Chapter 1

Legal research is the process oI identiIying and retrieving the law-related inIormation, necessary
to support legal decision making. In its broadest sense, legal research includes each step oI a course oI
action that begins with an analysis oI Iacts oI a problem and concludes with the application and
communication oI the results oI the investigation.
Many types oI inIormation are needed to support legal decision-making. Although this book
Iocuses on inIormation sources that are concerned explicitly with law, legal decisions cannot be made out
oI their economic, social, historical, and political contexts. Today, legal decisions oIten involve business,
scientiIic, medical, psychological, and technological inIormation. Consequently, the process oI legal
research oIten involves investigation into other relevant disciplines.
1he knowledge and ability to use fundamental legal research tools and to implement an
effective and efficient research plan must be inherent in every lawyer's training so he can not only
represent his client in a legal proceeding, but also uphold the standards of the legal profession.

This chapter, an introduction to legal research, explains why researchers seek certain types oI
inIormation. This chapter explains the basic jurisprudential model upon which legal resources are
designed, created, and collected, and introduces materials that are covered more comprehensively in
subsequent chapters.

8Ŧ 8Cu8lCuLZţ LLCAL 8LSLA8CPţ 1Ŵ2 (2002)Ŧ


1he Philippine law like the law oI other countries, comes Irom a variety oI sources. 1he
Philippine legal system is cognizant and comprised of civil laws, common laws, Islamic laws,
Indigenous laws, judicial decisions, and customs.
There are two primary sources oI law; Statutes or
statutory laws deIined as the written enactment oI the will oI the legislative branch oI the government
rendered authentic by certain prescribed Iorms or solemnities are more also known as enactment oI
congress. Generally they consist oI two types, the Constitution and legislative enactments and;
1urisprudence or case law deIined as cases decided or written opinion by courts and by persons
perIorming judicial Iunctions. Also included are all rulings in administrative and legislative tribunals such
as decisions made by the Presidential or Senate or House Electoral Tribunal. For Muslim law, the primary
source oI Shariah are Quran, Sunnaqh, Ijma and Qiyas. Jainal D. Razul in his book Commentaries and
Jurisprudence on the Muslin Law oI the Philippines (1984) Iurther stated there are new sources oI law,
which some jurists rejected such as Istihsan or juristic preIerence; Al-Masalih, Al Mursalah or public
interest; Istidlal (custom) and Istishab. (deduction based on continuity or permance). In the context oI
legal research, the term 'sources oI law¨ can reIer to three diIIerent concepts. In one sense, the term
'sources oI law¨ reIers to the origins oI legal concepts and ideas. Custom, tradition, principles oI
morality, and economic, political, philosophical, and religious thought may maniIest themselves in law.
Legal research Irequently must extend to these areas, especially when historical or policy issues are

The term sources oI law can also reIer to the governmental institutions that Iormulate legal rules.
1he political system of the Philippines is composed of one State which acts through its government to
promote the welfare of the people. Such government is composed of three divisions of legislative,
executive and judicial authority. Although by virtue of the separation of powers which provides that
one branch of the government cannot perform acts other than what has been mandated by the

ÞŦ !CvLn Ǝ !Ŧ CPAnţ LLCAL 8l8LlCC8AÞP?ţ 4Ŵ36 (1988)Ŧ


onstitution, it must be recognized that the State intends to harmonize the three powers for the
fulfillment of its objectives. 1hus, all three branches can be regarded as sources of law in a manner not
contrary to the State's purpose
.ecause all three branches oI government 'make law¨ and create legal
inIormation that is the subject oI legal research, researchers must understand the types oI inIormation
created by each branch and the processes through which that inIormation is created.
Finally, sources oI law can reIer to the published maniIestations oI the law. Printed sources
include the onstitution, statutes, court decisions, administrative rules and scholarly commentaries
which can aid in legal decision making. Publications, which include treatises, commentaries, and
encyclopedias, that discuss or analyze legal doctrines are considered secondary materials that are
persuasive sources of laws. PHIL1URIS and LEX LIBRIS, two comprehensive and competing
computer-based legar research systems, provide the capability to search for sources of laws.
books, electronic databases, microIorms, optical disks (CD-ROMs and DVDs), and other media that
contain legal inIormation are all sources oI law.
. The Nature of Legal Authority
Legal authority is any published source oI law setting Iorth legal rules, legal doctrine, or legal
reasoning that can be used as a basis Ior legal decisions. In discussions about legal research, the term
authority is used to reIer both to the types oI legal inIormation and to the degree oI persuasiveness oI
legal inIormation.
When the term is used to describe types oI inIormation, legal authority can be categorized as
primary or secondary. Primary authorities are authorized statements oI the law Iormulated by
governmental institutions. Such authorities include the written opinions oI courts (case law),
constitutions, legislations, rules oI court, and the rules, regulations, and opinions oI administrative

