Internet/Online Legal Research

The explosive growth of the internet has long caught up with legal research. Back in law school, we had the Lex Libris and PhilJuris, which are electronic compilations of laws and jurisprudence. These convenient research tools, however, didn’t come cheap and must be installed in your computer.

This time, you could do legal research online or through the internet (as an aside, the Supreme Court issued the Rules on Electronic Evidence, which is applicable whenever electronic documents and electronic data messages are offered or used in evidence).

Here are some tips:

1. The usual way is to use Google or Yahoo search. Enter or type in your key words or search parameter, with space between words (for example: bp 22 bouncing checks). Press “Search” or simply press your computer’s “Enter” key.

For best results, focus the search at certain sites. If you want to limit the search at the Supreme Court site, for instance, simply add “site:supremecourt.gov.ph” (without the quotation marks) at the end of the search parameter. By way of caveat, remember that it takes time before recent posts are reflected in Google or Yahoo. Also, legal matters are not taken in isolation – there may be other related or applicable laws or jurisprudence. No legal advice is given in these sites, including this one.

2. There are great repositories of laws and jurisprudence, like the LawPhil Project (www.lawphil.net) and the Supreme Court (www.supremecourt.gov.ph). These sites contain laws and jurisprudence or Philippine Supreme Court decisions. The SC has the E-Library as a primary research tool, but access is limited. Hopefully, the E-Library will soon be available to the general public, or, at the very least, to all lawyers.

The LawPhil Project has a better search engine (try searching “bp 22″ using the Supreme Court search engine and you’ll get results that include “IBP” and “subpoena”, so better use the first suggested technique). The Supreme Court site also has a limited law-base and its jurisprudence-base goes back only until 1996. The good thing is that the Supreme Court is continuouslly improving its site.

3. Go to the appropriate government agency (see the government links at the right sidebar of this site), then simply browse through its website. This, of course, is a tedious process.

If you’re reading this post in this site (Philippine e-Legal Forum), you can also use the search engine at the top or the right sidebar. If you have other tips, please feel free to post it here and share it with everyone.

1 Response to “Internet/Online Legal Research”


  1. 1 Vincent Isles Nov 26th, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    This might be too late, but what do you think of coming up with a collaborative production of these laws and court decisions and then releasing it under one of those copyleft licenses so that others can freely reuse and redistribute the compilation? I am not a lawyer (still working on it!) but I understand laws and court decisions in the Philippines are not copyrighted (P.D. 49, Sec. 9, first para.)

    –Vincent Isles
    islesv@gmail.com

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