant statute(s) and then move on to the related regulation(s) because statutes provide context for understanding the regulations. Also, statutes tend to be cited more than regulations and therefore are usually easier to find. Once you find a relevant statute, it will typically lead you to the related regulation(s).

California statutes and regulations can be found in codes. A code is usually the best place to look up a statute or regulation because codes are organized by subject and updated on a regular basis.

There are 29 separate statutory codes in California. Each code covers one or more major subject areas (e.g., the Family Code covers family law topics, the Penal Code covers criminal law, etc.).

There is no official print version of the California statutory codes. There are, however, two commercially published multi-volume sets containing the text of the codes:

The USC Law Library has both print versions in the California section on the library’s main floor.

The text of the statutory language should be the same in these two sets, and the volumes in both sets are updated with annual pocket parts (i.e., paperback pamphlets placed in the back pocket of each volume) or separate paperback supplements.

The California statutory codes can also be accessed via the "Official California Legislative Information" website. There, you can either browse the tables of contents for the various codes or search the codes by keyword.

The Deering version of the codes is also accessible electronically on the USC campus through LexisNexis Academic.  Use the "Advanced Options" link after clicking on the  "State Statutes and Regulations" link which is found by clicking on the "Search by Content Type" arrow on the LexisNexis Academic Search homepage .