Skip to main content

Restatements of the Law: Home

A guide to the ALI's Restatements of the Law for law students, recent graduates, and members of the public

Overview

Introduction

Restatements are highly regarded distillations of common law. They are prepared by the American Law Institute (ALI), a prestigious organization comprising judges, professors, and lawyers. The ALI's aim is to distil the "black letter law" from cases to indicate trends in common law, and occasionally to recommend what a rule of law should be. In essence, they restate existing common law into a series of principles or rules.

Restatements cover broad topics, such as Contracts or Property. They are organized into chapters, titles, and sections. Sections contain a concisely stated rule of law, comments to clarify the rule, hypothetical examples, explanation of purpose, as well as exceptions to the rule.

Restatements are not primary law. Due to the prestige of the ALI and its painstaking drafting process, however, they are considered persuasive authority by many courts. The most heavily cited Restatements are the Restatement of Torts and the Restatement of Contracts.

The ALI web site contains information regarding Restatement projects, ALI membership, history and institutional processes.

(http://guides.library.harvard.edu/content.php?pid=103327&sid=1036651, Meg Kribble, mkribble@ law.harvard.edu)

List of Restatements

Some older Restatements have been entirely superseded by later editions. However, it is more common for particular annotations on a topic to be superseded by annotations in later editions than for the entire volume to be superseded. It is important to look at all available Restatements on your topic and update the annotations you find useful, to avoid using outdated law or missing key information.


  • Law of Agency, Second (1957)
  • Law of Agency, Third (2006)
  • Conflict of Laws, Second (1971)
  • Contracts, Second (1981)
  • Foreign Relations Law of the United States, Third (1987)
  • Judgments, Second (1982)
  • Law Governing Lawyers, Third (2000)
  • Property (1936−40)
  • Property, Second, Landlord and Tenant (1977)
  • Property, Second, Donative Transfers (1983−92)
  • Property, Third, Mortgages (1997)
  • Property, Third, Servitudes (2000)
  • Property, Third, Wills and Other Donative Transfers (1999−2003)
  • Restitution, Quasi-Contracts and Constructive Trusts (1937)
  • Restitution and Unjust Enrichment, Third (2011)
  • Security (1941)
  • Suretyship and Guaranty, Third (1996)
  • Torts, Second (1965−79)
  • Torts, Third, Apportionment of Liability (2000)
  • Torts, Third, Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm (2011)
  • Torts, Third, Products Liability (1998)
  • Trusts, Second (1959)
  • Trusts, Third (2003−08)
  • Trusts, Third, Prudent Investor Rule (1992)
  • Restatement of Unfair Competition, Third (1995)

 

Contents

Anatomy of a Restatement

  • A black-letter style legal rule is printed in boldface type.
  • 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.
  • The “Illustrations” sections of the Restatement provide examples of how a particular Restatement provision would apply in specific factual situations.
  • 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 Guides in the Restatements

  • 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)
  • An Index

(http://tarltonguides.law.utexas.edu/content.php?pid=95103&sid=721924, refdesk@law.utexas.edu, and Kasia Solon Cristobal, kcristobal@law.utexas.edu)

Chat