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Intro to Law


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ADVOCATE : One who assists, defends or pleads for another. One who renders legal advice and aid, and pleads the cause of

another before a court or a tribunal; a counselor. A person learned in the law and duly admitted to practice, who assists his client with advice, and pleads for him in open court. An assistant; adviser, a pleader of causes (Black‘s Law Dictionary, 6th

Ed., 1990, 55)

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW : A person admitted to practice law in his respective state and authorized to perform both civil and

criminal legal functions for clients, including drafting of legal documents, giving legal advice, and representing such before courts, administrative agencies, boards, etc. (Id., 128)

That class or persons who are, by license, officers of the courts, empowered to appear, prosecute and defend, and upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are developed by law as a consequence. (Philippine Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed., (1988), 82, citing Cui v. Cui, 120 Phil 729)

ATTORNEY-IN-FACT : A private attorney authorized by another to act in his place and stead, either for some particular

purpose, as to do a particular action, or for the transaction of business in general, not necessarily of legal character. This authority is conferred by an instrument in writing, called a ―letter of attorney,‖ or more commonly a ―power of attorney‖ (Black‘s Law Dictionary, supra., 129)

CONCURRING OPINION : A separate opinion delivered by one or more judges which agrees with the decision of the

majority of the court but offering own reasons for reaching that decision. (Id., 291)

COUNSEL (OR COUNSELOR) : An attorney; lawyer. A member of the legal profession who gives legal advice and handles

the legal affairs of a client, including if necessary, appearing on his or her behalf, in civil, criminal, or administrative actions and proceedings. (Id., 348)

DISSENTING OPINION : A mere expression of the individual view of the dissenting justice from the conclusion held by the

majority of the court. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., 279, citing Garcia v. Perez, 99 SCRA 635)

EASEMENT : An encumbrance imposed upon an immovable for the benefit of another immovable property belonging to a

different owner (Civil Code, Art. 613)

A liberty, privilege, or advantage without profit which the owner of one parcel of land may have in the land of another. A service which one estate owes to another. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., 302)

A right or privilege in the (estate of an individual) for the advantage or convenience of the owner of another estate. Essentially, a burden, a charge upon the servient estate. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Gurtiza v. Castro, 13 June 1985 and Ereneta v. Mascunana, 23 April, 1963)

INTERLOCUTORY ORDER : An order is interlocutory when it does not terminate or finally dispose of the case, because it

leaves something to be done by the court before the case is finally decided on the merits. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra.,

citing People v. Hewald, 105 SCRA 1297)

An order made by to secure some end and purpose necessary and essential to the progress of the suit and generally collateral to the issues formed by the pleadings and not connected with the final judgment (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Rodriguez v. Vera, 2 October, 1974)



One that is provisional and leaves substantial proceeding to be had in connection with its subject in court by whom it was issued. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Bairan v. Tan Siu Lay, 28 December, 1966)

An order is considered interlocutory if it does not dispose of the case but leaves something else to be done by the trial court on the merits of the case. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, citing De Guia v. Constantino, 10 February, 1981)

One which does not, of itself, definitely settle or conclude any of the rights of the parties to the action (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Dais v. Garduno, 49 Phil 168)

One which is a determination on some incident or collateral matter that does not dispose of the merits of a controversy (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Sison v. Ocba, 7 March, 1986)

JUDICIAL POWER : Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights

which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. (Philippine Constitution, Art. 8, Sec. 1)

The authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violation of such rights. (Lopez v. Roxas, 17 SCRA 756)

LANDMARK DECISION : A decision of the Supreme Court that significantly changes existing law. (Black‘s Law Dictionary,

supra., 879)

LAW : A large body of rules and regulations, based mainly on general principles of justice, fair play and convenience, which

have been worked out and promulgated by governmental bodies to regulate human activities and define what is and what is not permissible conduct in various situations. (Kinyon, How to Study Law)

The term ―law‖ is also used in a much broader sense to denote the whole process by which organized society—through governmental bodies and personnel (legislative, courts, administrative tribunals, law-enforcement agencies and officers, penal and corrective institutions, etc.)—attempts to establish and maintain peaceful and orderly relations between the people in that society. (Id.)

Law is classified into (a) Natural Law – which derives its force and authority from God and (b) Positive Law – rule of action freely established and promulgated by a competent authority for the benefit of the common good. (Id.)

The sources of law are (a) legislation, (b) Supreme Court decisions or judicial precedents, and (c) customs (Id.)

LAW OF THE CASE : A legal principle that when an appellate court has once declared the law in a case, such declaration

continues to be the law of that case even on a subsequent appeal. The rule made by an appellate court, while it may be reversed in other cases, cannot be departed from in subsequent proceedings in the same case.

The general rule is that legal conclusions announced on a first appeal, whether on the general law or the law as applied to the concrete facts, not only prescribed the duty and limit the power of the trial court to strict obedience and conformity thereto, but they become and remain the law of the case in all after steps below or above on subsequent appeal. The rule is grounded on convenience, experience and reason. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Zarate v. Director of Lands, 39 Phil 749)

Law of the case has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. More specifically, it means that whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule of decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the courts. (21 CJS. 330)



LAWYER : A person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel, or solicitor; a person licensed to practice law. Any person who

prosecutes or defends causes in courts of record or other judicial tribunal, or whose business it is to give legal advice or assistance in relation to any cause or matter whatever. (Black‘s Law Dictionary, supra., 888)

LEADING CASE : Among the various cases that are argued and determined in the courts, some, from their important character

have demanded more than usual attention from the judges, and from this circumstance are frequently looked upon as having settled or determined the law upon all point involved in such cases, and as guides for subsequent decisions, and from the importance they thus acquire, are termed ―leading cases.‖ (Id.)

A case, the decision of which establishes a principle. (Oxford Law Dictionary)

MUTATIS MUTANDIS : After making the necessary changes (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., 613, citing US v. Ponte, 20

Phil 384)

OBITER DICTUM : A statement made in passing; a rule issued on a point not necessarily involved in the case (Philippine Law

Dictionary, supra., 643, citing Montano v. Insular Government, 12 Phil 588)

A remark made, or opinion expressed, by a judge, in his decision upon a cause, ―by the way,‖ that is, incidentally or collaterally and not directly upon the question before him, or upon a point not necessarily involved in the determination of the cause, or introduced by way of illustration, or analogy or argument. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Morales v. Paredes, 55 Phil 565)

An opinion uttered by the way, not upon the point or question pending, as if turning aside from the main topic of the case to collateral subjects.

