Witkin California Treatises

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Witkin California Treatises

B.E. Witkin, his original one-volume treatise on California law has grown into an integrated library of thirty-seven volumes:

Summary of California Law (10th edition)
California Procedure (5th edition)
California Evidence (5th edition)
California Criminal Law (4th edition)

The preface to the original edition of California Procedure (1954) encapsulates the philosophy behind the Witkin treatises and continues to guide the production of the Witkin treatises today:

“First, it is critical. The case law is examined on principle, conflicts of decision are exposed, trends are indicated, and proposals are made for development or change in existing rules. In furtherance of this object the treatment extends beyond California law into the federal rules, law reviews, standard textbooks and Restatements.”

“Second, it is selective. The important and controversial problems are specially emphasized, and the decisions cited and discussed are leading cases, cases particularly apt in illustration of procedural points, and late cases which review the authorities and deal with the present versions of recodified statutes and rules of court.”

“Third, it is practical. This will appear from its organization, its chronological presentation of procedural steps, its discussions linking procedural topics, its constant reference to the interrelation between procedural and substantive rules, its thousands of briefs and bracketed explanations of cited cases, its accumulation of practice suggestions from decisions, and its exhaustive citation of currently used form books.”

Fourth, it is comprehensive. Every major branch of procedure is covered, together with some important subjects which tend to fall into the limbo between substance and procedure and are seldom brought together in a single treatise.”

Fifth, it is readable. The vast and challenging fields of procedure and practice are presented as plainly and concretely as possible. There are no footnotes; exposition, supporting authorities, comment and illustration are integrated, without physical separation or diminution in size of type. Law students to whom procedure is a remote mystery, lawyers to whom it is a continual headache, may alike find it possible and useful to read the book through.”

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