SF Open Law

Making the laws of San Francisco more accessible to everyone

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What is Open Law?

Open Law represents a commitment by the City and County of San Francisco to releasing one of our most important pieces of information—the law—to the public in formats that make it more accessible. Following on our landmark Open Data Policy, the laws of San Francisco are released in technologist-friendly formats that can power new applications that enhance understanding, improve access and lead to new insights about the law.

These applications have yet to emerge, but we believe giving unprecedented access to the law will unleash creativity from the community. Imagine, for example, if you could:

  • Discover all the laws impacting small businesses in an easy, modern, browsable format
  • Find amusing or outdated laws from a bygone era
  • Explore the legal actions and ordinances that led to Municipal Code changes more easily
  • Share and discuss laws and get answers from certified legal resources in the community

Open Law is the first, necessary step to making these kinds of applications. We hope you join us and use the resources curated here to engage in the growing Open Law community.

How it works

Unstructured text

Text is provided by American Legal Publishing on behalf of the City and ends up as downloadable files on GitHub. These files can be opened in standard applications like TextEdit on the Mac or Notepad on Windows.


Using what appears to some as magic, these text based files are interpreted by special computer programs written by humans. These convert plain old text into structure that is better understood by the technologies that power the web.

Structured data

What was once just a single stream of the law is now available as a structured set of data. Think of a jumbled mess of papers being put into file folders that are categorized and easy to search through. This structured data is a slightly more complex version of papers filed into folders. This is the secret sauce that powers applications built on the Municipal Codes.


Unstructured text downloads

View the GitHub repo where the unstructured text files are available for download in zip or tar.gz format.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An API is provided independently by the OpenGov Foundation (not an official City entity). You can sign up for an API key and get started today.

Bulk structured data downloads

Want to download structured data for use or reuse in your application? The OpenGov Foundation provides bulk downloads in JSON format for your use in applications.

The official code hosted by American Legal Publishing

The official Municipal Codes are hosted by American Legal Publishing on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco.



The files provided as part of the Open Law initiative are raw data representations of certain Municipal Codes of the City and County of San Francisco for reuse in applications by anyone who chooses to do so. This is not the official copy of the City and County of San Francisco’s Code and should not be relied upon for legal or any other official purposes. Please refer to the Official Codes hosted by American Legal Publishing.

The City and County of San Francisco offers these files with no warranty as to accuracy or completeness.