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Jocelyn M.

Magaway
Report on Legal Research
What is Law?
a) Kinds of Law
b) Purpose of Laws
c) Sources of Law
Law, Defined
In its broadest sense, law means any rule of action or norm of conduct applicable to all kinds
of action and to all objects of creation. In this sense, it includes all laws, whether they refer to state
law, physical law, divine law and others.
In strict legal sense, law is defined as a rule of conduct, just and obligatory, laid down by
legitimate authority for common observance and benefit. (Sanchez Roman)
Classification of Law
A. Natural Law - derives its force and authority from God. It is promulgated impliedly in our
conscience and our body.
1. Physical Law/Law of Nature - universal rule of action that governs the conduct and
movement of things which are non-free and material. For example, law of gravity.
2. Natural Moral Law - Set of rules which establish what is right and what is wrong as dictated
by human conscience and as inspired by the Eternal Law.
B. Positive Law - Promulgated expressly or directly.
1. Divine Positive Law The Ten Commandments
2. Divine Human Positive Law - Commandments of the Church
3. Human Positive Law Exercise of legislative power by the lawmaking body or as delegated
by it to administrative agencies.
a. Public Law - governs the relations of the individual with the State or ruler or
community as a whole.
b. Constitutional Law - fundamental law of the land which defines the powers of the
government.
c. Administrative Law - fixes the organization and determines the competence of
administrative authorities and which regulates the methods by which the functions of
the government are performed.
d. International Law - body of rules which regulates the community of nations.
e. Private Law - regulates the relations of the members of the community with one
another.
i. Substantive private law - those rules which declare legal relations of
litigants when the courts have been properly moved to action upon facts
duly presented to them. (24 Words and Phrases, 337)
ii. Procedural or adjective private law - refers to the means and methods of
setting the courts in motion, making the fact known to them and
effectuating their judgments.

Purpose of Laws
Laws serve as guides of an individual in relation to his fellowmen and to his community in order to
obtain stability of the social order.
As guides for human conduct, law "should run as golden thread through society, to the end that law
may approach its supreme ideal which is the sway and dominance of justice.
Sources of Laws
A.
B.
C.
D.

Constitution
Statutory enactments
Administrative and executive acts, orders and regulations
Judicial decisions - Under Article 8 of the Civil Code, judicial decisions applying or
interpreting the laws or the constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.
Judicial decisions are not laws, but they are evidence of the meaning and interpretations of the
laws. Only decisions of the Supreme Court establish jurisprudence and are binding on all other
courts. In relation to Article 8 of the Civil Code, the Supreme Court decisions assume the same
authority as the statutes to which they apply or interpret and until authoritatively abandoned,
necessarily become, to the extent the extent that they are applicable, the criteria which must
control the actuations not only of those allied upon to abide thereby but also of those
duty-bound to enforce obedience thereto.
E. Customs when proven and not contrary to law, public order or public policy
Requisites:
1. Under Article 12 of the Civil Code, a custom must be proved as a fact according to the rules
of evidence;
2. Under Article 11 of the Civil Code, the custom must not be contrary to law;
3. There must be a number of repeated acts and these repeated acts must have been uniformly
performed;
4. There must be a judicial intention to make a rule of social conduct; and
5. A custom must be acknowledged and approved by society through long and uninterrupted
usage.
F. General principles of law: role of equity - Under the 1889 Civil Code, the Courts have been
mandated to apply, in the absence of statutes and customs, the general principles of law.
General principles of law after all are deduced from positive law (and in this sense, become
mere applications of positive law) or by natural law or right. In this regard, Article 10 of the
Civil Code expresses that "in case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is
presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. Aptly then, the real
office of equity is to correct the deficiency of, and to supplement, positive law out of necessity;
for the courts may not "decline to render judgment by reason of silence, obscurity, or
insufficiency of the laws. (Article 9 of the Civil Code).