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Restatements of the Law and Uniform Laws: How to use the Restatements

Organization

"Each restatement is arranged first by chapter, then by topic and title, and then by section."  Darla Jackson, Restatements of the Law Guide (2005).

"Each chapter contains a listing of the sections contained in the chapter and an introductory note which describes the topics discussed in the chapter as a whole and in each section." Id.

"Each restatement section includes: a statement of the principle of law, or the “black letter” rule; explanatory comments; illustrations of the principle, in the form of hypotheticals; and reporter’s notes, which provide background information on the development of the rule, including citations to cases which were used in formulating the rule, statutes, treatises, and journal articles."  Id.

"The appendix volumes of each set contain annotated citations of cases that cite that particular restatement. Appendices for the 2d and 3d series also include cross-references to West Key Numbers and ALR Annotations. Appendices are not cumulative, so users must be careful to check the spine of the volume for sections and years covered. Appendix volumes are kept up-to-date by a series of pocket parts, supplements, and pamphlets."  Id.

Citation

"Although the restatements are organized by chapter and section, they are cited only by section number.  Bluebook Rule 12.8.5 describes how to cite a restatement."  Darla Jackson, Restatements of the Law Guide (2005).

Restatement Topics

The ALI has divided its coverage into a few broad subjects. Some of the Restatements have a version existing in all three series of Restatements. Others appear in only one. It is important to remember the Restatements are a broad restatement of the law generally and, even more so now, the ALI also works to state what they think the law should be. This fact, combined with the essential character of the Restatement as secondary sources, means your jurisdiction may follow any one of the various versions of the Restatements, a modified version, or no version at all. It is important to discover what your jurisdiction follows. The appendix volumes can assist you with this (discussed below). 

  • Restatement (first)
    • Agency
    • Conflict of Laws
    • Judgments
    • Property
    • Restitution
    • Security
    • Torts
    • Trusts
  • Restatement 2d
    •  Agency 2nd
    • Conflict of Laws 2d
    • Foreign Relations Law of the U.S.
    • Judgments 2d
    • Property 2d (Landlord and Tenant)
    • Torts 2d
  • Restatement 3d
    • Agency 3d
    • Employment Law 3d
    • Foreign Relations Law of the U.S. 3d
    • Property 3d (Mortgages and Servitudes)
    • Property 3d Wills and Other Donative Transfers)
    • Restitution and Unjust Enrichment 3d
    • Suretyship and Guaranty 3d
    • The Law Governing Lawyers 3d
    • Torts 3d (Liability for Physical Harm)
    • Torts 3d (Products Liability and Apportionment of Liability)
    • Trusts 3d
    • Unfair Competition 3d

Volumes and Appendixes

Each Restatement has a table of Contents organized by topic and sub-topic. The table of contents will allow you to find specific topics within that Restatement. However, you may need to quickly find information on a specific issue or point. Each Restatement volume has its own index. From the volume index you can locate those specific points you need. Some of the issue or points are broken down into even more detailed discussion and reference to them will be under the broader topic (which is in bold type). The index is organized alphabetically according to the bold-type head topics, with each sub-topic being organized alphabetically under the head topic.

The ALI has published case citation volumes that explain how a particular restatement section was used in a case, the name of the case, the citation to that case, etc.... Prior to 1976 these volumes were placed in their own series called the Restatement in the Courts. However, after 1976 such volumes were broken down and categorized as appendixes for each specific area of law and titled to the relevant Restatement. The appendixes contain case annotations to the specific areas of the Restatements and allow for case-law research in addition to the restatement of the law contained in the relevant volume. Each appendix has a table of cases that gives a case name, its citation, and where in the volume it appears.

The appendix volumes contain "pocket parts" which update the annotations contained in the appendix. You should always check the "pocket part" to look for recent updates. This is important because the "pocket part" updates may add to or override the relevant information found in the main section. Lastly, the ALI now releases another publication called the Interim Case Citations to the Restatement of the Law. This publication is semiannual and is to be used in conjunction with the appendixes and their pocket parts. The Interim Case Citation details which restatement sections have been cited in a case, the name if the case, the case citation, the relevant pages in the case, and a description of how the court applied the restatement section. 

Drafts

"The ALI’s process of adoption generates a series of drafts for each restatement. These drafts include preliminary drafts, Council drafts, tentative drafts, and proposed final drafts. The library holds selected restatement drafts on both print and microform format.  The print drafts are located primarily with the adopted print Restatements in the Reference Wing.  Microform copies of drafts are available on the First Floor.  File numbers for the microform assets may be located by using the Law Library’s catalog." Darla Jackson, Restatements of the Law Guide (2005).

"ALI produces a number of publications that may be useful for tracking the progress of various restatement drafts and revisions. The Annual Reports of the ALI [] discuss the projects ALI has undertaken and the status of progress made on the various projects.  ALI  Proceedings (available in microform, Micro Form A 822 ALI PROCEEDINGS) contain reporters’ presentations and floor discussions of restatement drafts. The ALI Reporter [] is a quarterly newsletter that provides the latest information about ALI projects and activities." Id.

Subject Guide

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