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United States: legal resources: Restatements of the law

Subjects: American Studies, Law

Restatements of law and the work of the A.L.I.

Restatements of the Law, published by the American Law Institute (A.L.I.), were intended literally to restate the common law in a clear and systematic way, with indications of the ways in which the law could or should develop. It was hoped that they would eventually be accorded almost the same degree of authority as the decisions of the courts.They have been more influential than most treatises, and have been described (Cohen and Olson) as an unofficial common law emulation of the codes of the civil law system.

The library holds the Restatements of

  • the Law of Agency
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Contracts
  • Judgments
  • Property
  • Restitution and Unjust Enrichment
  • Security
  • Torts
  • Trusts
  • Unfair Competition.

The print copies are generally through the second series, and in some cases into the third.  Later volumes can be found on WestlawNext in the Secondary Sources collection. (See first link below)

The A.L.I. also publishes uniform laws and model acts, which are proposed laws recommended for adoption by the individual states as part of their own law.  These include the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.), and the Model Penal Code.

All of these A.L.I. publications are located at USA 045.
Most uniform laws and model acts are also included in Uniform Laws Annotated (see above under Legislation).

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Elizabeth Wells
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