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The nature of Legal Writing Authority is any published source of law seting
forth rules, legal doctrine or legal reasoning that could be used as legal basis for legal

What is authority? - It consists of legal information such that to a certain degree

may influence or persuade a judicial body or officer to decide one way or the other. The
weight of the legal information is the estimation on how it would in influence decision

Kinds of Authority -

Primary or mandatory authority is binding upon the courts, like

The constitutional provisions, statutes, international conventions and treaties

Secondary authority is persuasive or optional only. IT may not be

binding upon the courts, but they contain excellent analysis and therefore
provides guidance for any court ruling. Ex. Opinions of the Secretary of
Justice or of Administrative Agencies.

What are Legal encyclopedias - they are multi-volume sets describing

systematically the entire body of law wherein expository statements on principles of law
are alphabetically arranged. There are no table of cases in the indexes.

Examples -
American Jurisprudence, 2d
Corpus Juris Secondum (C.J.S.)

Cyclopedia of Philippine Law two volumes of

Venida’s Encyclopedia of Philippine Law and Jurisprudence

Examples of Cyclopedia –

Corpus Juris Secumdum (CJS) West Pub. 1959. 101 v. & 5v.
American Jurisprudence 2d Z(AmJr. 2d) Lawyers Cop., 2965-1978 83 v.
International Encyclopedia of Comparative Laws
Encyclopedia Juridica Espanola (F Seix, ed. 1910. 30 v
Modern Legal Systems: A Cyclopedia (K. Redden v.
Halsbury’s Laws of England 2d ed. 1952 12 v.

A Hornbook is a popular reference to a series of treatises published by the West

Publication Group. It is a review of a certain field of law in summary textual form.

Practice Manual - This material provides you with a good understanding of the
procedural and substantive law as well as “hands on” instructions to file your proper case
in courts. This is a handbook that covers a specified area of practice.

Exs. - Handbook on Trial Advocacy - (USAID , 208) .

American Jurisprudence Trials, . – covers trial and court practice
American jurisprudence Proof of Facts - provides s detailed discussion of
What must be proved in virtually e very kind of civil or criminal case, It also
Contains checklists and planning guides to aid in the establishments of the
Facta in issue.
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FormsBooks - They are vital aid in drafting legal documents and include simple
instruments which are standard guides for lawyers, even law students in the legal
writing course.

Examples –
S. Guevara .. Legal forms…Annotated.. 1977
L.M. Tanada & F.A. Rodrigo, Philippine Legal Forms, 1979 2 v/
F.C. Fisher.. Philippine Legal and Business Forms 4th Ed. 1948
American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, Annotated, with pockets supplements
American Jurisprudence , Pleading and Practice Manual, with supplements

Annotations are explanations or commentaries or extensive notes based on the issues

within opinions of a court usually appended after a reprint case is compilation.

Ex. Philippine Annotated Law (P.A.L.)

U&.S. Code Annotated U.S.C.A.
U.S. Code Service U.S. C.S.

Textual - expository essays of varying lengths on significant legal topics chosen for
selected cases with essays.

Ex. Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) V.1 - 1961 to date

American Law Reports (ALR)

Note: Editors select a case in point to illustrate a principle of law that warrants
annotation and discusses all cases involving an issue and give exceptions to and
qualifications and applications of those principles.

Finding Tools - It is the lawyer’s job to ascertain the state of the law on a particularly
issue in order to be able to predict with reasonable certainty the success of a cause of
action or defense. Thus, they are faced with a problem of locating primary authorities
onm which they and the court will rely on in determining the outcome of a case .

What are these tools ?

