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California Administrative Regulations

An overview of where California administrative agency regulations are published, how to find relevant regulations, and how to make sure regulations are up-to-date.

Finding Relevant Regulations - Introduction

There are several good ways to find out if there are California regulations relevant to your client's problem. The following are some of the most helpful, most common methods and techniques.

  • Topical research using practice guides and the like;
  • Topical/subject searching using an "index";
  • Using West's Annotated California Codes (or, sometimes, Lexis's Deering's California Codes Annotated) to find citations to related regulations;
  • Online key word searching of regulations databases.

These methods are discussed in more detail below.

Topical Research - Practice Guides, Treatises & Other Secondary Sources

The best way to find out if there are relevant regulations — and to get citations to those rules — is to start with a practitioner-oriented secondary source such as a practice guide, a treatise, one of the Witkin publications, or the California Jurisprudence ("Cal Jur III") encyclopedia. 

Look for something related to the broad area of law that covers your issue.

These tools can help you find helpful sources.

Topical Research - "Indexes"

The index for the California Code of Regulations will use standardized, predictable language to help you find relevant regulations. It can help when the search terms that you might use to describe your issue aren't actually in the text of the regulation.

There is one index for the CCR. It's available only in print.

California Code Section Technique

If you know of a California code (statute) section that applies to your issue, you can sometimes use that code section to find regulations.

To try the "California Code Section" approach, look up your code section online or in print in West's Annotated California Codes or Lexis's Deering's California Codes Annotated. Check the annotations for references to regulations. Be aware, however, that both of these annotated codes — especially Deering's California Codes Annotated — are selective; they don't always list the regulations that relate to a particular code section. So if you don't find anything by this method, try another approach.

Keyword Searching

The online versions of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) all allow various forms of keyword searching. Keyword searches of regulations can, however, be unproductive and disappointing. This is because regulations addressing an issue can be and are sometimes are drafted without using any distinctive words describing that issue. If your keyword search isn't successful, try one of the other approaches described in this guide.

If you want to try keyword searching, use one of these version of the CCR.

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