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Finding California Primary Law


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 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. 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. However, there are two commercially published codes:

The California statutory codes can also be accessed via the Official California Legislative Information website. 

The Deering version of the codes is also accessible electronically on the USC campus through LexisNexis Academic (Nexis Uni).  Use the "Advanced Search" link and select "Legal" to select the Statutes & Legislation.

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