The opinion of the court upon any point or principle which it is not required to decide.

An opinion of the court which does not embody its determination and is made without argument or full consideration of the point, and is not the professed deliberate determination of the judge himself. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., 643-644, citing People v. Macadaeg, 91 Phil 413)

An opinion expressed by the court upon some question of law, which is not necessary to the decision of the case before it. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., 44, citing Auyong Hian v. Court of Tax Appeals, 59 SCRA 120)

A [personal opinion of a judge] on a collateral question uttered by the way. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Gallegos v. Philippine Racing Club, 25 July, 1980)

A mere incidental expression of the views of the court. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Jandug v. Cloribel, 54 OG 700)

A dictum which generally is not binding as authority or precedent within the stare decisis rule may be followed if sufficiently persuasive (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Lee v. Court of Appeals, 68 SCRA 204)

RATIO DECIDENDI1 : The ground or reason of the decision. The point in a case which determines the judgment (Black‘s Law

Dictionary, supra., 1262, citing Morales v. Paredes, 55 Phil 565)

The reasoning or principle upon which a case is based. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., 787, citing US v. Pico, 18 Phil 390)


A clarification should be made at this point. A distinction exists between ―ratio decidendi‖ and ―judgment‖ in that the latter pronounces the disposition of the case, while the former provides the basic reason for such determination. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Republic v. Cuevas, 11 November, 1975



RES JUDICATA2 : A rule that as between the parties to the first judgment and their privies, it operates as a bar to a second

litigation but also as to all matters which might have been litigated therein, whereas in an action between then upon a different cause it is a bar only as to matters actually litigated. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, 821, citing Palanca Tanguinlay v. Quiros, 10 Phil. 262)

A doctrine which precludes parties from re-litigating issues actually litigated and determined by prior and final judgment. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, 821-22)

In its broad concept, the rule means that when a court of competent jurisdiction has determined, on its merits, a litigated c ause, the judgment entered, until reversed, is, forever and under all circumstances, final and conclusive as between the parties to the suit and their privies, in respect to every fact which might properly be considered in reaching a judicial determination of the controversy, and in respect to all points of law there adjudged as those points relate directly to the cause of action in litigation and affect the fund or other subject matter then before the court. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, 822, citing Viray v. Marinas, 49 SCRA 50)

The requisites for a judgment to be in res judicata are—

(1) The judgment must be final and executory and not merely interlocutory;

(2) The judgment must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties and nature of the suit;

(3) The judgment must be on the merits, or at least have the effect of an adjudication on the merits; and

(4) There must be between the first and second actions, identity of parties, of subject matter, or causes of action, or, in certain cases, reliefs prayed for.

It is not necessary that there is be absolute identity, it being sufficient that there is substantial identity of parties. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, 823, citing De Guia v. Espiritu, 28 January, 1980)

STARE DECISIS : The doctrine that, when the court has once laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of

facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same, regardless of whether the parties and property are the same. (Black‘s Law Dictionary, supra, 1406, citing Horne v. Moody, Tex. Civ. App., 146 S.W. 2d. 505; Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, 902, citing Government v. Jalandoni, 44 OG 1840)

State decisis simply declares that, for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those which

follow, if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, citing Prudential Bank and Trust Co. v. International Asian Co., 6 August, 1974)

STARE DECISIS ET NON QUIETA MOVERE : Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled. (Philippine Law

Dictionary, supra, citing Santiago v. Valenzuela, 78 Phil. 410)

Follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been settled. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra, citing J.M. Tuason and Co. v. Mariano, 85 SCRA 647)


At this juncture, it should be noted that ―Law of the Case‖ does not have the finality of the doctrine of ― Res Judicata‖ and applies only to the one case, whereas res judicata forecloses parties or privies in one case by what has been done in another case.

A further distinction is that the doctrine of the law of the case is akin to that of former adjudication, but is more limited in its application. It relates entirely to questions of law, and is confined in its operation to subsequent proceedings in the same case. The doctrine of res judicata differs therefrom in that it is applicable to the conclusive determination of issues of fact, although it may include questions of law, and although it may apply to collateral proceedings in the same action or general proceeding, it is generally concerned with the effect of an adjudication in a wholly independent proceeding. (Philippine Law Dictionary, supra., citing Comilang v. Court of Appeals, 65 SCRA 79)






Judicial Power in the Philippines: Its Governance, Structure and Independence

A. The Judiciary:

1. Courts during Spanish Regime

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippines, there existed a baranggay system, ruled by chieftains who exercised all powers of governance, including legislative, executive and judicial.

With the arrival of the Spanish, a central government was established with Legazpi as the first Governor. Empowered by Royal Order of August 14, 1569, he administered civil and criminal justice, and heard and decided any suit, civil or criminal in the region.

On 5 May, 1583, The REAL AUDENCIA was established as a dependency of Mexico. There was a President, 4 Oidores (justices), a fiscal, an Aguacil Mayor, and a Teniente de Gran Canciller, with the First President being Governor Santiago de Vera. The first session took place on 10 June, 1584. During these days, the executive and the judicial powers are one, with the Governor-General, also the ex-oficio President of the Court, the Alcalde Mayor and Gobernadorcillo as Court of First Instance Judge and Municipal Magistrate, respectively.

During the 2nd half of the 19th century, the Real Audencia was placed under the Consejo de Indios in Spain, which held appellate jurisdiction over administrative matters and civil appeals more than 6,000 pesos but not criminal cases. It is also during this time that there occurred first a separation of executive and judicial powers, inspired by Montesquie‘s De l‘esprit des loix (The Spirit of the Laws). The Consejo was abolished March 1834 and its jurisdiction assumed by Tribunal Supremo de Espana e Indias.

In 1815, the Governor-General was replaced by a Chief Justice, and 7 Oidores. On 4 July, 1861the Real Audiencia was no longer advisory board of the Governor-General, and functioned solely for the administration of justice. Audiencia Territorial de Manila was divided into a Sala dela Civil and a Sala dela Criminal. Also, two other audiencias was established in Vigan and Cebu, respectively. These other audiencias had one Chief Justice and two associate justices, they held appellate jurisdiction over civil but not criminal cases. Aside from this, there existed special courts which includes, (1) ECCLESIASTICAL COURTS, which held jurisdiction over priests, canonical laws, marriage and divorce, (2) TRIBUNAL DE CONSULADO, which was directly under the Tribunal de Alzadas and held jurisdiction over mercantile and commercial obligations and contracts, (3) MILITARY COURTS, and (4) CHINESE COURTS.

