1L Guide on Torts

An introductory guide on tort law for first-year law students.

California Statutes

The statutory elements of tort law in the state of California are found in the California Civil Code.  Section 1708 of the civil code reads that "[e]very person is bound, without contract, to abstain from injuring the person or property of another, or infringing upon any of his or her rights."

Other tort-related causes of action are found elsewhere in the California Civil Code or may arise in other statutory titles or under the common law.

Looking for cases

Tort law is an area of law that was historically very case-driven.  Only relatively recently have legislatures created statutory causes of action for torts.

Finding Cases Electronically

You may use Westlaw or Lexis to locate relevant cases dealing with tort law:

What do these symbols mean?

  • Westlaw Advantage: KeyCite Symbols This page gives you a brief explanation of the various symbols used in Westlaw to denote whether a case has been overturned, a statute has been amended/superseded/held unconstitutional, or has negative history.
  • Lexis Shepard's Symbols This symbols are much like what exists in Westlaw. It indicates whether a case or statute has negative history or has been modified/overruled or determined to be unconstitutional.

Federal Statutes

Federal Legislative Documents

Heafey Law Library Research Team