Finding Primary Law

Primary Law includes cases, statutes, regulations, and more. The Law Library provides access to these along with local ordinances, legislative documents, rules of court, and administrative decisions:

  • California and federal cases in print and via WestlawNext
  • California and federal statutes (codes) in print and via WestlawNext
  • Regional ordinances in print
  • California and federal regulations in print and via WestlawNext
  • Out-of-state material and some tribal material available via WestlawNext

While WestlawNext may only be used in the Law Library, primary law available on the Internet is freely accessible from almost anywhere.

Free Online Sources

Most primary laws are available for free online. Below are links to reputable sources for accessing these law online.

California Laws

Capitol building California Cases From the California Judicial Council website.
California Codes California Codes & Constitution From the California Legislature website.
California Code of Regulations (CCR) From the Office of Administrative Law website. Does not include the Building Code.
Construction California Building Standards Code (Title 24) From the Building Standards Commission website.

Sacramento City and County Laws

Sacramento County Administration Sacramento County Code From Quality Code Publishing.
Sacramento County Zoning Code From the Sacramento County Planning and Community Development Department website.
Sacramento city hall. Sacramento City Code From Quality Code Publishing.

Federal Laws

Supreme court Federal Cases From Google Scholar. Federal courts since 1923; U.S. Supreme Court since 1791.
US code books US Code From the Government Publishing Office's Digital System (FDSys).
US Constitution From the Government Publishing Office's Digital System (FDSys).

Other Jurisdictions

City on river Other Cities and Counties From the Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley.
US Map Other States From Findlaw.com.
Gavel and books Tribal Laws

Research Guides

The Law Librarians have created these research guides as an aid for those starting a legal research project. These guides recommend print and electronic resources that will help you find answers to your law-related questions. Many guides provide step-by-step information, as well as sample forms, for common legal procedures.

Other California Resources

Judicial

California Courts
www.courts.ca.gov
Posts all decisions of the California Supreme Court and the California Court of Appeal decided during the past 60 days. Also posts all California Judicial Council Forms and California State Rules of Court. Provides links to websites of individual California Courts.

California Supreme and Appellate Court Briefs
briefs.lalawlibrary.org/research/default.aspx
California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals briefs since 1999 are available free at this site, with more being added daily. Earlier briefs can be accessed by contacting the LA Law Library e-delivery service at 213-78LALAW.

California Rules of Court
www.courts.ca.gov/rules.htm

California State Courts Self Help Center
www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp
(Spanish: www.sucorte.ca.gov)
Provides information about various aspects of California law. Includes information on finding legal assistance, going to court, and locating additional resources. Also posts information on various topics, including family law, domestic violence, elder law, guardianships & conservatorships, juvenile law, landlord & tenant law, Small Claims Court, Traffic Court, and other topics.

Civil Jury Instructions
www.courts.ca.gov/partners/317.htm
The Judicial Council’s plain-English jury instructions for civil trials.

Criminal Jury Instructions
www.courts.ca.gov/partners/312.htm
The Judicial Council’s plain-English jury instructions for criminal trials.

Commission of Judicial Performance
cjp.ca.gov
Independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity.

State Bar of California
www.calbar.ca.gov
Posts member record information, including information regarding attorney discipline. Users can search for a “certified specialist” in these specific practice areas. Also contains bar exam results, California Bar Journal, Conference of Delegates, ethics opinions, section information, and Office of Certification.

Rules of Professional Conduct (State Bar of California)
rules.calbar.ca.gov

California Agency Decisions

California State Agencies Directory
www.ca.gov/CaSearch/Agencies.aspx

California Agency Decisions, Opinions, and Adjudications
www.diigo.com/list/saclaw/california-agency-decisions
A collection of links to the decisions of California state agency adjudications, many no longer available in print.

California Secretary of State
www.ss.ca.gov
Contains business entity information for California corporations, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies. Information provided includes status information, Secretary of State file number, date of filing, and agent for service of process. Updated weekly. Provides instructions for starting a business in California. Also includes election and campaign finance information.

Other Sacramento Resources

Newspapers of General Circulation in Sacramento
List of newspapers which satisfy the Sacramento County Superior Court’s publication requirements for publication of summons and proposed name changes.

City of Sacramento Home Page
www.cityofsacramento.org/

County of Sacramento Home Page
www.saccounty.net

Sacramento County Bar Association
www.sacbar.org
The site for the County Bar Association has information on Bar events, committees, sections, membership the bar association’s lawyer referral service.

Sacramento County Clerk-Recorder
www.CCR.saccounty.net
The Clerk-Recorder is the custodian of public records and recorder of real property documents for Sacramento County. This office also issues and registers marriage licenses, notaries public, vital statistics, and other public documents. The website provides on-line public access to Sacramento County’s Index of Recorded Documents from 1965 to the present.

Sacramento County Superior Court Local Rules
www.saccourt.ca.gov/local-rules/local-rules.aspx

Other Federal Resources

Federal Rules
www.uscourts.gov/rules-policies/current-rules-practice-procedure/
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Bankruptcy Procedure.

USA.gov: The U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal
www.usa.gov
Provides information about and links to the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Branch of the United States Government. Subjects include federal benefits and grants, consumer services and safety, education and jobs, and the environment. Good starting point when searching for federal government information on the Internet.

Congress.gov, Legislative Information
www.congress.gov
Posts congressional bills, public laws, committee information, and the Congressional Record. Provides schedules for the House and Senate, directories, and more.

The U.S. Supreme Court
www.supremecourt.gov
Includes recent court opinions, recent court orders, court rules, court calendar, case handling guides, and historical information about the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
www.ca9.uscourts.gov
Includes recent court opinions, court calendar, local court rules, and local court forms

U.S. District Court, Eastern District CA
www.caed.uscourts.gov
Provides local court rules, calendar, and answers to frequently asked questions.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District CA
www.caeb.uscourts.gov
Provides forms & publications, calendars, tentative rulings, local court rules, and info on the Bankruptcy Dispute Resolution Program.

The Federal Judiciary Home Page
www.uscourts.gov
Contains links to the official web sites of all federal courts. Also posts information and news about the federal court system, federal court publications, and answers to frequently asked questions about the federal court system.

U.S. Government Printing Office FDSys (Federal Digital System)
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/
This site provides access to numerous federal government publications including the Federal Register, the Congressional Record, the Code of Federal Regulations and congressional bills.

Internal Revenue Service Home Page
www.irs.gov
Posts all official Internal Revenue service tax forms and publications, including the IRS Bulletin. Some forms can be filled out on-line and then printed. Provides tax information for individuals and businesses, information on e-filing and other electronic services, information on taxpayer help and assistance. Posts all IRS tax regulations.