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Secondary Sources: Legal Encyclopedias, A.L.R.'s, Treatises, Restatements, Topical Services, Periodicals, and Everything Else

What are Restatements?

  • Restatements are published by the American Law Institute (ALI);
  • They attempts to synthesize and “restate” the common law (case law) into general principles;
  • They are often cited by courts;
  • They cover limited topics;
  • Format: Print, Westlaw, Lexis and HeinOnline.

When do I use Restatements?

  • When the law in your jurisdiction is unclear or non-existent;
  • Your jurisdiction has adopted a Restatement section or cited it with approval (i.e., make use of comments and illustrations to interpret and apply the legal rule);
  • You need case citations;
  • You need persuasive authority.

Organizations of Restatements

  • They are organized into chapters, titles and sections;
  • Each section contains:
    • Concise statement of rule;
    • Explanatory comments;
    • Illustrations of particular examples;
    • Variations on general principles;
  • Reporter’s notes provide background information;
  • Appendices contain further annotation of court decisions applying/interpreting the section.

An Example - Restatement

Cover and page of a print Restatement

An Example - Restatement Appendix

Example of a restatement's appendix