2. Courts under American Sovereignty

On 13 August, 1898, a military government was established under Maj. Gen. Wesley Merrit, by the powers of the President of the United States as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. They maintained the civil powers of the Real Audencia, but the criminal cases were handled by the Military Courts. On 30 January, 1899, civil jurisdiction was suspended as well.

On 29 May 1899, M/Gen. Otis issued Gen. Order 20, which established the Audencia Territorial insofar as compatible with the sovereignty of the United States, restoring both its criminal and civil functions. Cayetano Arellano was the first Chief Justice. On 11 June, 1901, by virtue of Act No. 136, the Audencia was finally abolished and in its place was established the Supreme Court, with one Chief Justice and 6 Associate Justices, holding practically the same jurisdiction as the Real Audencia. This Act was finally affirmed by the Act of 01 July, 1902, otherwise known as the Philippine Bill.



In 1917, with the enactment of the Administrative Code, the judiciary was reorganized with the Supreme Court over the Courts of First Instance (Courts of Superior Jurisdiction) and over the Peace Courts. There was one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices.

On 29 August, 1916, the Jones Law or the Philippine Autonomy Act, the US Supreme Court held appellate jurisdiction over the Philippine Supreme Court on matters involving constitutionality of any statutes, treaties, titles, and rights and privileges of US citizens, plus claims of over $25,000.

The Tydings-Mcduffie Law of 24 March, 1934 espoused that the Philippine would have its‘ own Constitution, a convention being called for that purpose. On 14 May, 1935, the Commonwealth Constitution was drafter with the Supreme Court established with one Chief Justice and 10 Associate Justices. On 31 December of that same year, the Court of Appeals was established as the 2nd highest court of the land, composed of 11 members, (15 in the late 30‘s, 17 in 1942, and 69 presently, though not filled up)

3. Courts during Japanese Occupation

During the Pacific War, Japan dominated the Philippines, and there really wasn‘t much change with the Judiciary in this instance, only there were 5 members of the Supreme Court, one Chief Justice and four Associate Justices. This Supreme Court first held session on 17 February 1942. The members were later increased to seven. The Court of Appeals first held session 6 February 1942, and the Courts of First Instance, on 23 February 1942.

4. Courts under the Independent Republic

In 1948, the Judiciary Act of 1948 was enacted. With 11 members of the Supreme Court, sitting only en banc, the Court of Appeals had 15 members which may sit in 5 divisions, then the Peace Courts was designated as Municipal Courts. There was also established a Criminal Circuit Court by virtue of RA5179 enacted on 8 September 1967.

5. Courts under Martial Law

The Supreme Court membership was again increased to 15, and the proclamation of Martial Law vested the Supreme Court with administrative supervision over all inferior tribunals.

On August 1980, BP129, otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 altered the name of the Court of Appeals into the Intermediate Appellate Court and Courts of First Instance to Regional Trial Courts. Metropolitan Trial Courts were established in metropolitan areas, as well as Metropolitan Trial Courts in Cities in cities not inside a metropolitan area.

6. Under the Freedom Constitution and Beyond

On 28 February 1986, the Court of Appeals was reinstated. During this time, the present concept of judicial power was concocted. The concept of judicial review over governmental acts was unheard of before this time. Now, the second sentence of judicial power as provided in the Art. 8, Sec. 1 of the Constitution is one of the most important in the present Constitution.

7. Special Courts and Administrative Tribunals or Quasi-Judicial Agencies

Quasi-judicial agencies are administrative agencies vested with limited adjudicatory power. Such includes Shari‘a Courts— exercising limited jurisdiction over cases involving the Muslim Code of Personal Laws.

(The present Integrated Judicial System can be viewed on Page 13 of the Article.)



1. Laws of Spain: Made Applicable to the Philippines

―Only those which came to have effect to the country, which were extended by royal decree‖. The chief codes and laws made effective here in the Philippines included the Ley Provisional, Codes of Criminal and Civil Procedure (1888), the Penal Code, Family Law, Marriage Law.

Laws of limited application made effective here, included the mining law, and the notarial law, among others.

2. Effect of American Sovereignty.

―The Spanish statute law was by the change of sovereignty, severed from Spanish jurisprudence and made effective in this jurisdiction to the same extent as if Congress had enacted new laws for the Philippines modeled upon those same Spanish statutes.‖

All political laws were abrogated immediately, because of the change of sovereignty. All other laws, customs, and rights of property incompatible with the American system were superseded.

During the time of Spanish occupation, at least from 1888 onwards, the Ley de Enjuciamiento Criminal and Ley de Enjuciamiento Civil were controlling as to the procedure of how the actions occurred in court. Prior to this, there was not a ―systematic legal compilation‖ of procedural laws, but only judicial decrees of the Real Audiencia, among others, that were controlling.

In April 1900, General Orders 85, the Criminal Code of Procedure, modified or repealed the Ley de Enjudiciamiento Criminal. In September 1901, Act No. 190 also known as the Code of Civil Procedure superseded the Ley de Enjudiciamiento Civil. This shift altogether changed the former inquisitorial mode of litigation, to the present adversarial mode of litigation.

The Philippine Autonomy Act or Jones Law of 1916 otherwise respected the Judicial System already running in the Philippines. However, it is important to note that this law allowed the appeal on any decision of the Philippine Supreme Court to the Federal Supreme Court of the United States.

In July 1940, the Rules of Court was made effective. It superseded both Codes of Criminal and Civil Procedure already existing. It culled much of its content from both Codes that it superseded plus that of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Decisions of the Supreme Court among others.

3. The Independent Republic

On January 1964, the new Rules of Court took effect. The revision included provisions from the New Civil Code of 1950, and took into consideration as well, proposals from various quarters as well as jurisprudence. From then on, the Rules of Court has been revised numerous times including the 1997 revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

C. The Judicial System (will be discussed in Constitutional Law I)


For the world court to be able to apply any asserted rule of international law, it must be shown that it is the product of the of the three law-creating processes, otherwise known as the direct or formal sources of international law. These are (1) treaties and conventions, (2) customs, and (3) general principles of law. The secondary or indirect sources of international law are (1) decisions of courts, and (2) writings of publicists. These are discussed in detail below:



The power of the Court to decide a case ex aequeo et bono, that is to say, to ignore rules which are the product of any of the above three primary sources and to substitute itself as a law-creating agency depends on the agreement of the parties to a dispute. A formal source is that from which a rule of law derives its force and validity. The material sources, on the other hand, are those from which it derived the matter, not the validity of the law. The material source supplies the substance of the rule to which the formal source gives the force and nature of law.