lŦ C8uZţ ÞPlLlÞÞlnL ÞCLl1lCAL LAWţ 73Ŵ90 (2002)Ŧ
Supra noLe 1ţ aL 2Ŵ4


agencies. Secondary authorities are statements about the law and are used to explain, interpret, develop,
locate, or update primary authorities. Treatises, articles in law reviews and other scholarly journals,
Philippine Law Reports annotations, Supreme ourt Reports annotated and SAD are examples of
secondary authorities.
When the term is used to describe the degree oI persuasiveness oI legal inIormation, authority is
an estimation oI the power oI inIormation to inIluence a legal decision. In this sense, authority can be
termed binding (also called mandatory), meaning that a court or other decision-maker believes the
authority applies to the case beIore it and must be Iollowed; or authority can be considered persuasive,
meaning that a decision-maker can, iI so persuaded, Iollow it.
Only primary authority can be binding; but some primary authority will be merely persuasive,
depending on the source oI the authority and its content. Secondary authority can never be binding, but
can be persuasive. The application oI legal authority to individual problems is a complex and oIten
controversial process. Variations in the Iacts oI individual cases enable judges, inIluenced by their own
philosophies and perspectives, to exercise wide discretion in interpreting and applying legal authority.
. The Civil Law Tradition
1he Philippine legal system is a mixture of both the civil law and common law systems
although some authorities would insist that it is predominantly civil law. Its civil law elements were
derived primarily from Spanish laws which were transplanted into Philippine soil during the Spanish
colonization of the Islands; while its common law elements come from Anglo-American law brought by
the United States during its 4ô year rule of the country.

Most of the present system's civil law elements can be found in the Aew ivil ode of the
Philippines, the Revised Penal ode, as well as in the various provisions of the Rules of ourt which
also descended from the provisions of the ode of ivil Procedure under Spanish law.

ÞŦ nC Ǝ ÞŦ ÞCţ LLCAL 8LSLA8CP Anu 8l8LlCC8AÞP?ţ (2003)Ŧ


1he common law elements on the other hand can be found in areas such as the Philippine
onstitution, the Rules of ourt, orporation ode, the Aegotiable Instruments Law and even in the
present ivil ode on the provisions relating to estoppel which are of common law origin. Perhaps the
most obvious manifestation of common law in the legal system of the Philippines is the doctrine of
Stare Decisis, a doctrine of law that commands courts to abide by rules and by previous decision or
rulings made of the Supreme ourt. But unlike traditionally common law countries, however, courts in
the Philippines cannot make law, a characteristic which is very civil law in nature, and the Supreme
ourt en banc can abandon principles laid down in previous rulings which, in its own evaluation, no
longer apply to present circumstances or to facts brought before it.

Cenerally there are no common law crimes in the Philippines. Because if there is no law punishing an
act or omission for which a person is charged, the court must dismiss the case.

. Case law and the doctrine of precedent
a. $tructure of the Court $ystem. On the national level, and in the regions, there are hierarchical
judicial systems in which some courts have jurisdiction, or control over other courts. 1he typical court
structure consists of four levels,

and it is important to understand what types oI inIormation are created at
each level and where that inIormation can be Iound.
Trial courts are courts oI original jurisdiction that make determination oI law and oI Iact, with the
judge, a provincial city prosecutor or a public prosecutor
often making the determination of facts in
criminal cases, and assessors and commissioners in civil cases
. Documents prepared by the parties,
called pleadings ( complaints, answer, interrogatories, among others) and motions, are Iiled beIore, during
and aIter a trial; exhibits are submitted into evidence during the trial; and a record (or transcript) is made.
Although pleadings, motions, exhibits, and records were usually only available directly Irom the court in

A?SCnţ lunuAMLn1ALS Cl ÞCLl1lCAL SClLnCL (2000)Ŧ
LS18AuAţ C8lMlnAL LAW 8CCk 1 Cl 1PL 8LvlSLu ÞLnAL CCuL (2008)Ŧ


which the litigation was conducted, some oI these documents now are obtainable electronically Irom
various governmental and commercial sources. AIter a trial, the regional trial court issues a judgment or a
decision and sometimes, a written opinion; the opinion oI the regional trial courts are inIrequently
published, reported, or otherwise made generally available to the public.

Intermediate appellate courts, or the court of appeals is the body that generally has exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over the decisions of the Regional 1rial ourts and the other quasi-judicial agencies
Appellate courts generally will not review Iactual determinations made by lower courts, but will review
claimed errors oI law that are reIlected in the record created in the lower courts. Appellate courts accept
written brieIs(statement prepared by the counsel arguing the case, and Irequently hear oral arguments.
Some large law libraries collect copies oI the brieIs Iiled in the appellate courts. Special appellate courts
in the Philippines are: 1) the Sandiganbayan, which have appellate jurisdiction over certain criminal
cases decided by the Regional ourts, and also original jurisdiction over certain types of criminal
cases; and 2) the court of 1ax Appeals which act only on protests of private persons adversely affected
by the tax and customs laws
. ase Law is found primarily in the decisions of the Supreme ourt (as
ourt of Appeals decision have been largely not available.) 1he Rules of court, particularly Rule 55,
Section 1

, entail the publication of the judgment and final resolution of the ourt of Appeals in the
Philippines. As to whether the decisions of this 1ribunal shall constitute precedents, the Supreme
ourt of the Philippines, in the case of Miranda, et al. v. Imperial (77 Phil. 1ôôô) held: "Only
decisions of this Honorable ourt establish jurisprudence or doctrines in the jurisdiction. However,

Supra noLe 1ţ aL 162Ŧ
ldŦ aL 163Ŧ
8ule 33ţ SecŦ1 1he [udgmenLs and flnal resoluLlons of Lhe courL shall be publlshed ln Lhe Cfflclal CazeLLe and ln
Lhe 8eporLs offlclally auLhorlzed by Lhe courL ln Lhe language ln whlch Lhey have been orlglnally wrlLLenţ LogeLher
wlLh Lhe syllabl Lherefor prepared by Lhe reporLer ln consulLaLlon wlLh Lhe wrlLers LhereofŦ Memoranda of all oLher
[udgmenLs and flnal resoluLlons noL so publlshed shall be made by Lhe reporLer and publlshed ln Lhe Cfflclal
CazeLLe and Lhe auLhorlzed reporLsŦ


this does not prevent that a conclusion or pronouncement of the ourt of Appeals which covers a point
of law still undecided in our jurisprudence may serve as juridical guide to the inferior courts, and that
such conclusion or pronouncement be raised as a doctrine if, after it has been subjected to test in the
crucible of analysis and revision, this Supreme ourt should find that it has merits and qualities
sufficient for its consecration as a rule of jurisprudence."

