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LRAC Legal Research Class Site

Arizona Revised Statutes

Click here to see a video about the Arizona Revised Statutes and annotated statutes.

As mentioned above, the codified version of Arizona acts is called the Arizona Revised Statutes. Sometimes it is referred to as the "Arizona code" or "ARS."  

You use the Arizona Revised Statutes to research the current laws (aka statutes or code sections) of Arizona. 

The official version of the Arizona code is the print version of the Arizona Revised Statutes published by West Publishing. Unofficial versions are available on Westlaw, Lexis, and the Arizona State Legislature website

The Arizona Revised Statutes is comprised of 49 titles on different topics.

Codification of Statutes

When you want to find the law on a topic in Arizona you do not look for the original act that was passed by the legislature. You look in the Arizona Revised Statutes which is the codified form of all the Arizona statutes currently in force.

Codification is the process of taking legislative acts which create/amend statutes and arranging the statutes by topic into a statutory code. The purpose of codification is to put all the current statutes on the same topic together so it is easier to find the laws in effect about a specific topic.

It would be very difficult to research statutory law without codified statutes since acts are frequently amended. An act passed in 1950 could have been amended 30 times. 

Example

If you wanted to read the current law on service dog fraud, you would look in the Arizona Revised Statutes and find A.R.S. § 11-1024.

 

Annotated v. Unannotated Codes

The Arizona Revised Statutes published by West Publishing (available in print and on Westlaw) is an annotated code. This means that it has notes after each code section which are used for research. 

Generally each section has the following:

  • Case law annotations (cases that interpret the statute)

  • Secondary source annotations (secondary sources that discuss the statute)

  • Historical notes (information about the history of the statute)

An annotated code is one stop research shopping!

An unannotated code just has the text of the statute and is therefore not particularly useful for research purposes (except to read the statute). An example of an unannotated code is the version available on the Arizona State Legislature website (azleg.gov). 

Annotated Example of A.R.S. § 13-2916

Unannotated Example of A.R.S. 13-2916