Local Government Legal Resources



The following titles are suggested sources of information pertaining to municipal or county legal research, with a special emphasis on California local government. These sources are generally available in either the UCB Law Library (Boalt Hall),  the Institute of Governmental Studies Library (Moses Hall) or online.

How to Locate City Codes and Charters

UC Berkeley's IGS Library Local Codes and Ordinances - UC Berkeley's maintains a large collection of of local ordinances codes and charters issued by California cities and counties. If you need to find a California municode check this site first. In addition to hyperlinks to electronic editions, they have a list of currently available codes and charters issued in loose-leaf format. Other separately published charters and zoning ordinances may be found in the Melvyl Catalog  under the following subject headings:

Quality Code Publishing - Includes a series of online codes for 5 states although the majority are for California cities. Used primariily as an interface for cities to publish their codes electronically. 

Directory Sources to Locate City/County Clerk Offices

State and Local Government on the Net - Frequently updated directory of official state, county and city government websites.

Ordinance Drafting and Case Law

KF5322.A15 M86

Books on Local Law

Looseleaf Services

Local Government Law [C. Dallas Sands, Michael E. Libonati, KF5300 .S26] Includes citations to primary and secondary authorities. An excellent treatise on local government law for both municipal attorneys and elected municipal officials. Also available on Westlaw (password required).
Municipal Corporations [E.C. Yokley, KF5305 .Y5]
Municipal Ordinances, Text and Forms - [Thomas and Bryon Matthews, KF5313 .M31 1972-]. Includes examples of ordinances used by cities.  Also available on Westlaw (password required).

Hornbooks and Handbooks

Eminent Domain: A Handbook of Condemnation Law [ABA, William Scheiderich, Cynthia M. Fraser, and David Callies, editors, KF5599 .E468 2011].

Casebooks and Treatises

 Land Use Law [Daniel R. Mandelker, KF5698 .M29 2003]. Also available on Lexis (password required).


Law Reviews and Journals

Indexing and Abstracting Services

Specialized Law Reviews and Journals

Proceedings of the Institute on Planning, Zoning & Eminent Domain [KF5692.A5 I57]. Also available on Lexis (password required).

Urban Lawyer (HeinOnline, UCB only). [ABA, K25 .R32, older volumes only at NRLF].


Other Resources

California Planners Information Network: California Planners Book of Lists The Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) publishes basic information on California local planning agencies, including an annual survey that identifies recent planning activities, accomplishments, and trends. Since the 1980s, the annual publication that has included both the survey results and a directory of local planning agencies has been known as the California Planners' Book of Lists

See also Paper Trails: A Guide to Public Records in California (California Newspaper Publishers Assoc.) [Stephen Levine, KFC827 .N48 1996].

California Local Planning Documents Database (IGS)
All of California's 500+ cities and counties issue planning documents. The state of California requires local jurisdictions to produce them and to update them periodically. The documents take various forms. They can be issued as consolidated general plans or as separate elements (e.g., land use, open space, housing, conservation, noise, seismic safety, transportation, etc.). The California Local Planning Documents Database includes links to online full-text versions of plans, when available. Searches can be limited to online full-text.

California Local Government Website (IGS) The IGS Library collects and preserves born-digital publications from local governments within California. These collections include: local ordinance codes and charters issued by California cities and counties, county financial documents ,including budgets and annual financial reports, annual reports from county grand juries, documents related to land use and development issues, and budgets and financial reports for Bay Area jurisdictions

California State Association of Counties News for county governments, plus information on each of California's 58 counties.

California State Controller's Database of Local Government Salaries and Compensation The database contains information on the salary and other compensation of public employee positions in cities, counties, and special districts.

League of California Cities
An association of California city officials with an extensive website of local government information.

International Municipal Lawyers Association The International Municipal Lawyers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests and education of local government lawyers.

Library of Congress State and Local Government on the Internet An evolving list linking to various local government resources available on the Internet.

National Association of Counties The National Association of Counties is the only national organization that represents county governments before the Administration and Congress.

National Association of Regional Councils The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism. NARC advocates for and provides services to its member councils of government and metropolitan planning organizations.

National League of Cities

State and County Quick Facts U.S. Census Bureau source of compartive information on local government, includes a subject guide.


State of the Cities Data Systems Sponsored by HUD, this gives access to specific cities' historical census data, current employment statistics, and county business pattern databases. The dataset allows searching for criminal, business and housing data sets as well.

United States Conference of Mayors The U.S. Conference of Mayors  is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.


Last edited by Edna Lewis, 17 April 2012