1he Supreme ourt is the "court of last resort" at the top of the judicial hierarchy which determines
with finality what the law is and should be. 1he constitution conveys its power.
Many libraries make
available in paper or electronic Iormat copies oI the brieIs and records Iiled in the Supreme Court oI the
Philippines. Transcripts oI the oral arguments in these courts also are available in some law libraries and
on the Internet. Courts oI last resort usually issue written opinions that are almost always published,
collected by libraries and made available electronically. 1he preparation for the publication of the
decisions of the Supreme ourt and the ourt of Appeals of the Philippines is entrusted to the
respectivecourt reporter of each court.

b. State 1urisdiction of the Supreme ourt. 1he Supreme ourt has the power to review on appeal or
certiorari final judgments and order of lower courts in certain cases such as when errors or questions
of law are invoked and where the onstitution or validity of statutes are involved. It has original
jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.

c. Precedent. Having been under American rule, the Philippines although primarily a "civil law
country" has adopted the doctrine of precedent or stare decisis.
Stare decisis, literally "the stand on

Supra noLe 1ţ aL 173Ŧ
ldŦ aL 163Ŧ
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ldŦ aL 163Ŧ
ldŦ aL 164Ŧ


what has been decided, is the principle that the decisions of a court is a binding authority on the court
that issued the decisions and on lower courts for the disposition of factually similar controversies."

1his is in adherence to Art. 8 of the A.

The doctrine oI precedent is closely related to three other concepts represented by the Latin terms
stare decisis, ratio decidendi and dictum.
$tare Decisis, literally 'to stand at what has been decided¨, is the principle that the decision oI a
court is binding authority on the court that issued the decision and on lower courts in the same jurisdiction
Ior the disposition oI Iactually similar controversies. Every final decision of the Supreme ourt has two
effects: 1) as an authoritative settlement of the particular controversy before it; and 2) as a precedent
for future cases. Res 1udicata to its effect as to settlement of the immediate controversy and stare
decisis to the impact of the decision as precedent.
Appellate courts can bind themselves and lower
courts over which they have appellate jurisdiction but appellate courts cannot bind other appellate courts
at the same level.
The ratio decidendi is the holding or the principle oI law on which the case was decided. It is the
ratio decidendi that sets the precedent and is binding on courts in the Iuture. Unlike legislature,
Philippine courts do not promulgate general provisions oI law, nor do they respond to hypothetical
questions. Rather, courts decide actual cases and controversies and the rules they announce are tied to
speciIic Iactual situations. ThereIore, the ratio decidendi, or rule oI the case, must be considered in
conjunction with the Iacts oI the case.

ArLŦ8Ŧ !udlclal declslons applylng or lnLerpreLlng Lhe laws or Lhe ConsLlLuLlon shall form parL of Lhe legal sysLem
of Lhe ÞhlllpplnesŦ
Supra noLe 1ţ aL 164Ŧ



In contrast, dictum (or obiter dictum) is a language in an opinion that is not necessary to the
decision. Dictum comes Irom the Latin verb decite, 'to say,¨ and reIers to what is 'said by the way,¨ that
which is not essential to the holding oI the court. ith that being said though, dictum shouldnt be the law
researchers mind because dictum sometimes can be persuasive in their most powerful time. As impliedly
said in many law research papers, yesterdays dictum might be the presents doctrine.
It is oIten diIIicult to distinguish the ratio decidendi oI a case Irom dictum. The determination oI what
is ratio decidendi, and what is dictum, is a Iocus oI much legal analysis and is oIten the critical point oI
legal argument.
Courts in their very own way, Iind a way in reading cases that will help them make right decision by
looking at the precedent. Only the decisions of the Supreme ourt establish jurisprudence or doctrines
in this jurisdiction. However, this does not prevent that a conclusion or pronouncement of the ourt of
Appeals which covers a point of law still undecided in our jurisdiction may serve as juridical guide to
the inferior courts, and that such conclusion or pronouncement be raised as a doctrine if after it has
been subjected to test in the crucible of analysis and revision, the Supreme ourt should find that it has
merits and qualities sufficient for its consecration as a rule of jurisprudence.

Policy considerations supporting the doctrine oI precedent include the resulting Iairness, as it
encourages similar cases to be treated similarly; the predictability and stability it encourages within the
legal system; and its eIIiciency in terms oI time and energy as it enables decision-makers to take
advantage oI previous eIIorts and prior wisdom. Critics argue that a reliance on precedent can result in a
rigid and mechanical jurisprudence that can Iorce us to treat unlike cases as iI they were similar; that the
doctrine oI precedent can perpetuate outmoded rules; and that its inherently conservative nature can
impede the law Irom being responsive to new social needs.

