Research Codes and Statutes

State Law

California law consists of the state Constitution, statutes, and 29 codes, covering various subject areas.

  • The California State Constitution is the fundamental law of the state. It lays out the basic principles to administer the public affairs of the state.
  • Statute: A statute is a single law passed by the Legislature. Click to search for California statutes.
  • Codes: Codes are the collection of laws created by statutes. For example, there is a California Family Code, a California Vehicle Code, and a California Penal Code. Click to search the California codes. If you know the code section you are looking for, you can put a check in the box next to the appropriate code title and type the section number into the search box at the bottom of the screen.

State Regulations

State regulations are rules or orders issued by government departments or agencies to carry out the intent of state law. These same agencies also have the power to hear disputes and enforce their rules and regulations. Think of agencies such as the state Department of Motor Vehicles or the Franchise Tax Board. Many of the laws that come out of these agencies are not found in the California codes mentioned above. They are published in the form of codes of regulations or administrative codes. Regulations can have an important effect on the outcome of cases.

Click to search the California Code of Regulations.

Local Ordinances

An ordinance is a municipal statute, passed by a city council or similar agency, about matters not already covered by federal or state law. Ordinances commonly deal with zoning issues in a community, building standards, and safety matters of the municipality.

Local ordinances may be very important in unlawful detainer (eviction) cases, for example, since the town or city may have rent control laws that have a significant effect on the case. Access available online California local ordinances.

Rules of Court

Each court, at both the state and federal level, will have its own rules. California has statewide court rules called California Rules of Court. Many courts also have local rules of court. Rules of court control the operation of the courts and how the individuals involved in the court process must conduct themselves.

Find the California Rules of Court, which apply to all California state courts.

You also need to check your local court rules. Many law libraries will have your local court’s rules, but often the best place to check for court rules is the website of the court in which you are interested. Fnd your court’s local rules.

Federal Law

Federal law consists of: