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Restatements of the Law

A guide to what restatements are and how to locate and use them

How to Use Restatements

Each restated subject area is divided into numbered chapters and subdivided into topics and sections.

Besides the principles contained therein, Restatements can be a useful case-finding tool. Restatements are heavily annotated with case citations. Summaries of cases which have adopted or interpreted the Restatement rules can be found in:

  • the Reporter's Notes of later Restatements (e.g., Restatement (Third) of Agency), and,
  • the Appendix volumes that accompany a set of topical volumes.

Please note, appendices to the print Restatements are not cumulative. They are updated with annual pocket parts or cumulative annual supplements, which are in turn updated by semiannual pamphlets called Interim Case Citations.

Anatomy of a Restatement

  1. A black-letter style legal rule is printed in boldface type.
  2. Following the Restatement rule is a section labeled “Comments.” Comments are written by the drafters of the Restatement to explain the provision and identify its limitations.
  3. The “Illustrations” sections of the Restatement provide examples of how a particular Restatement provision would apply in specific factual situations.
  4. Most Restatement provisions conclude with “Reporter's Notes,” which give the history of the provision and cite to the authority from which the rule was derived.

Finding Tools within the Restatements

The Restatements also include:

  • A table of cases cited by the Restatement
  • A table of statutes cited by the Restatement
  • Cross-references to West's Key Numbering System used by digests (more recent Restatements only)
  • Cross-references to A.L.R. Annotations (more recent Restatements only)
  • Index