Supra noLe 2ţ aL 39Ŵ60Ŧ


otwithstanding these criticisms, the doctrine oI precedent remains the Ioundation upon which our
models oI legal research are constructed. The written opinions oI courts, particularly appellate courts, are
the 'stuII` oI legal argument and the major source oI legal doctrine. Consequently, they are the primary,
but certainly not the only, objects oI legal research. Law libraries and legal electronic databases are Iilled
with published court opinions, along with secondary sources and index tools to help researchers Iind,
interpret, and update opinions that are relevant to particular Iact patterns.
. Legislation and the Interpretation of Statutes
a. egislation. A statute is defined as the written enactment of the will of the legislative branch
of the government rendered authentic by certain prescribed forms or solemnities, are more also known
as enactment of congress.

In comparison, a constitution is the written instrument enacted by direct
action of the people by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited and
defined, and by which those powers are distributed among the several departments for their safe and
useful exercise for the benefit of the body politic. ecause many oI the basic concepts and techniques oI
statutory and constitutional research are similar, they can be discussed together at an introductory level.
Statutes enacted by the legislative are those passed by the Philippine ommission, the
Philippine Legislature, the BatasangPambansa, and the ongress of the Philippines.
In the
Philippines, statutes are enacted by the legislative branch and signed into law by the chieI executive. The
growth oI statutory law has reIlected the impact oI the industrial revolution, as it became apparent that a
jurisprudence based only on judicial decisions could not meet the needs oI a growing, dynamic society.
Situations developed in which answers were needed that were not Iound in court reports, or the answers
Iound in court reports either no longer met current needs, or resulted in actions that were considered
unjust. In 1urisprudence and ase Law, ase law is defined as decisions or written opinions by courts
and by persons performing judicial functions. It also includes all rulings of administrative and

MŦ SAn1CS CnCţ ÞPlLlÞÞlnL LLCAL 8LSLA8CPţ 42 (2007)
8Ŧ ACÞALCţ S1A1u1C8? CCnS18uC1lCnţ 1 (2009)


legislative tribunals such as decisions made by the Presidential (PE1) or Senate (SE1) or House
Electoral 1ribunals (HRE1).

1he Philippine legal system may be considered as a unique legal system because it is a blend of
civil law (Roman), common law (Anglo-American), muslim (Islamic) law and indigenous law

Statutes, and collections oI statutes arranged by subject called codes, have become very important in
common law systems. In the Philippines, statutory law includes constitutions, treaties, statues proper or
legislative enactments, municipal charters, municipal legislation, court rules administrative rules and
orders, legislative rules, and presidential/executive issuances.

Statutes are used to create new areas oI
law; to Iill gaps in the law; and to change court-made rules.
b. $tatutory Interpretation. Courts play predominant roles in interpreting and applying
statutes and in extending the law to subjects not expressly covered by statutes. The legislature may state a
general legal rule in the Iorm oI a statute, nut it is the judiciary that interprets the general rule and applies
it to speciIic cases. Under the doctrine oI precedent, it is the statute as interpreted by the courts that is
applied in the next case. In theory, iI the legislature disagrees with the way a court has interpreted a
statute, the legislature should revise the statute.
Statutory interpretation is an important part oI legal research. Researchers must not Iind only the
statutes applicable to a problem, but also must Iind inIormation that will help determine what the statutes
mean and how they should be applied. AIter looking Ior the 'plain meaning¨ oI the words oI a statute,
and applying traditional canons or principles oI statutory interpretation to the text oI the statute,
researchers resort to a number oI approaches to statutory interpretation.
An important method oI statutory interpretation is to look Ior judicial opinions that have
construed the speciIic statute. The persuasiveness oI interpretive opinions depends on the similarity oI

Supra noLe 20ţ aL 43Ŧ
Supra noLe 20ţ aL 42Ŧ


Iacts involved and on the courts issuing the opinions. Legislatures sometimes pass laws that are designed
to reIlect existing common law rules; in such situations judicial opinions that pre-date the statute are
useIul aids to interpretation.
Researchers oIten attempt to identiIy the legislature`s purpose in passing a statute and the
legislature`s intended meaning Ior speciIic statutory provisions. To do this, researchers look at the
legislative history oI the statute- documents, such as the original bill and revisions thereto, revised
versions oI bills and legislative debates, hearings, reports, and other materials, created by the legislature
while the statute was under consideration- Ior evidence oI legislative purpose and intent. Although
controversy exists over their proper use, legislative histories are oIten consulted by lawyers and judges
and are Irequently used in legal argument.
Researchers also search Ior cases Irom other jurisdictions that have interpreted similar statutes.
Although these opinions are not binding authority, well-reasoned opinions Irom other courts can be very
persuasive. This approach is consistent with the doctrine oI precedent, under which the decisions oI other
common law courts may be considered, even iI they are not binding.
. Administrative Law
The third major institutional source oI law is the executive branch oI government. The President
oI the Republic oI the Philippines and its oIIice issue orders and create other documents with legal eIIect.
Executive departments and oIIices, and administrative agencies, establishments, and corporation all create
legal inIormation.
Administrative agencies, which exist on the executive and regional levels, are created by the
legislative branch oI government and are usually part oI the executive branch. A number oI independent
agencies, establishments, and corporations exist within the executive branch but are not considered to be
executive departments. For the most part, administrative agencies handle matters oI administrative law


and regional agencies handle matters oI municipal ordinances, but there is oIten interaction between
Iederal and state agencies. Administrative agencies conduct activities that are in nature legislative and
adjudicative, as well as executive. Under the authority of a statute, these agencies often create and
publish rules and regulations that further interpret a stature. Agencies may also make determinations
of law and fact in controversies arising under the statute and, like courts, publish opinions.