Digest - they are indexes to reported cases, providing brief. Unconnected statements
of court holdings on points of law which are arranged y subjects

Ex. Philippine Digests, 1909 to 1945

Republic of the Philippines Digest 1946 to 1966 with supplement

Philippine Reports, 1974 to date U.P. Law Center

SCRA Digest 4v. with Annual Index Digest

American Law Reports (ALR) digests

American Digest System- divides law into 7 main classes =

Persons, property, Contracts, Torts, Crimes, Remedies or procedures

Governments. Under the last category, we taxation, political law, election laws
Administrative laws, and local governments, trade regulations.
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Legal Dictionaries collect the definition of legal terms in alphabetical order with
citations to source either from statute, decision or text.

Ex. F, Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary 2nd Ed. 1982

I.G. Khan, Jr. Everybody’s Law Dictionary of Philippine Law, 2007

M.J. Gamboa, Dictionary of International Law and Diplomacy, 1973

Ballantine:s Law Dictionary, 3rd, 1969

Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th Ed, 1979

Bouvier;s Law Dictionary 1914, 3v/

J.A.Sibal Philippine Legal Encyclopedia 1986

Encyclopedia of International Law, (Clive Parry er. Al. 3ees. 1986

Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary of Words and Places, 4th ed, 1974, 5v

Words & Places, 45v

Citators -

They are research aids which provide notational information on the status of a
particular case law or the current status of a statute. The purposes of a citator are to
give history and the treatment of a decision or statute by means of symbols. Likewise,
it can be used to find other decisions similar to or dependent upon the case under

The term “Shepardize” is defines as the process of checking of the status of cases or
statutes in the Shepard’s Citations.

Dizon’s Philippine Citations (1937)

A. Paras, Philippine citations (1965)

Philippine Citations are found in v. 11 and 13 of the Philippine Digest and v . 7 of

the Republic of the Philippine Digest and its supplement.

Shepard’s Citations or Shepardizing .

Rule 45 and Rule 65 of the Rules of Court how the 2 rules of applied by the
Supreme Court.

With liberal spirit which pervades the Rules of Court and in the interest of justice the
Court may treat a petition for certiorari as having been filed under Rule 45, more if it
was filed within the reglementary period for filing a petition for review.
(Nunez vs. GSIS Family Bank G.R. No. 163988, Nov. 17, 2005)
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However, in Talidano vs. Falcon Maritime & Allied Services, et al., the Supreme
Court gave due course to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, notwithstanding that the
proper remedy is a petition for review

“The proper remedy to assail decisions of Court of Appeals involving final

Disposition is under Rule 45. In this case, Petitioners filed their certiorari under Rules
65, but due to the merit of the petition and in the interest of justice and consideration
the underlying circumstances, is petition is given due course.”

Statutes and decisions of the Supreme Court may be reversed from time to time,
under Shardizing system, one has to research whether this concept is still applicable or
has been overruled or nullified, reversed by a new decision.

Insofar as statutes citations are concerned, the notations cover the form and operations
of the law by the legislature and the courts..


Indexes are alphabetical lists of important words and concepts covered in a book, a
set of books or reseach source that assists the researcher in locating the primary or
secondary sources:

R.B Gorospe & R..L Echiveri, Indexes to SCRA Annotations v. 1- 327,
1981-2001 (IJA,2002)

Index to Official Gazette , 1945 - 1985 2 v. Supreme Court Library Services

SCRA Quick Digest 5 v. Supplemental annully

A.L.R. Quick Indexes to 3rd, 4th 5th


Law directories lead you to information about lawyers, law firms, law schools, law
libraries courts or administrative agencies. They vary in approach and scope in giving
information about lawyers, their addresses their laws firms and the field of practice;
their contact addresses and contact numbers -
Ex. –
Supreme Court of the Philippines , Law List 2003

Mantindale – Hubbels’s Law Directory 4 v. annually

Directory of Asians Legal Scholars. P.V.

Quisumbing, M.S. Feliciano & L.A. Manguiat Comp.s 1986

West Legal Directory

AALS Directories of Law Teachers .

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Tables are supposed to be alphabetical listings of case names or statutes

with reference to the law with reference to the law reports or publications where cases
or laws can be located Another type of table is that which gives the comparative or
parallel citation to officials and unofficial case reports or compilation by statutes.


