Posted by: Elmer Brabante | February 21, 2011

Legal Dictionary: Cad – Cus

Cadastral Proceeding. A quasi-judicial or administrative proceeding which involves the identification of various lots embraced in a survey and adjudication of their titles, usually undertaken at the initiative of the Land Registration Authority or Bureau of Lands.

Cadastral System. The system of identifying and adjudicating disputes involving ownership or possession of lands in a given area or municipality for the purpose of quieting titles therein and their incorporation into the Torrens system.

Calibrated Preemptive Response. A catchphrase, called CPR for short, pertaining to a court-nullified crowd dispersal enforcement policy which is characterized by a measured response by the military, police and other law enforcement authorities to break up an unlawful public assembly or rally depending on the extent of provocation or disorderly behavior demonstrated by its participants. (KMP vs. ERmita, GR 169838)

Capacity to Act. The power to do acts with legal effect, e.g., to enter into contract or to sue, usually associated with a person who is 18 years old—the age of majority—or over. It is acquired and may be lost. (Art. 37, Civil Code)

Capital Assets. Property held by the taxpayer whether or not connected with his trade or business. (Sec. 39, National Internal Revenue Code of 1997)

Capital Gains Tax. A tax on the gain or profit from the sale of the taxpayer’s property forming part of his capital assets.

Capital Offense. An offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished with death. (Sec. 6, Rule 114)

Capital Punishment. The penalty of death. Note that the Death Penalty Law, RA 7659, has already been repealed. (People vs. Quiachon, GR 170276, Aug. 31, 2006

Capital Stock. The capitalization of a corporation which is expressed in a specified number of shares or certificates of stock that will be subscribed to and paid for conformably with its by-laws.

Caram Rule. Under the 1935 Constitution, those born in the Philippines of foreign parent, who before the adoption of the Constitution had been elected to public office in the Philippines, are considered Filipino citizens.

Carnal Knowledge. A legal euphemism for illicit sexual intercourse perpetrated against a woman’s will. It is legalese for sexual intercourse involving rape or seduction.

Carnapping. The taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another without the latter’s consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things. (Sec. 2, RA 6539, Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972)

Cartel. Any combination of or agreement between two or more persons engaged in the production, manufacture, processing, storage, supply, distribution, marketing, sale or disposition of any basic necessity or prime commodity designed to artificially and unreasonably increase or manipulate its price. (RA 7581, The Price Act)

Case at Bar. The case being tried by the trial court in the exercise of its jurisdiction, i.e., the case  that is currently the subject of a particular trial or judicial proceeding.

Case at Bench. The case being heard before an appellate court.

Castration. See Mutilation. 

Casual Employee. A person who has been engaged to perform activities which are peripheral or incidental to the usual business or trade of the employer, except that is such service has lasted for at least one year, whether it is continuous or broken, he is to be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists. (Art. 280, Labor Code

Cassus Omissus. A principle in statutory construction which means that a person or thing omitted from an enumeration must be deemed to have been omitted intentionally. This is to be differentiated from ejusdem generic

Cattle-rustling. The unlawful act of taking away by any means, method or scheme, without the consent of the owner or raiser, of any of the animals classified as large cattle, whether or not for profit or gain, or whether committed with or without violence against or intimidation of any person or force upon things. (PD 533, Anti-cattle Rustling Law of 1974)

Cause of Action. An act or omission of the defendant in violation of the legal right of the plaintiff giving him the ground to file suit. (Sec. 2, Rule 2; Barcelona vs. CA, 412 SCRA 41)

Caveat Emptor. A Latin term that is applicable to the law of sales which translates into “buyer beware.”

Certificate of Public Convenience. An authorization granted by the LTFRB for the operation of land transportation services for public use.

Certification Election. An election contest between two or more legitimate labor organizations in an establishment to determine which among them represents the majority of the members in an appropriate bargaining unit for the purpose of collective bargaining with their employer, as well as representation of the members therof in labor-management activities. (Art. 231, Labor Code)

Certiorari. A special civil action brought by an aggrieved party against a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions to determine whether it has acted without or in excess or in excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer and granting such reliefs as law and justice may require. (Sec. 1, Rule 65)

Cestui Que Trust. The beneficiary for which a trust is created.

Chain Distribution Plan. See Pyramid Sales Scheme.

Chambers. The term which is used to describe the private offices of a Justice or judge, entry to which is normally restricted.

Champertous Contract. An agreement that is deemed void being against public policy and professional legal ethics whereby a lawyer agrees to prosecute at his own expense the recovery of a thing or property for a litigant who agrees to share with him a portion or pay him an amount corresponding to a percentage of the value of the thing or property thus recovered or won in the suit. It is akin to instigating a claimant to file suit with the lawyer advancing the costs of suit in return for substantial fee if successful. See Contingent Fee Agreement.

