Why Look for Superseded Codes?
Librarians at SDLL often get questions about older versions of California code sections. For example, what did the law say in 1950, or another point in time? SDLL has a collection of what we call superseded annotated codes in the open stacks on the 4th floor of the Main Library. California annotated codes are arranged into subject categories and published by two commercial publishers: West and Lexis. The old volumes of Deering's California Codes Annotated are shelved at call number KFC 30.5 .D4 (4th floor) and West's Annotated California Codes are located at KFC 30.5 .W4 (4th floor).
How to Look Up Older Code sections
- Know what time period you need
- Find the code volume on the shelf that would cover that time period
HINT: the year of the code volume is written on the spine of each superseded volume
- Superseded codes are organized alphabetically by subject and then chronological order
- Check all supplements; pocket parts or stand alone supplements shelved with the bound volume
- Check bound and/or boxed supplements that follow the code set [some supplements have been bound or boxed by year; while some have instead been shelved with the codes. To make sure you have found everything it is a better practice to look in all supplements for the time frame you are researching].
How to Get Started
The best way to begin is to look at the current annotated version of the California code section. Current print annotated codes are in the Main Lower Reading Room at the Main Library, and in the stacks at our North County location (other locations may access these via Lexis or Westlaw). The history notes will tell you when the code was added and/or amended, as well as any information on where that code was derived. See below for California's current dog bite statute:
|Code||Historical Information for Civil Code 3342|
|Deering's California Code Annotated||
Added Stats 1953 ch 37 § 6 p 675. Amended Stats 1988 ch 298 § 1.
Former § 3342, incorporated in Gov C §§ 820.4, 820.6, was added Stats 1933 ch 248 § 1 p 779, amended Stats 1933 ch 1053 § 1 p 2708, and repealed Stats 1943 ch 134 (Gov C § 500003) p 1010.
Historical Derivation: Stats 1931 ch 503 § 1 p 1095.
|West's Annotated California Code||
Added by Stats.1953, c. 37, p. 675, § 6. Amended by Stats.1988, c. 298, § 1.
Former § 3342, added by Stats.1933, c. 248, p. 779, § 1, amended by Stats.1933, c. 1053, p. 2707, § 1, was repealed by Stats.1943, c. 134, p. 1010, § 500003. It related to the liability of certain public officers acting under statutes later declared unconstitutional. The subject matter of the former section was incorporated into Government Code § 1955, which was later repealed in 1963, and incorporated in Government Code § 820.6.
Derivation: Stats.1931, c. 503, § 1.
This historical information on the dog bite statute tells you:
- The code section was originally enacted in 1953; although it was derived from a 1931 statute.
- The former section number had entirely different content from 1933 to a repeal in 1943; when those sections were moved to the Government Code.
- The section was amended in 1988.