1. Custom

A custom is defined as a practice, which has grown up between States and has come to be accepted as binding by the mere fact of persistent usage over a long period of time. An example is the practice of granting immunities to foreign heads or States. One of the defects of customary international law is the difficulty of determining when a practice can be considered to have heartened into custom and thus acquired obligatory character. Another problem is its inability owing to its slow process of evolution to adjust swiftly to moving developments.

COLOMBIA v. PERU ICJ Reports, 1950, p. 266

FACTS: Haya dela Torre, a Peruvian, staged among with others, an unsuccessful rebellion in Peru in 1948 and was ordered

arrested. De la Torre was granted asylum by Colombia. Peru refuses to permit de la Torre out of the country. Colombia, therefore institutes present action.


RULING: NO. The party, which relies on a custom, must prove that this custom is established in such a manner as it is binding

upon the other party. In this case, Colombia fails to prove that qualification for asylum can be had unilaterally and even if such was proven, Colombia may not invoke the custom between Latin-American States as binding since Peru has refused to sign the Montevideo Conventions of 1933 and 1939 which defined the qualification of the offense in diplomatic asylum.


FACTS: Denmark and the Netherlands both propose ―the Equidistance-Special Circumstances Principle‖, while Germany

proposes ―the Doctrine of the Just and Equitable Share.‖ Germany argues that using the principle proposed by both Denmark and the Netherlands would result to a smaller share for the State in between the two States, in this case, Germany.


RULING: Before a conventional rule can be considered to have become a general of international law, it might be that, even

without the passage of any considerable period of time, a very widespread and representative participation in the convention might suffice of itself, provided it included that of States whose interests were specially affected. The Geneva Convention to which both believe to have settled the issue was deemed not to have settled the issue because the Convention on the Continental Shelf of the Geneva Convention was never ratified, although practiced by the affected States. Therefore, the World Court, in this instance, decided to rule not on which principle should be used, but instead came up with its own principle to guide the issue at hand. It was held that:

(1) ―Delimitation is to be effected by agreement in accordance with equitable principles, and taking account of all the relevant circumstances, in such a way as to leave as much as possible to each Party all those parts of the continental shelf x x‖

(2) ―If in the application of the preceding sub-paragraph, the delimitation leaves to the Parties areas that overlap, these are to be divided between them in agreed proportions x x‖



Dissent of Judge Lachs: The equidistance rule, have been accepted not only by those States which are parties to the Convention

on the Continental Shelf, but also by those which subsequently followed it in agreements, or in their legislation, or have acquiesced in it when faced with legislative acts of other States affecting them. This can be viewed as evidence of a practice widespread enough to satisfy the criteria for a general rule of law.

Dissent of Judge Sorensen: The court does not seem to have laid down strict requirements as to the duration of the usage or

practice which may be accepted as law. In particular, it does not seem to have drawn any conclusion in this respect from the ordinary meaning of the word ―custom‖ when used in other contexts. [I believe] as a result of a continuous process over a quarter of a century, the rules embodied in the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf have now attained the status of generally accepted rules of international law.

2. Treaties

Not all treaties can be considered a direct source of international law. A treaty, to be considered a direct source of international law, must be concluded by a sizable number of States. Even if originally agreed upon only by a few States, the treaty may become binding upon the whole world if it is intended to lay down rules for observance by all and it is subsequently signed or acceded to by other States.

Treaties are more of contractual obligations rather than a source of law. The Constitution provides that Congress should ratify treaties before it can actually become law. This just means that a treaty is already a contractual obligation, but not a law, until it has been ratified. In essence, the treaty may lead to a law, but is actually not yet a law.

3. General Principles of Law

The general principles of law are mostly derived from the law of nature and are observed by the majority of States because they are believed to be good and just. Although no international convention was necessary to bring them into existence, the general principles of law have nevertheless become universal in application because of the unilateral decision of a considerable number of States to adopt and observe them in recognition of their intrinsic merit.

NETHERLANDS v. BELGIUM PCIJ Reports, Series A/B, No. 70, pp. 76-77

The Netherlands claimed that Belgium had infringed a treaty obligation by building canals that altered the flow of water in the River Meuse.

RULING: Hudson. He who seeks equity must do equity. The Netherlands lost the right to bring its claim because of similar

earlier conduct on its part.

4. Decisions of Courts

The doctrine of stare decisis is not applicable in international law, and so the decision of a court in one case will have only persuasive value in the decision of a subsequent case. The decision of the Court has no binding force between the parties and in respect to that particular case.

5. Writings of Publicists

It must be a fair and unbiased representation of international law, and by an acknowledged authority in the field.

6. Discussion on Soft Law

―Soft Law‖ consists of written instruments that spell out rules of conduct that are not intended to be legally binding, so that they are not subject to the law of treaties and do not generate them to become a custom.




I. How to Study Law A. Tools of the Profession

The student needs certain ―tools‖ in order to survive in law school. Books, both casebooks and textbooks, comprise him primary tools. The student will also need writing materials in going about his trade. The student is also advised to get his own law dictionary. The author notes that law students usually have difficulty in comprehending legal terms. This is because Law has virtually built a language on its own.

It would also be helpful to the student if he acquaints himself with the other law books found in the library. This way, he will not have to go through all of them when the need arises.

B. Object of Law Study

Law is a large body of rules and regulations, based mainly on general principles of justice, fair play and convenience, which have been worked out and promulgated by governmental bodies to regulate human activities and define what is and what is not permissible conduct in various situations.

The term ―law‖ is also used in a much broader sense to denote the whole process by which organized society, through governmental bodies and personnel attempts to apply these rules and regulations and thereby establish and maintain peaceful and orderly relations between the people in that society.

