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Free Legal Information

Information on locating, accessing, and applying free legal resources on the internet.

About this Guide

This Guide contains a wide range of free legal resources. It includes both primary and secondary sources of law, government tools and resources, court information and resources, research guides, self-help information, and more. When researching and using any resource, it is important to be aware of the source or publisher.

Evaluating Online Resources, a guide provided by the American Association of Law Librarians, details the importance of evaluating content coverage, currency, and reliability when accessing legal information.

 

Sources of Law

The legal resources provided in this guide come from various sources, so please be aware of the publisher and cite to official sources whenever possible.

  • Primary Law: includes official, authoritative information and law provided by government agencies and designated official publishers (e.g. .gov websites and Official Reporters for cases).

  • Secondary Law: legal resources and information provided by unofficial publishers (often for profit legal publishers, non-profit organizations or law schools) that are are not maintained or verified by the government or official designated publisher. These are often used in conjunction with primary law and include explanations and summaries of primary law.  

Federal Sources of Law

California Sources of Law

California Government

The Executive Branch is overseen by the Office of the Governor and includes elected officials and administrators of agencies, department boards and commissions. Also, the agencies' proposed regulations are reviewed by the Office of Administrative Law, in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Legislature includes two branches, the State Assembly and the Senate. The Legislature votes on state laws and drafts legislation.

The Judiciary includes the California Supreme Court and the Appellate and County Superior Courts. It interprets and applies laws at state and local levels and develops court rules and official forms.

Local municipalities include cities, counties, special districts, and regional bodies.