Friday, November 27, 2009

Case Digest Assignment

Please digest the following cases and email to me by December 2, 2009:

1. Villavicencio v. Lukban, 39 Phil. 778 (1919)
2. Leonor v. Court of Appeals, 256 SCRA 69 (1996)
3. Tanada v. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 446 (1986)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How I Will Grade Your Research Paper

Your submission will represent 30% of your final grade.

This is what I will look fo (with the corresponding weight):

1. Neatness, following instructions on format, lack of typographical errors, and timely submission -- 5%

2. Grammatical correctness -- 5%

3. Use of legal authorities, accuracy, correct citation form -- 30%

4. Analysis and soundness of conclusions - 30%

5. Organization and clarity -- 30%

Friday, November 20, 2009

In Search of a Research Topic

Choose an area of law that interests you or you are familiar with. Read the papers or news magazines such as Newsweek or The Economist, or watch the news. Current events may suggest a possible topic. Just remember, you need to write a legal research paper, so it needs to address a legal issue or problem, that you will analyze and research on. The paper will have to provide your findings or conclusions on the issue or problem.

Note that I use the term `issue' or `problem' and not just `question'. I do not want you to choose a topic that only requires you to recite particular laws or to go into exposition. I want you to choose a topic that will require you to be analytical, to engage in critical thinking.

During our first meeting, I asked you to write on this legal issue: Can Erap Run For President in 2010? To resolve this, you would need to read the relevant provisions of the Philippine Constitution as well as the related authorities, examine the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, determine what other laws might come into play, read up on Erap's arguments, and evaluate and test those arguments. Thereafter, you would need to state your findings and organize your own arguments supporting these findings with legal authorities set out in a logical and coherent manner. This is the process that each of you must undergo.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Legal Research Paper: Reminders

While you may choose the topic of your research paper, I need to approve it. Please submit your topic by December 16, 2009 (by email).

All papers must use Times New Roman, 11 font size, block format, 1 1/2 space. They should be at least 15 pages, but not more than 25 pages, long (using 8 1/2" x 11" sized paper). No colored paper, scented paper, borders, or emoticons. All authorities need to be quoted and cited correctly, and attributions properly made.

You must submit a hard copy of your paper by 5 p.m. of March 18, 2010. Submission by email will not be considered or accepted.

Topics for Legal Bibliography Reports

1. What is statute law?

Please explain the following:
a) Public versus private statutes
b) General versus special statutes
c) National or general versus local statutes
d) Conventional versus subordinate statutes

What are the classes of statutes? Please give examples of each.

2. What is a Constitution? Provide a brief history of the Philippine Constitution.

What are treaties? What are executive agreements? Do these have the force of law? How are treaties entered into?

3. What are the parts of a statute and explain each part.

In Philippine legal bibliography you will find references to General Orders, Acts, Commonwealth Acts, Republic Acts, Batas Pambansa, Letters of Intent, Presidential Decrees and Executive Orders. Please explain what each reference pertains to.

How are statutes enacted? When do they take effect? How do statutes get amended? How do they lapse?

4. What are municipal legislation? What are ordinances? Please give examples.

5. What are administrative rules and regulations? When are administrative rules and orders considered subordinate legislation?

What are court rules and legislative rules? Please give examples.

6. What is case law? What is the structure of our court system? Please include other governmental bodies with quasi-judicial functions.

7. What are the parts of a case?

What does the phrase "ratio decidendi" mean? How about obiter dictum?

8. Please explain the principles of res judicata, “law of the case” and stare decisis.

9. What are secondary authorities? Please give examples.

10. When is it appropriate to refer to, or cite, foreign legal materials? What is their impact?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Legal Writing Syllabus, 2nd Semester 2009

Course Description

An introduction to legal writing techniques. It involves applied legal bibliography, case digesting and reporting analysis, legal reasoning and preparation of legal opinions or memoranda.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course –

1. The student must be familiar with the nature of legal writing and know the principal rules of good legal writing.

2. The student must be aware of the most common examples of legal writing, and has had experience in case digesting, preparation of replies to queries, and preparation of research memoranda.

3. The student must be familiar with basic techniques to improve his or her legal writing skills.

4. The student must know basic aspects of legal bibliography and can apply them.

5. The student must be aware of the importance of reasoning, and reasoning techniques, to legal writing, and must be familiar with those techniques.

6. The student must know how to answer legal questions and can build an argument.

7. The student must know how to produce a good research memorandum.

NOTE: The course will not cover contract drafting or legal writing. You will be taking a separate course on legal research and citation, although we will look into their role and importance in the legal writing process.

Requirements and Basis of Grades

i. Class attendance and participation
ii. Legal bibliography report and test
iii. Submission of writing exercises
iv. Submission of research paper

Reading Materials

We will not have a prescribed textbook but you may consult the books on legal bibliography in the law school library, particularly Legal Research and Bibliography by Peter Ng et al. From time to time, you will be required to look at particular laws and jurisprudence, copies of which should also be available at the library. You should already read the laws and cases identified in the course outline.

Course Outline

I. Introduction to Legal Writing

1. Writing as a skill required of every lawyer.
2. The “Inescapability” of English
- E.O. No. 292, as amended, Secs. 17 and 20
3. What makes writing “legal”?
4. What are the kinds/examples of legal writing?
5. What are the roles of legal bibliography and legal research in the writing process?
6. What makes legal writing, good? What makes it bad?
- Leonor v. Court of Appeals, 256 SCRA 69 (1996)
7. How do you prepare to be a good writer?

II. Legal Bibliography: An Overview

1. What is legal bibliography?
2. Key principles of legal bibliography
3. Kinds of primary authorities
· Statute law
a. Classes of statute law
b. Effectivity of statutes
- Civil Code, Art. 2
- E.O. No. 292, as amended, Sec 18
- Tanada v. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 446 (1986)
c. Prospectivity
- E.O. No. 292, as amended, Sec 19.
d. Lapse of laws
- Civil Code, Art. 7
-E.O. No. 292, as amended, Secs. 21 and 22
e. Public versus Private
f. General versus Special
g. National or General versus Local
h. Conventional versus Subordinate
i. Parts of a statute
· Case law
a. Civil Code, Art. 8
b. Parts of a Case
- Allied Banking Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 416 SCRA 65 (2003)
c. Impact of decided cases
- Res judicata
- Stare decisis
- "Law of the Case"
d. Ratio decidendi versus Obiter dictum
5. Kinds of secondary authorities
6. In general: citation

III. Legal Research Techniques

1. What is legal research?
2. In general: How to prepare for a research assignment
3. What if there is no law?

IV. Core of Legal Writing

1. Reasoning
2. Learning how to “read closely”
3. A Law Student's Version of the Four-Way Test
- Do you know or understand all the relevant facts?
- Do I know what the issue to be resolved, or what the problem or question is?
- Do I know what laws or materials might be relevant to the inquiry and have I read all those laws and materials closely?
- Do I know the work product (form, audience) and my deadline?
4. Building an argument
- What is an argument?
- Outlining your reasons as a tool to analyze the problem
- Synthesis
- Counter-arguments
--- Evaluating and verifying arguments with the rules of logic

V. Legal Writing Techniques

1. Techniques for effective legal writing
2. (Possibly) The Only Outline Format You Will Ever Need

VI. Ethics of Legal Writing

1. Code of Professional Responsibility, Rule 8.01, Rule 10.01, Rule 10.02, Canon 11, Rule 11.03
2. Plagiarism