The study of law should be viewed within the context of the legal system as a whole. Studying law is not just about learning—or memorizing—legal rules and court cases. The student must learn how to take a particular problem or controversy, accurately classify it as it would be classified by a legal tribunal, discover and apply to it the rules and principles generally applied to controversies in that class, and, so far as possible, draw the same conclusions and arrive at the same solution as the legal tribunal would. The student—theoretically, at least—will be able not only to handle his own affairs but also to advise others as regards the problems that they face everyday.

C. Studying under the “Case Method” or “Case System”

The ―Case System‖ is based on the idea that the best way to study law is to study the actual court decision in various types of cases and to derive from them, by inductive reasoning, an understanding of the main files of classification in the law and th e general rules and principles applicable in those fields.

―Cases‖ are published reports of controversies, which have come before the courts, including the court‘s decision and its reasons for its decision. These reports usually deal with the decisions and opinions of appellate courts. Trial courts decisions are not ordinarily recorded in printed volumes of public distribution.

―Casebooks‖ are made up principally are made up principally of selected cases taken from these reports and arranged according to the type of controversy or subject matter in the case.

D. Reading Cases

In reading cases, the student should first know what to look for. This is achieved by knowing the basic parts of a case, which are the following: (1) a brief statement of the kind of controversy involved. This is usually accompanied by an explanation of how the case got to this particular court; whether it started there, or, it is a matter on appeal—as it usually is—how and why it happened to get there whether plaintiff or defendant appealed, and just to what action of the lower court the appealing is



objecting; (2) a statement of the facts of the controversy—who the parties were, what they did, what happened to them, who brought the action and what he wanted; (3) a statement of the question or questions the court is called upon to decide—the various ―issues‖ (either of law or fact) which must be settled before a decision on the controversy can be reached; (4) the arguments on the issues—a discussion of the pros and cons; and (5) the general conclusion and, ultimately, the court‘s decision. The student is expected to read the cases systematically so as to be able to have an intelligent grasp of the case. The follo wing steps will be helpful in facilitating the reading process: (1) get a clear picture of the controversy involved—get all the facts and issues straight; (2) analyze them; (3) read the court‘s conclusions and the arguments behind them; (4) jot down or mark important points that might be encountered; and (5) study the notes the author or annotator has appended to the case (if there are any).

E. “Briefing Cases”

―Briefing‖ a case simply means making a brief summary or abstract of the case in the student‘s own words. Briefing cases serves two purposes. First, and most important, it makes the student read the case more thoroughly and carefully. Second, it gives the student a permanent condensed written record of each case.

There are three (3) cardinal rules in making good briefs. First, one should not try to brief the case as it is read through the first time. Second, the brief should be written in the student‘s own words. Third, the brief should be organized and concise, without sacrificing substance.

As far as this third rule is concerned, a good logical order for a brief is as follows: FACTS—ISSUES—DECISION— REASONS.

F. Classwork—Taking Notes

Some points that the student should remember in taking notes: First, do not try to write down everything that is said in class. Second, if a case is being discussed, write down its name and then stop and listen to what is being said about it. Third, when the discussion has proceeded to a point where a conclusion has been reached or a rule developed, get it clearly in mind and then write a concise, accurate statement of it. Fourth, when going from one problem to the next, indicate the transition, if possible.

G. Review

1. “Day-to-day” Review

The object and purpose of day-to-day review is quite apparent from its name. It is primarily a device for ―nailing down‖ or clinching the material being studies as the student goes along. One good tip is that the student should review each course just before he reads the next day‘s assignment in that course.

2. “Periodic” Review

The object and purpose of periodic review is to get a broad mental picture of the main divisions in each course and, ultimately, of the whole course and the whole field of law.

H. Outline

An outline gives the student a tangible picture of the organization of the course. It also compels the student to do the reviewing more thoroughly, carefully and systematically.



A. Historical Background

The introduction of the case method came with the publication in 1871 by Dean Christopher Langdell of his casebook on contracts. He asserted that law was a science, the materials of which were the cases. He wanted to make legal education ―more realistic and less abstract.‖ Thus, the study of different particular cases which, more or less, depict the actual scenario to be tackled by the lawyers-to-be.

B. Justification

The case method of instruction serves as training for the student as regards the development of his critical faculties. This method puts emphasis on analysis and reasoning rather than on a ―correct‖ conclusion.

C. Conduct of Classes

The student is asked to state the facts and holdings of the case or cases assigned by the professor. This serves two (2) purposes: (1) to provide a common basis for class discussion—the case itself and (2) to expose the student to a critique of his accuracy and understanding in reporting the case. In conduct of classes employing the case method, hypothetical cases are posed by the professor, calculated to test the scope of the rule that the student has derived from his study of the opinion.

D. Reviewing

Reviewing gives the student a much more comprehensive and systematized vision of the course.


Quinovit neque id quod sentit exprimit perinde est ac sinesciret

He who knows but cannot express what he knows is as if he were ignorant.

The perennial problem faced by legal educators is the inability of law students to use the English language—both the spoken and written word—properly and effectively.

1. The Law School’s Burden

The law school has the burden of addressing this handicap by setting up courses dealing with the rudiments of the English language within the required law school curriculum. Language is a lawyer‘s principle stock in trade, one can only learn from ideas and he can only deal with them through the medium of language. The burden exists because of a language deficiency barrier.

2. Areas in Need of More Effective Communication Training

A lawyer is a ―professional in versatility‖. The importance of a lawyer is to express himself clearly and cogently, both orally and in writing. The penultimate and ultimate end of all law is the quest and attainment of justice—human justices.

Human justice oftentimes has a penumbral and elusive quality. There may be additional hidden elements working beneath the surface of a factual situation not entirely exposed to ordinary probing and humanly infinite powers of discernment. We may be able to sense these unknown elements intuitively, but we are unable to express them due to the lack of language mastery in it s broadest sense. Due to this inability, the goal we seek is not attained.

Greater emphasis on expanded language techniques and mastery in the following areas of legal communication:



a. Interviewing

This area is important because of the fact that a case begins when it is brought into a lawyer‘s office and the lawyer has to make the initial decision of what to do about it and how to prod the inert wheels of justice into movement. When the case has found that way into the office ―there is less sterile pedantry, an act of making a tedious show of dull learning, about what is or is not the law and a more serious quest for whatever can aid the lawyer to cope with his problems.‖ The inadequacies in the lawyer‘s grasp of the language may invite failure in his duty to represent his client competently. The direct or subtle nuances of the inter view can well make or break its final outcome.

