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Administrative Law: Current California Regulations

Accessing Current California Regulations

Current California regulations are published in the California Code of Regulations (Cal. Code Regs. or C.C.R.). The California government has given the contract to publish the C.C.R. to Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Westlaw.

As part of Thomson Reuters' contract with the California government, Westlaw provides a free online version of the C.C.R. that is updated weekly:

Although the online version of the C.C.R. is reliable, only the print version is considered official. The print version is published in loose-leaf binders by Thomson Reuters' Barclays division. Each week, at the same time as Westlaw updates the online C.C.R., Barclays mails out new loose-leaf binder pages to update the print version. The library owns a print copy of the C.C.R.:

The C.C.R. is also available on Lexis and Westlaw. These options are convenient if you are more comfortable browsing and searching on Lexis or Westlaw or if you are clicking a link to the C.C.R. from another page on Lexis or Westlaw. 

Generally, however, there is little advantage to accessing the current C.C.R. on Lexis or Westlaw rather than on the free website. Both Lexis and Westlaw generally provide only the text of the regulations. Neither Lexis nor Westlaw provide annotations for California regulations and both provide only limited citators, which include only a handful of citing sources for the most cited regulations. 

If you do choose to access the C.C.R. on Lexis or Westlaw, you can do so by:

  • Typing in an individual regulation in the format 1 CCR 1.
  • Typing CCR into the main Lexis or Westlaw search box and selecting the appropriate link from the dropdown.
  • Browsing on Westlaw to Regulations > California or on Lexis to Administrative Codes & Regs > California.
  • Using the direct links below:

Accessing the California Building Codes

The California building codes are based on copyrighted model building codes written by a variety of building organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association and International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Because the building codes are copyrighted, they are not included in the standard print or online versions of the California Code of Regulations and must be purchased or accessed separately from the website of each individual building organization that holds the copyright.

In print, the California building codes are found in smaller, brightly colored binders that are usually placed immediately after the large brown binders that contain the main California Code of Regulations.

Online, most versions of the California Code of Regulations either skip the building codes entirely or link to them on the individual building organizations' websites. The California Building Standards Commission provides links to each part of the building code, available for free on the websites of each individual building organization:

Locating Relevant California Regulations

If you do not have a citation to a specific regulation, use one of the following strategies to locate relevant regulations:

1. Start your research with a secondary source on your topic. (For example, an employment law secondary source or a tax secondary source). Most secondary sources will cite the relevant federal and California statutes and regulations.

2. If you know the relevant statute, check the table of statutes to regulations in print. At the end of the print version of the California regulations, there is a binder labeled Master Index. Flip to the end of the binder to find the Table of Statutes to Regulations, which allows you to look up a statute and find its implementing regulations. 

3. If you know the relevant statute, check its annotations or citator on Lexis or Westlaw:

a. On Westlaw, click the Context & Analysis tab and look for a sub-tab labeled Code of Regulations References. If there are no regulations under the Context & Analysis tab, click the Citing References tab and then filter to Regulations. 

b. On Lexis, go to the Research References & Practice Aids section and look for a sub-section labeled California Code of Regulations. If there are no regulations under the Research References & Practice Aids section, click the Shepardize link in the sidebar and then filter to Other Citing Sources > Regulations.

If you do not know the relevant statute, you can:

3. Check the Index. The index lists regulations by topic and is found in print at the end of the set of binders.

4. Search the regulations.

5. Browse the regulations.

a. The C.C.R. is divided into titles by topic, then into divisions by agency, then by subtopic or subagency into a variety of smaller divisions (e.g. subdivisions, chapters, subchapters, articles, parts, groups), and finally into individual sections. For example, Title 8. Industrial relations contains three divisions: Division 1. Department of Industrial Relations, Division 2. Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and Division 3. Public Employment Relations Board. Within Division 1. Department of Industrial Relations, you can browse to Chapter 5. Industrial Welfare Commission, then Group 2. Industry and Occupation Orders, then Article 1. Manufacturing Industry, and finally § 11010, to view regulation on the minimum wage, hours, and working conditions in the manufacturing industry. 

c. Three titles are special:

i. Title 24 contains the building codes. As discussed above, the building codes are copyrighted and are only available from the building organizations that have copyrighted them. Most versions of the California Code of Regulations either skip Title 24 or link to the websites of the building organizations.  

ii. Title 6 was intended to publish materials produced by the California governor, just as Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations publishes materials produced by the President. However, no governor has ever used Title 6, so the various versions of the California Code of Regulations either leave it blank or skip it entirely.

iii. Title 26 was intended to compile duplicate versions of all agency regulations on toxins as a convenience for researchers. All regulations are also available in the agencies’ own titles. Several agencies no longer publish their toxins regulations in Title 26. Instead, these agencies’ sections of Title 26 are flagged as [Removed] and include notes referring researchers to the titles where the agencies’ regulations are located.

Often, these strategies will bring you to the right general area of the regulations but not to the specific regulation that you need. Always check the breadcrumb trail and table of contents to look for additional relevant regulations nearby. 

Reading a California Regulation

1. Citation: The citation is shown at the top of the regulation and is generally in the format 1 C.C.R. § 1. However, the correct format for Bluebooking purposes is actually Cal. Code Regs. tit. 1, § 1. Because section numbers start over between titles, both the title and the section numbers are necessary to identify the correct regulation. For example, CAL. CODE REGS. tit. 11, § 441 regulates anti-gang programs, while CAL. CODE REGS. tit. 3, § 441 regulates frozen yogurt. See the Bluebooking guide for additional details on properly citing California regulations. 

2. Breadcrumb trail & 3. Table of Contents: Access the table of contents or click any of the links in the breadcrumb trail to see more relevant regulations nearby.

Tools for Finding Cases and Other Sources Interpreting the Regulation

4. Citators: Citators are tools identifying sources that cite your source. Citators can be accessed by clicking the Shepardize link on Lexis or the Citing References tab on Westlaw. Citators are very useful for statutes and for federal regulations but, for California regulations, Lexis and Westlaw provide only a handful of citing sources for a small number of heavily cited regulations.

5. Text of regulation

For statutes and for federal regulations, Lexis and Westlaw generally also provide annotations (notes summarizing major cases and other sources about a statute or regulation), found under the Notes of Decision or Context & Analysis tabs on Westlaw and after the text of the statute or regulation under the headings Case Notes or Notes to Decisions and References & Practice Aids on Lexis. However, neither Lexis nor Westlaw provide annotations for California regulations. Although you may notice entries under the Context & Analysis tab on Westlaw, these simply repeat the history information found at the end of the statute.

Screencap of a California regulation on Lexis

Screencap of a California regulation on Westlaw