When a civil lawsuit goes to trial, a jury usually decides whether the defendant is liable to the plaintiff and, if so, the amount of damages. However, most jurors do not know the nuances of the law. The judge presiding over the trial thus must describe the law to the jury so that they can apply it to the facts of the case. These descriptions are called jury instructions.
To promote accuracy and uniformity statewide, the Judicial Council of California provides a standardized set of civil jury instructions. Under California Rule of Court 2.1050, judges are strongly encouraged to use them. The instructions cover cases ranging from personal injury and contract lawsuits to civil rights and consumer disputes. Volume 1 also contains a set of general pretrial instructions, while Volume 2 contains a set of general concluding instructions.