The failure of a lawyer to competently represent his client is often due to: (a) dulled linguistic habits, (b) inadequate command, and (c) unskilled use of language in relation to the problem at hand. Language habits have too much dulled our living potentials, have blocked our awareness too much of what we are and what we are about. Conducting a skillful interview involves both the psychological and neuro-psychiatric aspects, or the conscious and unconscious respectively, of the psyche.

b. Counseling

The lawyer may be viewed as an omniscient, all-knowing and infinitely wise adviser of human beings concerning their multifarious every day social and economic problems. The problems that lawyers encounter as counselors-at-law are primarily problems not of law but of human relations.

Being an effective counselor involves (a) solid grounding in the law, (b) a psychological insight, and most importantly, (c) a mastery of language and techniques to assure the merging and proper application of law and insight to the problem at hand. Words are the indispensable tools of the lawyer‘s craft.

Judge Vanderbilt enumerates the elements of the basic ingredients always present in the work of the counselor and advocate: (a) assembling and marshaling or facts, (b) application thereto of the principles of law dealing with human nature in a wide variety, giving consideration to the economic, political, and social environment of each transaction coming up for consideration, (c) reasoning back and forth with respect to all four of these types of material, and (d) use of understandable and convincing English, both oral and written.

c. Advocacy

The primary task of the advocate is to persuade the court of tribunal to his view of the law and the facts of his client‘s cause. The adversary system of jurisprudence purports that (a) it is the duty of the lawyer as advocate to convince the court of the justice and fairness which preponderate in his client‘s favor, (b) he must induce the court to believe something so that it will act in accordance to with he believes, and (c) he must influence by argument, advice, entreaty and expostulation.

The function of an advocate is not to ascertain the truth, but to present from one side of the case all that be usefully and properly said in order, that when compared with what is presented from the other side of the case, the tribunal may distinguish from what side the truth really lies.

The facile and persuasive command of English is where the advocacy will likely be successful.

d. Negotiation

Like advocacy, negotiation requires persuasion, possibly in a gentle and more delicate form. A firm grasp of the language provides the arsenal needed.

The process of adjustment of existing differences, with a view to the establishment of a mutually more desirable legal relation by means of barter and compromise of legal rights and duties of economic, psychological, social and other interests.



This, therefore, involves personal skills and insights as well as, personal behavior in terms of poise, assurance and mobility, and that these must be conveyed by the proper voice and manner.

e. Drafting

Drafting is the most important and major part of a lawyer‘s professional activity. One appellate court said that ―the greater, more responsible and delicate part of a lawyer‘s work is in drafting of instruments, creating trusts, formulating contracts and drawing wills and negotiations. All require legal knowledge and power of adaptation of the highest order.

Legal draftsmanship is basically concerned with words and/or language technique. In drafting documents, one needs to state the facts accurately and communicate ideas precisely.

In conclusion, language should be taught with equal parity with the other legal subjects in law school.


CARINO V. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, ET. AL. G.R. NO. 96681. DECEMBER 2, 1991 FACTS: Some 800 public school teachers went on ―mass concerted actions‖ to highlight their plight resulting from the alleged

failure of public authorities (DECS) to act upon grievances which had been repeatedly brought to its attention. The Education Secretary issued an order directing them to return to work within 24 hours or face dismissal, and directing DECS off icials to initiate dismissal proceedings against those who did not comply and to hire their replacements. The mass actions continued, hence the teachers were administratively charged, preventively suspended and temporarily replaced.

Later, the respondent teachers filed their worn statements with the CHR, complaining that they were dismissed without notice and cause. DECS prayed for the dismissal of the case stating as grounds therefor, that the complaint states no cause of action and that the CHR has no jurisdiction over the case.


RULING: No. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of petitioner, stating that the CHR had no such power, and that the

Fundamental Law did not mean for it to be another court or quasi-judicial agency, or even duplicate or take over the functions of the latter. The most that it can do is to investigate, that is, to receive evidence and make findings of fact regarding human rights violations. Having merely the power to investigate, it cannot and should not adjudicate or try and resolve the merits of the case. Whether or not the Education Secretary committed errors, such may be determined by himself, then by the Civil Service Commission and eventually by the Supreme Court.



This is the case of the Davide Impeachment. Eighteen petitions were filed all in all which culminated to this case. On June 2, 2003, a first impeachment complaint was filed against then Chief Justice Hilario Davide and 7 other associate justices of the SC for ―culpable violation of the Constitution, Betrayal of public trust and other high crimes‖ by Joseph Estrada as endorsed by Reps Suplico, Zamora and Dilangalen. Such complaint was later on referred to the House Committed on Justice, which dismissed the complaint ruling that it was sufficient in form but insufficient in substance. Later, a second impeachment complaint was filed against Chief Justice Davide, endorsed by Reps. Teodoro and Funtabella and signed by at least one-third of all the members of the House of Representatives.



Meanwhile, Section 3(5) of Article 11 of the Constitution bars a second impeachment complaint against an impeachable officer (Justices of SC, Members of Constitutional Commissions, President, VP, Ombudsman), while Sections 16 and 17 of the internal rules of the House of Representatives bars a second impeachment complaint only when there is a proper initiation of the complaint, in this case, when the House Committee on Justice has declares that the complaint is sufficient in substance





Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House of Impeachment Rules are unconstitutional for being incoherent with Section 3 of Article 11 of the Constitution. According to the Commissioner Bernas (Fr. Bernas) of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, initiation starts with the filing of the complaint. Hence, the SC held that it is very clear that the framers of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution intended ―initiation‖ to start with the filing of the complaint and not when the House Committee on Justice declares the complaint to be sufficient in substance. Because of this, when the first impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide, Jr. was filed on June 2, 2003, that complaint is considered to be initiated, even though it was dismissed on Oct. 22, 2003 for being insufficient in substance. Being so, the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide, Jr. is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.


FACTS: Gregorio Aguirre and Regina Antolin died leaving 500 hectares of unsurveyed land. These lands have a total of 3,000

fruit bearing coconut trees. The children of Leoncia and Luis Aguirre continued to receive the produce from the coconut lands valued at 1,000 pesos per year. However, in 1955, Felipe Aguirre, Dominador Aguirre, Caridad Aguirre and Socorro Aguirre proposed to divide the 1/6 share of the children of Leoncia and Luis, saying the same will be given to Cristeta Lamahang. The spouses Leoncia and Luis did not agree to the proposed division.