National Reporter Blue Book

C. Sison, ed. The 1987, 1873 1935 Constitution; A Comparative Table

Other Sources

Opinion of Legal Experts, Ex. Manresa, Commentaries on the Spanish Civil Law.

Other State and Foreign Sources.

NOTE: These sources could be utilized if the Philippine Law is patterned after the
said foreign law.

Ex. American Constitution - Philippine Constitution


Before using the facilities of the library, critical fact-related steps must precede
your research in law books. They are as follow:

a.. Gather the facts from the problem raised by your client’s situation and put on paper
Five (5) “Ws” and One (1) “H” for convenience.

. Who did it and to whom? Why was it done

When was it done What was done?
How was it done? Where was it done?

In Other Words:

Get to the bone of the problem - What created the controversy?

What is the subject matter? What is the Complaint about?

What is the cause of action? What is the probable line of defense?
What is the relief sought in the prayer? What is the possible counterclaim?
Who are the parties? How are they related?

After you have gathered all the facts, formulate the legal issue to be resolved.

What caused the controversy or what gives rise to the problem?

Determine the proper venue. Determine jurisdiction.
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Analyze the Fact -

In fact analysis, one focuses on five elements common to the problems. The purpose

of such analysis is the suggested points of departure in the search for legal materials

In considering element . on should concentrate on “watch words”, legal concepts or

descriptive words in the problem since these will lead .to relevant words in law books

such as digests, encyclopedia. Indexes or treatises.

For guidance use the words - TARP –

T- thing or subject matter in the controversy without which the problem could have not


A - Cause of Action or Ground of Defense. The cause of action is the claim asserted by

one person against the other while the ground of defense is the position of one as

against the other whose the claim is asserted. Identify the alleged infraction or wrong

suffered by the plaintiff or those reason in law and in fact given by the defense why

here can’t be recovery. Determine if there is a breach of contract, negligence.

R – relief or object sought in the prayers. This element involves the purpose of bringing

in the suit or presenting the claim . Determining the legal remedy in the light of the

problem presented.

P - Parties, Persons or places. This element includes the relationship of the parties and

as to whether they are members of the same family, the same social group, their

professions or what there commercial activities are. The purpose here is to determine

whether there special laws which govern their relationship. For instance if the belong to

the same family, we have to refer to the Family Code. If they are bankers, then we

have to look into banking laws or the corporation law itself. As to places, we have to

determine venue and jurisdiction. We have to consult our Rules of Court.

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In gathering facts, you should also ascertain the following early source of information.

. People - In any even that occurs, consider clients, witnesses or victims have spoken

about the case is pertinent information.

. Tangible evidence - This might be a contract, a will, a lease or a certificate of title

Or the murder weapon in case of a criminal case.

Books, periodicals and reports –depending upon the nature of the case, look for police

reports, medical records in the hospital, business reports or even scientific

information, or even weather reports, these are important.

. Expert witnesses - In technical areas, you need fingerprints expert , medico-legal,

ballistics expert as to testimonies on guns and bullets. Psychiatrists as to the mental

condition of a person.

Identification of Issues -

What are legal issues? They involve questions about how the law relates to the facts

of the case. Sometimes the issue involves only the law,i.e. “What are the elements of

the crime of rape? Sometimes they contain facts ,i.e. Is the offended party a minor? Also

in the crime of homicide and murder. One qualifying element may denominate the

offense from homicide to murder.

Arranging the Legal issues in a logical order for research –

Issues and sub-issues are ordered logically according to certain rules

Or organizing principles You place the issues in the order that the facts occurred

(chronologically) in order that they would be presented in court, like, claim - direct

testimonies, for plaintiff - defense - direct testimonies, or rebuttal for either party.