Administrative law can be a very complex area to research. ot only will researchers need to
Iind, interpret, and update the rules, regulations, and decision created by the administrative agency, but
they will also need to Iind, interpret, and update the legislation the agency is administering and judicial
opinions that interpret those rules, administrative adjudications, and legislation


Published legal resources can be divided into three broad categories: (1) primary sources or
authorities; () secondary sources; and () index, search, or Iinding tools. All oI these 'published¨ legal
resources can appear in more than one Iormat, including printed books, electronic databases, digital
images, microIorms, compacts disks (CD-ROMs and DVDs), videos, and audiocassettes. Many resources
contain more than one type oI inIormation and serve more than one Iunction. For example, some
electronic resources and looseleaI services include both primary authority and secondary materials; they
are, at the same time, designed to be Iinding tools. An understanding oI how legal materials are structured
and organized (regardless oI the media in which they are published) is necessary to eIIective legal

Supra noLe 3Ŧ


. !rimary sources
As noted earlier in this chapter, primary sources are authoritative statements oI legal rules by
governmental bodies. They include opinions oI courts, constitutions, legislations, administrative
regulations and opinions, and rules oI court. ecause many primary sources are published in the order
they are issued with little or no subject access, secondary access, and indexing tools are needed to identiIy
and retrieve them.
.Secondary sources
Secondary sources are materials about the law that are used to explain, interpret, develop, locate
or update primary sources. These sources are published in paper and electronic Iormats. The major types
oI secondary sources are treatises, restatements, looseleaI services, legislative histories, law reviews and
other periodicals, legal encyclopedias, Philippine Reports annotations, and legal dictionaries. Secondary
sources can be interpretive and may contain textual analysis, doctrinal synthesis, and critical commentary
oI varying degrees oI persuasiveness. Depending upon the reputation oI the author or publisher, some
secondary sources, such as restatement, scholarly treatises, and journal articles are oIten persuasive to a
court. In contrast, practice manuals and legal encyclopedia have little persuasive value but are useIul Ior
basic introductions to subjects, Ior concise or 'black letter¨ statements oI legal rules, and Ior practical
advice. Secondary sources can be used as Iinding tools to locate other inIormation. For example, cases
cited in treatises, law review articles, and encyclopedias can lead to other cases.
. Index Search and Finding Tools
Index, search and Iinding tools help locate or update primary and secondary sources. The major
types oI Iinding tools are digests (to locate cases discussing similar points oI law, annotated statutes and
codes, citators, and legal periodical indexes. Index, search, and Iinding tools are not authority and should
never be cited as such.


LooseleaI services and computer-assisted legal research (CALR) systems, such as LEX LIBRIS
and PHIL1URIS, are among the most valuable Iinding tools. LEX LIBRIS and PHIL1URIS are
computer-based legal research systems which provide the capability to search for cases and other
documents by using practically any word or combination of words.

. Philippine Law !ublishing

a. Proliferation of Materials.

A. Spanish Era

1he official repositories of Spanish laws are the several editions pusblised by governmental
organs and by private persons under royal authority. Statutes and royal decrees making them effective
in the Philippines are contained in the Boletin Oficial and in the Caceta de Manila. 1he provisions of
the aforementioned laws have been cited by numerous decisions of the Supreme ourt and ourt of
Appeals in cases involving their application and interpretation.

In Wenceslao E. Retana's five-volume work (1895-19ô5) entitled "Archivo de Bibliofilo
Filipino," his short catalog of legal materials included folios of royal decrees and orders, and a few
codes: odigo Penal de Filipinas y Ley Provisional; odigoomercio; and odigo Penal.

1he rich source of secondary materials on Spanish Laws come from the accepted Spanish
commentators like Manresa, 1obenas, and Jalverde in ivil Law; Jiada, alon, and Croizard in
riminal Law; and Benito, Blanco, and Jivante in ommercial Law.

Supra noLe 1ţ aL 4Ŧ
ldŦ aL 127Ŵ128Ŧ


B. American Era

Early repositories of legislative activities began with the creation of the First Philippine
ommission in 19ôô as a fact-finding agency and continued when the ommission was vested with
law-making powers. 1hey are the Report of the Philippine ommission to the President ( Covernment
Printing Office, 19ôô, 4 Jols.) and the Report of the Philippine ommission to the Secretary of War
(CPO, 19ôô-1915, 25 Jols.)

Official compilation of laws in the Philippines during the American Period may be found in the
ompilation of Acts of te Philippine ommission, Bureau of Printing, 19ô8), embracing acts of the
Philippine ommission and military orders in force on October 15, 19ô7 and omitting all private,
special, temporary, and local acts and laws which do not constitute a part of the general and
permanent legislation of the islands.

From the establishment of the American civil government in 19ôô to 1935, there were
4,275lawts passed by the Philippine ommission and its bicameral successor, the Philippine
Legislature. 1hese statutes are contained in the Bureau of Printing 31-volume set, Public laws, in
English and Spanish editions.

. 1he ommonwelth Period

1he ommonwealth period witnessed the enactment of 733 statutes. 1he first 412 acts were published
in 2 volumes known as Public Laws of the ommonweath.

ldŦ aL 131Ŵ134Ŧ
ldŦ aL 134Ŧ


D. 1he 1apanese Period

Some laws passed by the Aational Assembly were published in the Official Cazette.

