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Secondary Sources: Restatements

What are the Restatements?

     What are the Restatements?

 The Restatements are created by the American Law Institute which was founded by judges, lawyers and law professors in 1923. It is still a persuasive authority of the common law today.  A scholar or a group of scholars in a particular field write a draft which is then voted upon and adopted by the American Law Institute.  Each restatement may go through numerous drafts before it is adopted by the American Law Institute.

The first Restatement was adopted in 1923-1944.  Since then new subjects have been added and the Restatement 2d and Restatement 3d have been published.  When a topic is updated, it does not always supersede a previous version of the Restatement.  For this reason, you must always check the appendix volumes when using print materials.

It is available on Westlaw and Lexis under secondary sources. It is also available on HeinOnline under the American Law Institute library.

What do they offer?

  • Reviews United States common law on a particular subject
  • Persuasive authority
  • Can be primary authority if adopted by the state legislature or by a court
  • Each subject is divided into chapters and then sections.  Each entry contains a statement of the law and then is followed by hypothetical illustrations.
  • The Second and Third Restatements contain Tables, Conversion Tables, and Cross References.
  • Key Numbers are available in the Second and Third Restatements
  • References to A.L.R in the Second and Third Restatements

Subjects covered include:

     Agency, Conflict of laws, Contracts, Foreign Relations Law, Judgments, Property, Property (landlord & tenant) Property (Mortgages), Property (Servitudes), Property (Wills and Donative Transfers), Restitution, Suretyship and Guarantee Torts, Trusts, & Unfair Competition