Because of this, Felipe, Dominador, Caridad and Socorro did not give the 1/6 share to the children of Leoncia and Luis. Consequently, Leoncia and Luis consulted a lawyer. The lawyer caused a complaint of partition and damages to be filed in the Court of First Instance in Batangas.

For the trial, the lawyer charged the plaintiffs P5,000 as attorney‘s fees. Moreover, the P500 paid to the expert witness for his time and photostatic materials.

The trial court rendered judgment for petitioners but made an award of damages equal to P5,000 for attorney‘s fees, P1000 as actual damages, P2,000 as moral damages, P1,000 as exemplary damages, and P500 as the fee of the expert witness. .

The petitioners then raised the case to the Court of Appeals claiming that what was awarded was short of what they are entitled under the law. The Court of Appeals sustained the trial court, the petitioners then raised the case to the Supreme Court.



MERELY P1,000.00






YES. The Supreme Court observed that the Court of Appeals ruled that the actual damages suffered by the petitioners amounted

to 1,000 yearly since 1955. However, the Court of Appeals simply said that the actual damages amounted to 1,000. This is ambiguous because the 1,000 constitutes the yearly damages. The Court of Appeals did not rule on the total amount of actual damages or the total number of years within which to apply the 1,000 pesos yearly damages considering that the damage occurred for several years.

Although jurisprudence3 says that the dispositive4 part of the decision controls irrespective of what might appear in the opinion part of the decision, a construction of the Court of Appeals‘ judgment shows that the Court of Appeals really meant that the damages suffered by the petitioners amounted to P1,000 yearly since 1955. Any argument to the contrary would be flimsy and purely technical. Consequently, such a view would sacrifice substantial justice over technicalities.

However, the Supreme Court mentioned that such a simple case does not have to reach the Supreme Court. A simple motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals would have corrected the error. Nevertheless, delays in the administration of justice could be avoided if greater care were taken in the drafting of the dispositive portions of decisions which in truth constitute the very essence thereof.

YES. Petitioners also assign as error the failure of the Court of Appeals to sentence defendants to pay them interests and costs.

The Supreme Court, again found merit in this contention. They are entitled to interest at the legal rate from the date of the judgment of the trial court, (Sec. 8, Rule 51., Civil Code) and to costs (Sec. 1, Rule 142, Civil Code).

NO. Anent the claim of petitioners that they are entitled to corresponding adjustment of the amounts granted to them as a result

of the rise in the rate of dollar exchange of the peso, the Supreme Court was of the considered opinion that the facts extant in the Court of Appeals was ultimately affirmed by the Supreme Court, with the modification that the amount of actual damages awarded petitioners should be P1,000 annually from 1955 and the respondents shall pay interest on all the amounts adjudged against them at the legal rate from the date of the judgment of the trial court. The Supreme Court also adjudged the respondents liable for the costs incurred in the course of the trial.


FACTS: Police officers set up a checkpoint after receiving reports that a foreigner from Sagada was transporting prohibited

drugs. After a few hours, the bus carrying the accused was stopped. The police officers noticed a bulge on the waist of Malmstedt and asked for his passport. When the accused failed to comply, the police officer asked him to bring out what was bulging on his waist. The bulge turned out to be a pouch containing hashish. When the accused was asked to alight from the bus he got his two bags which contained a teddy bear each. It was only thereafter that the accused produced his passport.

The accused was then brought to the police headquarters where the teddy bears were cut up and found to contain hashish.


RULING: YES. The search was incidental to a lawful arrest where a crime was actually being committed. Under the circumstances of the case, there was probable cause for the NARCOM officers to believe that the accused was then and there committing a crime. The receipt of information that a foreigner coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession and the failure of the accused to produce his passport gave rise to probable cause.

Dissenting Opinion. Narvasa. The search is illegal because the law requires that there first be a legal arrest before a search of the body and the belongings of the accused may licitly be made. In this case, it was in fact the illegal possession that retroactively established probable cause.


JURISPRUDENCE: case law or the body decisions promulgated by the Supreme Court.




CHURCH OF LUKUMI BABALU AYEH, INC. V. CITY OF HEILAEAH 508 US 520 FACTS: Petitioner church and its congregates practice the Santeria religion, which employed animal sacrifice as one of its

principal forms of devotion. The animals were killed by cutting their carotid arteries, and were cooked and eaten following all the Santeria rituals except healing and death rites. After the church leased land in respondent city and announced plans to establish a house of worship and other facilities there, the city council held an emergency public session and passed among others Resolution 87-66, which noted residents‘ concern over religious practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety, and declared the city‘s commitment to prohibiting such practices. Ordinance 87-40, which incorporated the Florida animal cruelty laws, broadly punished ―whoever . . . unnecessarily or cruelly . . . killed animals.‖ It has been interpreted to reach killings for religious reasons. More ordinances were passed defining sacrifice, prohibiting animal sacrifices and limiting slaughter of animals to slaughterhouses.

ISSUE: W/N THE ORDINANCES VIOLATED THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT. HELD: YES. The Court reversed the lower court‘s decision, concluding that the laws in question were enacted contrary to the

free exercise principles, thus void. The Court noted that under the Free Exercise Clause, laws that burden religious practice do not have to be justified by a compelling governmental interest if they are (1) neutral and (2) of general applicability.

The text and operation of the laws in question demonstrate that they were not neutral, but had as their object the suppression of Santeria‘s central element: animal sacrifice. Moreover, they were gerrymandered with care to disallow the Santerian practices, but to allow almost all other animal killings. They also suppress much more religious conduct than is necessary to achieve their stated ends.

The laws pursue the city government‘s interests only against the conduct motivated by religious belief, and thereby violate the requirement that laws burdening religious practice must be of general applicability. Some ordinances were found by the Court to be underinclusive with regard to the city‘s interest in preventing cruelty to animals since they were drafted with care to forbid few animal killings, those occasioned by religious sacrifice, while other types of animal killings were not prohibited. They were also considered underinclusive with regard to the city‘s public health interests in preventing the disposal of animal carcasses in open public places and the consumption of uninspected meat since the laws do not address non-religious conduct.

The Smith Standard, that is, that laws must be narrowly tailored to accomplish the asserted governmental interests, was not met by the laws in question. They were underinclusive in various respects because the objectives were not pursued with parallel non-religious conduct, which could have burdened religion to a far lesser degree. Thus, the interests given cannot be considered compelling.


