Academia, Law School
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For the Law Freshie || Looking for something? Researching for cases in the law library or online

Let me tell you a funny story.

When I was a law freshman, I wasn’t so adept at looking for cases. I was lost, confused, and even more so if there’s only a date and those numbers after the date. Because the idea of hunting up for cases was so foreign to me back then.

Thank heaven for kind upperclassmen!

You might ask, don’t you have a subject called Legal Research? Well, yes we did, but it was all in theory. What did we know about shepardizing, and looking for the correct citation? Very little.

How did we freshmen get around the library? Again, thank heaven for kind upperclassmen, and the harried librarians. These upperclassmen and librarians taught us lost freshers how to look for cases. And because I want to pay it forward, I want to share it with you guys, so you won’t be as lost as we were.

Ever see this set of numbers and letters in your subject syllabus or outline next to the title of your required case readings?

129 SCRA 174


Immediately you’d wonder what these letters stand for. If you’ve read my previous post on the important reading materials in law school, you already have an idea. If you haven’t, it’s the Supreme Court Reports Annotated, aka, the SCRA.

So, where were we? Ah, yes, dissecting the citation. Yes, these letters and numbers above are called a citation. So, how are we going to dissect it? Refer to the picture below.

129 refers to the volume number, the SCRA is the source material, and 174 the page number where you’ll find the case. And that would be it. However, it’s a different story if you’re having it photocopied. If your school library has a photocopier nearby, and there’s a photocopy request form, you’ll have to fill it up differently. You would have to write, 174 to ____. So, let’s say, the last page for that case is page 190, then that’s what you’ll write in the photocopy request form.

Here’s an illustration, so you will have an idea. This is only a sample, as other law  schools and their photocopy stations have different form templates.



PAGE NUMBER                                                                                    NO. OF COPIES

  174-190                                                                  1 copy


And that’s it. Easy peasy. You can do the same for the rest of the cases you need to research and photocopy.

But what if you’re searching for cases at home, and you’re confused as to what the dates, letters and numbers mean? Especially when they look like this?

That’s another kind of citation, dissected. Sy v. Court of Appeals is the title of the case, February 27, 2003, the date the case was decided on by the Supreme Court, and GR. 142293 is the docket number given to the case.

So, what does GR mean? Here’s an interesting post that can answer your question. But to be honest, we never really got around to asking what those two letters mean. I remember a professor saying that it meant General Record. But it was never really clear. #SoSadSoSorry

FUN TIP: Do you know you can search for cases for FREE in the Supreme Court of the Philippines’ E-Library? Yes, you heard me, FOR FREE. All you have to do is to sign up. And yes, REGISTRATION IS ALSO FOR FREE. I discovered it when I was looking for a case I couldn’t find here so desperate girl (aka me) took a chance when I visited the Supreme Court, and down the rabbit hole I went.

The E-Library has a very user-friendly walk-through guide in using their search function, so you will be able to find what you need.

The next step? Showing the parts of the case and how to make a case digest. But that’s another post for another day. 🙂

Thank you for staying and reading through this post!


*Image credit here

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