There are additional organizing principles, but all of them are premised on the theory

that you should address issues in the order that allows you to avoid redundancies

and to do the least “doubling back” your reasoning. Other issues like jurisdiction and
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statute of limitations have to be considered, otherwise this legal requirement may cause

the dismissal of the case. Also, the case may need a required Certification to File

Action in accordance with P.D. 1508. You must also be fully aware and

concerned on the filing of the proper case, and the proper relief or remedy sought in the

prayer of your complaint.

These issues are questions that legal research process will attempt to answer. It

will also increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your research.

Classifying the problem –

As research short-cut, one must also classify the problem into any of the

following major subject fields.

.Constitutional law

Criminal Law

Statutory law

Administrative law

International Law

Case Law

Procedural Law or Remedial Law

Once the subject filed is ascertained, use an authoritative or trustworthy source - a

Legal treatise, law review article or even a digest or annotation.

EVALUATING LEGAL RE SOURCES - when interpreting and evaluating legal

resources , it is important to determine and understanding the purpose the resource were

designed to serve . The identify of the author , the edition and the publisher and the

potential persuasiveness of the legal source should be considered..

Again, legal research is such an art as science. There are many approaches in

your research, but there is no single, best way to conduct it. It depends on your mode or

style. As long as you could search and find the best materials, your pursuit is achieved.
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Generate vocabulary using your factual analysis. Perhaps a dictionary or thesaurus

cab generate a list of relevant words and phrases that appear in onr or more legal

research sources.

Law Finding Technique -

To ascertain the appropriate law or case to the problem, there are four law finding

techniques in using the library..

Descriptive Word Method /Index or Fact Method -

This technique requires the use of subject o index to a book after the anlysis of the

facts in the problem using TARP rule.

Table of Contents, Topic or Analysis Method –

After classifying the problem as to what subject filed it belongs, the researcher can

go directly to particular book on the subject and scan the table the table of contents to

find where the topic appears. If you are using an encyclopedia or digest, there is a scope

note which indicates the coverage of the topic.

Known Authority, Statute or Case Method -

When the name of an applicable law or citation is known, proceed to the table of

cases found in the digest, an annotated report or compilation of statutes or some other

sources such as casebook or even textbook.

Definition Method –

This method could only be utilized when a solution to a problem depends on the

meaning of a legal or non-legal term or phrase. For this purpose one can consult the

Multi-purpose dictionary, Words and Places published by West Publishing Company.

Sometimes a statute or a case is popularly known as “Manila Bay case” or the “NIPAS

Law”.The Philippine Annotated Laws carried a Table of Popular names for earlier laws.
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There are sources such as code commentaries, treatises and legal periodical articles

wherein one can elicit background information on a specific statute.

The Spanish laws and royal decrees are contained I the Boletin Oficial and Gaceta

de Manila which can be found in the University of San Agustin Law Library in Cebu


As for sources during the U.S. Military Rule in the Philippines, issuances issued by

U.S. Military Governors, the researcher should consult the General Orders, 1900.

This was followed by the U.S. Philippine Commission, Minutes of Public Sessions fro

1901 to 1904; Executive Journal , February 1 1909-1913 which contained bills ,

resolution and committee reports. Separate volumes of Executives Orders and

Proclamation were published from 1901 to 19134. Some of these materials are still

available at the National Library and photocopies are found at the U.P. Law Center.

One c an trace the history of an article of the Civil Code or the R3vised Pena; Code

by examining the end of each provision. If the number at the end of the article in

parenthesis , it means that one has search the cited article in the Spanish Civil Code

ore Penal Code and read the appropriate commentaries.

The rationale behind the new Civil Code provision can be elicited from the Report

of the Code Commission. For discussion on the Civil Code, consult Carmelo V. Sison,

editor of the Civil Code Reader which was published by the U.P. Law Center in 2005



The Constitutional history of the Philippines has undergone several periods starting

from the Spanish era to the Filipino concept of government during the revolutionary

period and the structure of the Philippine government during the American Regime up

to 1934. By virtue of the Tydings-McDuffie Law, a constitutional convention was called .