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This was given to us by on our 1st year in law school.

TIPS ON DIGESTING CASES: You can never escape digesting cases in the College of
Law. The objective in digesting cases is to discover how the law was applied. Your
professor is less interested in the brilliancy of the lawyer or the parties involved or how
they won or lost their case. What matters is how the Supreme Court resolved the issues.
[i]

1. DO NOT DIGEST UNLESS YOU KNOW THE CODAL PROVISION. [i]It's a total
waste of time. On the contrary, if you know what the law requires, it is easy to determine
if the parties obeyed or disobeyed the law. The Court always sides with the party who
obeyed the law.
2. DO NOT DIGEST CASES SINGLY. Groups of cases must be digested together
because they all apply the same law - sometimes in contrasting manner. Spend the most
time thoroughly digesting the first in a batch of cases. Succeeding cases will simply re-
apply the same principle. However, look out for reversals of rulings.[i]
3. LOOK AT THE DATES. PRIORITIZE DIGESTING LATER CASES. [i]Chances are,
the latest case will contain a recitation of earlier cases - already digested by the ponente
(the justice who actually writes the text of the decision). Not only that - usually, the
ponente will compare and contrast related cases, saving you a lot of time in case you
cannot read the full text of the original decision. But set apart a time to read the original
cases anyway.
4. USE BLOCK DIAGRAMS TO REPRESENT THE PARTIES. Reduce the long list of
parties into "F filed an action against C" etc. regardless of how long the full name of F or
C is. Make a mental chart of who filed the original case and then trace it from there - who
won in the original jurisdiction, it is always the loser who appeals if the case was
resolved normally. But 80% of cases reaching the Supreme Court are pre-emptive; filed
by one of the parties before a final decision is reached below. But just the same, the party
that goes to the Supreme Court is either the losing party of the party about to lose. Jump
to the dispositive portion and see if the petitioning party was successful or not. Then
reconstruct the arguments in between, using the syllabus of the case (the first portion of
every SCRA (text) as aid.
5. AT THE VERY LEAST, DIGEST AT LEAST ONE CASE FROM EVERY
SECTION OF THE COURSE OUTLINE. It is not the number of cases you digested that
matters but the coverage. You must digest at least one case for every pertinent provision
of law. Two, if you have the time. Three, if you anticipate a graded recitation.
6. SEEK AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISPLAY WHAT YOU LEARNED. If you are
called for a recitation on a case you did not digest, offer to recite on another cases (most
professors will allow that, so long as you offer to recite on the same subject matter.) The
point is, let the professor know that you attempted to understand the principle at work. If
embarrassed, do not sulk. Listen to the person reciting - their digest may be correct and if
it is, it will definitely come out in the exams.
7. DO NOT DEVOUR ALL FACTS. YOU DO NOT NEED THEM. You can try
applying the reverse analysis approach. Look at the ruling and then find out how the
Court arrived at the ruling. The Supreme Court throws out may irrelevant facts because it
is not a trier of facts. Do not try to smell out every fact if it did not even concern the
Justices.
8. REMEMBER THE "ANGLE OF CONCERN". If you are digesting for a
Constitutional Law subject, ignore the issues that do not concern you. Read the case with
particular interest on how the Constitution was applied. Ditto for other subjects.
9. KEEP YOUR DIGEST. YOU WILL DEFINITELY ENCOUNTER THE SAME
CASES IN YOUR HIGHER YEARS. [i]Most cases involve various aspects of the law.
So the cases you digested in Persons are most likely the same ones you will read in Wills
and Succession. Your "angle of concern" will be different of course, but you will save a
lot of time if you are familiar with the facts already.[i]