E. 1he Period After Independence

Upon independence, there were ô,ô35 Republic Acts that were legislated by a bicameral ongress from
1uly 4, 194ô to September 21, 1972. 1he repository of these statutes is the government publication,
Laws and Resolutions.

b. Official and Unofficial !ublications.

Philippine legal resources can be divided into those that are oIIicial, and those that are unoIIicial.
What distinguishes a law report as official is the fact that it is printed under the supervision of an
authorized government agency. 1he decisions of the Supreme ourt appear in three official
publications, namely: Advance Sheets; Official Cazette; and the Philippine Reports.

Unofficial law reporting in the Philippines is exemplified by the publication known as
Philippine Decisions (ommunity Publishers, Inc., Manila), which selected the leading cases reported
in Jols. 1 to 54 of the Philippine Reports and collected them in 1ô volumes.

c. aw Publishers. Private publishers traditionally have dominated Philippine law publishing. Many oI
the trade names under which resources were originally published were retained. Although the legal

ldŦ aL 133
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publishing industry is dominated by a relatively small number oI also small publishers, the advent oI the
Internet and the World Wide Web has led to a plethora oI both public and private electronic publishing
ventures oI varying degrees oI reliability, accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The most renowned legal publisher in the Philippines is the private publisher Rex Publishing,
owners of Rex Book Store. They produce various law books, also called secondary legal
authorities.$econdary legal authorities are those which are descriptions oI, or commentary on the law and
includes law books, treatises, legal dictionaries, et cetera
. These publishing oI secondary authority range
in topic Irom Persons and Family Relations to Obligations and Contracts to Remedial Law and so on.
However the Government, through its governmental bodies could also publish what are called primary
legal authorities. Primary legal authorities are the authorized statements oI law as issued by
governmental bodies.

. Evaluating legal resources
When inspecting a legal resource or paper as it may be relevant in giving a right and just decision,
it is important to know iI the resource is reliable. It is important to determine and understand the purposes
the resources were designed to serve. An awareness oI the Iunctions, Ieatures, interrelationships,
strengths, and weaknesses oI resources, whether they are traditional paper resources or electronic
resources, is valuable Ior eIIectively conducting legal research. With all the cases at hand that needs
decisions, because as the saying goes, "justice delayed is justice denied" it is imperative for the law
researcher to know if the resource will give strength to the court's decision.

Sometimes, judges, ask their researchers to look in the internet or other updated resources new
laws or relevant decisions to give strength in their verdict. However, with all the compiling papers that
is sometimes an eyesore when one walks in a court room, the researcher does not see time as its friend

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so researchers must be vigilant it the source is applicable in a case at hand.

A researcher must continually ask himself if the author, editor or publisher has credibility to
give influence in a case. With all the many resources that a researcher may find, it is a must that the
researcher shall know the accuracy, the credibility and the currency of the research material so that it
can give strength and influence in a given case.

A lawuer is required to provide competent representation to a client. ompetent representation
requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for
the representation. learly, a lawyer must be able to research the law to provide competent
representation. In addition to requirements of professional responsibility, questions relating to
competency in legal research may arise in suits for damages, arising from legal incompetence
or claims for malicious prosecution. 1he knowledge and ability to use fundamental legal
research tool and to implement an effective and efficient research plan must become part and
parcel of every lawyer's training for him or her to provide competent representation and
uphold the standards of the legal profession.

Supra noLe 1ţ aL 1Ŵ2Ŧ


Legal research is as much art as science; it calls Ior strategy as well as serendipity. There are
many approaches to legal research, and there is no single, or best way to conduct legal research. Methods
vary according to the nature oI the problem and depend on the researchers subject expertise and research
Approaches to legal research also may be shaped by the availability oI research materials.
Knowledge oI alternative research tools is valuable, because researchers do not always have access to all
oI the diIIerent paper, microIorm, or electronic resources described in this book. moreover, preIerred
resources do not, at times, produce the expected results.
Regardless oI one`s level oI expertise in a particular Iield oI law, a lawyer encounters problems
involving unIamiliar subjects. The capacity to solve legal problems rapidly and accurately is developed
best by constructing a systematic approach to legal research.
The processes oI legal research and legal writing are closely related. Legal research is oIten
wasted iI the results are not communicated eIIectively. Legal research inIorms legal writing, and legal
writing is meaningless without accurate content. Many diIIering viewpoints exist about how the
disciplines oI legal research and legal writing interrelate. Some researchers preIer to conduct most oI their
research beIore beginning to write. Others preIer to write as they conduct their research.
This chapter presents a general approach to legal research that can be modiIied and applied to
most problems and can be merged with various approaches to legal writing. The approach is resource-
neutral in that it can be applied to research in books, electronic resources, or a combination oI media. In
the end, researchers must develop research and writing methodologies that are most eIIective Ior their