FACTS: The defendant borrowed 2,000 pesos from the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Nueva Segovia, for which he

gave a receipt, not mentioning the bishop but stating that the money was from the funds of the Confradia de las Animas of the Cathedral of Vigan, and providing that it should be repaid with 6% interest. At the expiration of a year, the first installme nt of interest not being paid, the defendant signed a document acknowledging the further advance to him by the bishop of the amount thereof, 120 pesos to be added to the pre-existing loan from the funds of the confradia. He now contests the right of the plaintiff, as the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese, to recover the money loaned by his predecessor in office, claiming that the administration of the funds of confradia does not rest with the bishop. Judgment was rendered upon default of the defendant to serve his answer after his demurrer had been overruled.







YES. In the case of Barlin v. Ramirez, the bishop held the finds as the administrator of the confradia. His functions as

administrator passed to his successor.

STARE DECISIS. In view of the decision in Gaspar v. Molina, the Court concluded that it would be futile to determine

whether Sec. 3 of Act No. 1045 applies to a contract not in terms expressly providing for payment in any particular kind of currency.


Before stating the facts of the case, it would be helpful if the cases discussed by the Supreme Court—which served as the springboard in analyzing the cases at bench—be tackled first. The first case was Klein v. US; in this case, the decedent conveyed property to his wife, made a settlement wherein certain conditions were set. Among the conditions was a provision, which states that if the wife dies first, the property would revert back to the grantor-settlor—the decedent. On the other hand, if the grantor dies first, the wife gets the property. The taxpayer in that case claimed that the decedent merely reserved a ―possibility of reverter.‖ In other words, the conveyance should not be considered as included in the taxable estate. The Supreme Court in that case held otherwise. It ruled that the death of the grantor was the indispensable and intended event, which effected the transmission from the dear to the living, thus satisfying the terms of the taxing act and justifying the tax imposed. The next cases were the St. Louis Trust Cases (Helvering v. St. Louis Trust Co., and Becker v. St. Louis Trust Co.), which had substantially the same circumstances as those obtaining in Klein v. US. On the strength of the Klein case, the Commissioner included the conveyed interests in the taxable estates because in all three situations, the result and effect were the same. The event, which gave to the beneficiaries a dominion over property, which they did not previously have, was the donor‘s death. The Supreme Court ruled for the taxpayer and against the Commissioner. The St. Louis Trust cases involved varying forms of words in the creation of the settlements. These cases were thus excluded from the applicability of the Klein doctrine.

Four members of the Court in that case saw no difference, reiterating the argument that the operative event was still the death of the donor, thus making the trust property taxable. The majority, on the other hand, claimed that the grantor had a ―mere possibility of reverter.‖ And all that the grantor‘s death amounted to was the rendering of the said reverter into an utter impossibility.

FACTS: The first case (Helvering v. Hallock) involved a separation agreement which created a trust, the income of which was

given to the wife of the deceased. Again, the conditions set in the agreement are similar to those given in the aforecited cases. If the wife dies first, the trust fund is to be delivered back to the husband. If, on the other hand, the husband dies first, payment and delivery is to be made to the husband‘s son and daughter. The husband died and was survived by his divorce wife—the life beneficiary. The Circuit Court of Appeals held that the trust instrument had conveyed the ―whole interest‖ of the decedent, leaving him nothing ―except a mere possibility of reverter.‖

The second case (Rothensies v. Huston) involved an ante-nuptial agreement wherein the deceased conveyed property in trust, the income to be paid to his prospective wife during her life. The conditions were that if the said prospective wife were to die ahead of the settlor, the principal and the accumulated income should be delivered to the settlor. If the marriage should subsist and the settlor dies first, the principal and the accumulated income shall go to the wife. The wife outlived her husband. The Circuit Court of Appeals deemed Becker v. St. Louis Trust Co. controlling against the inclusion of the trust property in the gross estate. The last case (Bryant v. Helvering), the settlor provided for the payment of the trust income to his wife during her lifetime and upon her death to the settlor himself, if he should survive her. The wife survived the husband. The Board of Tax Appeals allowed the Commissioner to include in the decedent‘s gross estate only the value of a ―vested reversionary interest‖ which, according to the Board, the grantor had reserved to himself. (This decision could be considered as partly favorable to the Commissioner). The taxpayer appealed, but the Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the Board‘s determination.








RULING: YES. The Court upheld the doctrine espoused in the Klein case, which rejected formal distinctions with regard to the

law on real property. The statute seeks to tax even transfers inter vivos ―that are too much akin to testamentary dispositions.‖

NO. It is a recognized principle that stare decisis embodies an important social policy. It represents an element of continuity in

law, and is rooted in the psychological need to satisfy reasonable expectations. But stare decisis is a principle of policy and not a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision, however recent and questionable, when such adherence involves collision with a prior doctrine more embracing in its scope, intrinsically sounder, and verified by experience.

NO. ―To explain the cause of non-action by Congress when Congress itself sheds no light is to venture into speculative

unrealities.‖ Congress may not have had its attention directed to an undesirable decision; and there is no indication that as to the

St. Louis Trust cases that id had. Moreover, the Court has, from the very beginning, rejected a doctrine of disability at



FACTS: Manuela and Maria Aquial filed a complaint in forma pauperis in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, wherein they

prayed that they be declared the owners of a certain parcel of land. They claimed that the land was acquired by their father by Spanish title.

The Aquials alleged that J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. had illegally entered upon the land. They further alleged that the land in question had been fraudulently or erroneously included in OCT No. 735, and was registered in the names of the petitioners Tuason. The Aquials also claimed that the TCT were issued to defendants J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc., University of the Philippines and the National Waterworks and Sewerage System (NAWASA).

The Aquials prayed that OCT NO. 735 and the titles derived therefrom be declared void due to certain irregularities in the la nd registration proceedings. J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, prescription, laches and prior judgment. The lower court denied the motion.


RULING: NO. The Court noted that the supposed irregularities in the land registration proceedings were the same issues raised

in the civil cases decided by Judge Eulogio Mencias. In those case, Judge Mencias ruled that OCT NO.735 was invalid. On appeal to the Supreme Court, that decision was reveresed, and the validity of OCT NO.735 was once more upheld.

The Court underscored the governing principle of stare decisis et non quieta movere. The holding of the courts that OCT NO.735 is valid should no longer be open to attack.



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