Free Legal Research Online Category: Legal Research


Primary law available on the Internet is freely accessible from almost anywhere from reliable, authoratiative websites. In-depth authoratative secondary material is rarely available on the free internet, although there are some excellent resources for general information or self-help instruction on some topics.

California Legislative History

Finding Legislative Intent in California The Sacramento County Public Law Library has limited access to California legislative history material, especially for bills passed prior to 1993, when online information becomes available. For bills prior to 1993, the Law Library has the Statutes and Amendments to the Codes, the Journal of...

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California Primary Law

The purpose of this guide is to identify all of the California primary law in the Law Library’s collection, and how to access each type. Primary law includes constitutions and charters, statutes and ordinances, legislative documents, court opinions (cases), court rules, and administrative regulations and rulings. Related Guides California Legislative...

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Federal Primary Law

This guide details the major sources of primary federal law, and how to access them at the Sacramento County Public Law Library. Legal research materials are generally classified as being either primary or secondary sources. Primary sources are “the law” itself, which we are bound to follow. Secondary sources are...

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Finding People and Businesses

Tips to Locate a Hard-to-Find Person   Patrons frequently need to find people and businesses, for instance to serve them with legal papers. If you cannot find a person, it may be possible to serve them by publishing the notice in the newspaper. Before you can do this, you need...

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Jury Instructions

Civil and Criminal Jury Instructions At the end of a trial, but before the jurors deliberate, the judge reads them “jury instructions.” The instructions explain the laws that apply to the case. Types of Jury Instructions Usually, lawyers adapt these instructions from sets of standard jury instructions. In California, there...

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Reading Citations

Finding Cases and Statutes by Citation Any reference to any primary law source - case or statute - has a citation. The basic format of a citation is standardized, and generally includes a volume number, an abbreviation of the title of the publication in which the law appears, a page...

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Council of California County Law Librarians
Legal Research
Find your local public law library, events and workshops, and links to legal research resources. Free online classes on many common legal questions.

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