A general approach to legal research, which can be modiIied to accommodate most problems, can
be broken down into Iour basic steps. 1his systematic approach to legal research will help in solving
legal problems accurately and comprehensively
. These are:
STEP 1. IdentiIy and analyze the signiIicant Iacts.
STEP . Formulate the legal issues to be researched.
STEP . Research the issues presented.
STEP 4. Update.
This discussion Iocuses on each oI these steps individually; each step, however, is closely related
to the others. Legal research, moreover, is rarely a linear process. It oIten is necessary to revisit previous
steps and revise and reIine previous work.
. STE! Identify and Analyze the Significant Facts
The researcher`s Iirst task is to identiIy and analyze the Iacts oI the problem. some Iacts have
legal signiIicance; others do not. The process oI legal research begins with compiling a descriptive
statement oI legally signiIicant Iacts. It is oIten diIIicult Ior a beginner to identiIy signiIicant problem in
an unIamiliar area oI the law, it is usually best to err on the side oI over-inclusion rather than exclusion.
Factual analysis is the Iirst step in identiIying the legal issues that will be researched. Factual
analysis also enables a researcher to locate access points to the available resources. Which volumes are
relevant? Which subjects should be consulted in indexes and tables oI contents? Which words should be
used in an initial search oI an electronic database? Which websites should be examined? An experienced
researcher is able to identiIy issues and appropriate subjects; the beginning researcher, who does not have

Supra noLe 1ţ aL 3Ŧ


the experience to examine a Iact pattern and readily categorize it and Iormulate legal issues, needs to
devote more time and attention to this activity.
Inexperienced legal researchers might tend to skim over the Iacts and immediately begin
researching. o productive research can be done outside a particular Iact pattern. Most controversies are
over Iacts, not law; and cases are most oIten distinguished on their Iacts. Rules stated by courts are tied to
speciIic Iact situations, and they must be considered in relation to those Iacts. ecause the Iacts oI a legal
problem control the direction oI research, the investigation and analysis oI Iacts must be incorporated into
the research process. Taking the time to identiIy relevant Iacts and writing them down in some narrative
Iorm is usually a worthwhile investment oI time and energy.
%he %ARP Rule. A useIul technique is to analyze Iacts according to the Iollowing Iactors:
T- Thing or subject matter;
A- Cause oI action or ground oI deIense;
R- RelieI sought;
P- Persons or parties involved in the problem

Thing or subject matter. The place or property involved in a problem or controversy may be
important. Thus, when a consumer is harmed aIter taking a prescription drug, the drug becomes an
essential Iact in the dispute.
Cause oI action or ground oI deIense. IdentiIy the claim that might be asserted or the deIense that
might be made. For example, the cause oI action might involve a breach oI contract, negligence,
intentional inIliction oI emotional distress, or some other legal theory giving rise to litigation.


RelieI sought. What is the purpose oI the lawsuit? It might be a civil action in which the party
bringing the suit is seeking monetary damages Ior an injury, or an action in which a party is asking the
court to order another party to do a speciIic act or to reIrain Irom doing a speciIic act. Alternatively, the
litigation may be a criminal action brought by the state.
Persons or parties involved in the problem; their Iunctional and legal status and relationship to
each other. The parties or persons might be individuals, or might be a group that is signiIicant to the
solution oI the problem or the outcome oI the lawsuit. Similarly, the relationship between the parties, such
as exists between husband and wiIe or employer and employee, might be oI special importance.
. STE! Formulate the Legal Issues to Be Researched
This is the initial intellectual activity that presumes some knowledge oI the relevant substantive
law and, consequently, the point at which inexperienced legal researchers are most likely to have trouble.
The goal is to classiIy or categorize the problem into, Iirst general, and then increasingly speciIic, subject
areas and to begin to hypothesize legal issues. For example, is this a matter oI civil, criminal law or
administrative law? Does the litigation involve contracts or torts, or both? II torts, is it a products liability
or a negligence case? Problems are oIten not easily compartmentalized; problems can Iall into more than
one category, and categories aIIect each other.
a. et an Overview. To assist in Iormulating issues, it is useIul to consult general secondary
sources Ior an overview oI relavnt subject areas. 1hese sources can include national legal
encyclopedias, a state encyclopedia, treatises, looseleaf services or one or more subject periodicals or
journals. 1he best choice varies according to the researcher's background, bu it is wise to start with the
most general and work to the more detailed and specific.

These secondary sources can provide
valuable backgrounde sure to note any constitutional provisions, statutes, administrative regulations,
and judicial and administrative opinions cited by these sources. At this preliminary stage oI research,

Supra noLe 3


these secondary sources provide background inIormation and help Iormulate issues; they are the tools, not
the objects oI research.
Writing a clear, concise statement oI each legal issue raised by the signiIicant Iacts is an
important and diIIicult task. Failure to Irame all issues raised by a particular set oI Iacts can result in
incomplete and inadequate research. It is better, when Iraming the issues, Ior a beginner to err on the side
oI Iormulating too many issues. InsigniIicant issues can always be eliminated aIter they have been
thoroughly investigated, and overlapping issues can be consolidated.
b. Create an Outline. Once statements oI the issues have been draIted, they should be
arranged in a logical pattern to Iorm an outline. Logically related issues might be combined as sub-issues
under a broader main issue. Issues that depend upon the outcome oI other issues should be arranged
accordingly. The outline should be expanded, modiIied, and revised as research progresses. As a
particular issue is researched, it might be Iound to be too broad; the statement oI the issue should then be
narrowed. It might also be necessary at times to split an issue into two, or to divide an issue into sub-
issues. Alternatively, an original issue might be deemed too narrow and unlikely to lead to any relevant
inIormation. In such instances, the issue should be broadened. Many times, during the process oI research,
it becomes apparent that issues not originally considered are relevant. The task oI Iraming issues is, thus,
an ongoing one.
. STE! Research the Issues !resented
AIter the Iacts are analyzed and the probable issues are Iramed, it is time to begin researching the
Iirst issue.
a. Organi:e and plan. Although serendipity can play an important role in legal research,
good legal researchers, as a rule are systematic, methodical, and organized, they keep good records. Every
researcher must develop a system Ior taking and organizing notes.


