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The vast stimulus given to procedural reform by the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1938 and their acceptance in the practice of many states has resulted not only in useful general texts, but in several state practice books outlining the new procedure for the local practitioner which, unlike such books of a prior age, are real contributions to this field of law. There is probably less incentive for a re-examination of practice codes in states which have not yet been greatly affected by the new ideas permeating the courts. But from the standpoint of scholarship and of reform there is perhaps even greater need for such texts in states which have so far resisted substantial change. Hence it is a pleasure to welcome such a satis- factory professional tool as the present one, devoted as it is to the practice of a major state which seems ripe for procedural advance. California was an early exponent of code pleading when Chief Justice Stephen J. Field accepted his brother David's reform of the "Field Code," adopted in New York in 1848, to make it the leading code state of the West as early as 1850 and 1851.As yet its only essay into the most modern reform of the federal rules appears to be the adoption of some of the party joinder rules in 1927, the rule for summary judgments as amended in 1953, and the discovery rules in 1958. Professor Chadbourn and his associates do not assume the role of reformers, for their more modest present objective is a book of exposition for the local bench and bar. But as they well state it, their "approach is intended to be both critical and functional, stressing underlying principles, considerations of policy, and factors relating to the tactics and strategy of pleading." And they have succeeded so admirably that local practitioners can hardly do without their work. And quite unobtrusively, but nevertheless deftly, in the view of this reviewer at least they have shown that California can do better than it is doing, that the time for improvement is at hand.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Book Review: California Pleading, 8 UCLA Law Review 994 (1961)