For each issue, decide which sources to use, which sources not to use, and the order in which
sources should be examined, a good practice would be to write down all sources to be consulted Ior each
issue, even iI sources are repeated. As relevant inIormation is Iound, its source and relevance should be
recorded, and the legal research outline accordingly expanded. Maintaining an accurate list oI sources
consulted terms and topics checked, and updating steps taken presents ineIIicient uses oI time and
omissions oI crucial inIormation.
Frequently, it is not possible to research each issue completely beIore moving on to the next
issue. It is common to move back and Iorth between issues, revising and reIining them. As a general
practice, it is best to research each issue completely beIore moving to the next issue. The ongoing nature
oI legal research emphasizes the importance oI good note taking, record-keeping and organization.
It is oIten very tempting to include inIormation in a written product that has taken many hours to
develop, but which ultimately is irrelevant to the proper analysis oI the issues. Any number oI legal
research leads may ultimately prove to be irrelevant to a resolution oI the issues; irrelevant inIormation
detracts Irom, and oIten masks, analysis that is directly on point.
b. Identify, Read, and Update All Relevant Constitutional Provisions, $tatutes, and
Administrative Regulations. IdentiIying and reading relevant constitutional provisions, statures and
administrative regulations provides the Iramework on which the rest oI the research is built. These
primary sources can be identiIied in several ways.
O $tatutory compilations. Statutory compilations almost always include tables oI contents
and indexes listing the subjects and topics covered by the statutes. ecause relevant statutory provisions
are oIten Iound in several places in the compiled statutes, consult both the table oI contents and the index.


O Electronic Legal Research. 1he PHIL1URIS and LEXLIBRIS, two comprehensive and
competing computer-based legal research systems, provide the capability to search for cases and other
documentsby using practically any word or combination of words.

O Secondary Sources. Publications which are not primary authority but which discuss or analyze
legal doctrine are considered secondary materials. 1hese include treatises, commentaries, and
encyclopedias. Secondary materials vary widely in purpose and quality. 1hey can help analyze a
problem and provide research references to both primary and other secondary materials.

It will not always be easy to identiIy all relevant statutes at the beginning oI a research project.
Indexing problems sometimes make it to diIIicult to match concepts with indexing terms. Sometimes
issues are too vague or underdeveloped to ensure that relevant statutes are identiIied. Accordingly,
research involving relevant constitutional provisions, statutes, and administrative regulations should be
continually undertaken and issued and strategies modiIied accordingly.

Do not limit research to cases that support a particular position. A competent researcher
anticipates both sides oI an argument and identiIies cases that result in contrary conclusions. In many
situations, the same case can be interpreted to support both sides oI an issue; the argument may involve a
question oI whether the holding is to be broadly or narrowly applied, or whether the Iacts oI the cases can
be distinguished. It is common, however, Ior sides to argue that entirely diIIerent lines oI cases are

The goal, at this stage oI research, is to compile a comprehensive, chronological list oI relevant
opinions Ior each issue. ecause no two cases are exactly alike, It is unlikely Ior a researcher to Iind cases

Supra noLe 1ţ aL 4


with identical Iact patterns to the situation at hand. The most relevant judicial opinions come Irom
superior appellate courts in question, as they are the only cases that are potentially binding. ext in
importance are judicial opinions, which might be persuasive, Irom courts and jurisdictions dealing with
similar Iacts, statutes and issues. Reading cases chronologically can reveal background inIormation that is
not necessarily repeated in each case, show the development oI the case law, and point to the 'lead¨ case
that is cited in other opinions.

. STE! Update
The importance oI updating legal research warrants special attention. Law changes constantly.
Legislatures pass new statutes and modiIy old ones. Each appellate court decision creates new law,
reIines the law, reaIIirms the law or changes the law; researchers must be aware oI the most recent
decisions on the subject they are researching. Research oI the most recent decisions on the subject they
are researching. Research that is current today may be out oI date tomorrow. Few lawyers would disagree
that Iailure to update legal research can be careless and negligent, and sometimes leads to disastrous
Citation services, such as Clobalex should be used to update the status oI cases, statutes, and
regulations; electronic databases, such as LexLibris and Phil 1uris, should be consulted, as well as
pocket parts and supplements, looseleaI services, and advance sheets, to determine whether the authorities
have been interpreted or modiIied, or whether new cases, statutes, or regulations have been published.

. When to Stop
The question oI when to stop researching is a diIIicult one. With experience, researchers develop
insight into the point at which Iurther legal research is unproductive. In many instances an obvious
repetition oI citations or absence oI new inIormation suggests that enough research has been done.


However, there is no uniIorm rule on how extensive research should be, and knowing when to stop is a
skill that only develops over time.
Occasionally, researching a problem in all conceivable sources is needless, unwarranted, or
repetitious. It is possible to over-research a problem. All cases are not oI equal importance; much
inIormation is redundant. Including too much inIormation can obscure important point. Furthermore,
many simple problems do not call Ior exhaustive research. Common sense and proIessional insight play
insigniIicant roles in legal research.
In the last analysis, research skills are measured as much by the knowledge oI what can be
omitted as by which research materials are used and how they are used. The attorney`s stock in trade is
time; a skilled legal researcher how to use it wisely.



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