Charter Party. A maritime contract by virtue of which the owner or the agent of a vessel binds himself to transport merchandise or persons for a fixed price. It is also a contract by which an entire ship, or some principal part thereof, is leased by the owner to another person for a specified time or use. 

Chattel Mortgage. A conditional sale of property which is recorded in the Chattel Mortgage Register as security for the payment of a debt or the performance of an obligation. Note that if the movable, instead of being recorded, is delivered to the creditors or third person, the contract is a pledge and not a chattel mortgage. (Art. 2140, Civil Code; Sec. 3 Act 1508, Chattel Mortgage Law

Check. A bill of exchange drawn that is payable on demand signed by the maker or drawer, containing an unconditional promise to pay a sum certain to order or to bearer. (Sec. 185, Act 2031, Negotiable Instruments Law

Check-off. It is an accounting device whereby the employer, on agreement with the union, or upon prior authorization from its employees, deducts union dues or agency fees from the latter’s salaries and remits them directly to the union. 

Checks and Balances Doctrine. A political doctrine which complements the separation of powers doctrine underlying our system of government by which the three branches of government “check” one another against abusing or misusing their respective powers under the Constitution. Thus, the President can veto legislation. Congress must approve executive appointments. The courts, whose members are appointed by the President, can nullify  grave abuse of executive power and invalidate laws for violating the limits of their respective Constitutional powers and prerogatives. 

Child Abuse. Any physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, and criminal neglect which leads to the infliction of physical or psychological injury, cruelty to, or neglect, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child, i.e., a person below 18 years of age, or even older if that person is incapable of taking care of himself fully because of a physical or mental disability, or of protecting himself from abuse. (Secs. 2(a) and 2(b), RA 7610, Child Abuse Act)

Child Prostitute. A male or female, under 18 years of age, who for money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct. (Sec. 5, RA 7610, Child Abuse Act)

Child Trafficking. The prohibited act of engaging in trading and dealing with children, including the act of buying and selling of a child for money, of for any other consideration, or barter. It is classified as a grave felony punishable by reclusion perpetua. If the victim is under 12 years of age, the maximum penalty is to be imposed.

Child Witness. Any person who is below the age of 18 at the time of giving testimony. He may be over 18 years old if found by the court to be unable to fully take care of himself or protect himself from abuse or exploitation. In child abuse cases, however, the child may be more than 18 years old but is found by the court as unable to take care of himself or protect himself from abuse because of a physical or mental disability or condition. (Sec. 4(a), Rule on Examination of a Child Witness)

Child-caring Agency. A duly licensed and accredited agency by the DSWD that provides 24-hour residential care services for abandoned, orphaned, neglected, or voluntarily committed children. (Sec. 3(i), RA 8552, Domestic Adoption Act of 1998)

Child-placing Agency. A duly licensed and accredited agency by the DSWD to provide comprehensive child welfare services, including, but not limited to, receiving applications for adoption, evaluating the prospective adoptive parents and preparing the adoption home study. (Sec. 3(h), RA 8552, Domestic Adoption Act of 1998)

Child at Risk. Refers to child who is vulnerable to and at the risk of committing criminal offenses because of personal, family and social circumstances, e.g., being exploited sexually or economically, being a gang member, being out of school, etc. (Sec. 4(d), RA 9344, Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006)

Chose in Action. The instrument evidencing the right to sue for money or property, e.g., a promissory note. A legal claim or cause of action that can translate into a lawsuit.

Circumstantial Evidence. Evidence which indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact-finder draws from the evidence established. It constitutes a combination of circumstances that is sufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence in criminal cases that can lead to conviction beyond reasonable doubt, i.e., there is more than one circumstance inferred from facts which are proven. (Sec. 4, Rule 133; People vs. Cuenca, 375 SCRA 119)

Citizenship. Membership in a political community which is personal and more or less permanent in character.

Civil Action. A suit filed by one party against another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. (Sec. 3(a), Rule 1)

Civil Aspect. A reference to the pecuniary liabilities, i.e., damages, of the defendant in a criminal case which are deemed subsumed therein. See Civil Liability.

Civil Contempt. Contempt of court is committed by a party who falls or neglects to do something ordered by the court or judge for the benefit of the opposing party. People vs. Godoy, 243 SCRA 64

Civil Fruits. Income derived from the rents of buildings, the price of leases of lands and other property, and the amount of perpetual or life annuities or other similar income. (Art. 442, Civil Code)

Civil Interdiction. An accessory penalty which has the effect of depriving the offender during the time of his sentence of the rights of parental authority, or guardianship, either as to the person or property of any ward, of marital authority, of the right to manage his property, and of the right to dispose of such property by any conveyance inter vivos. (Art. 34, RPC)

Civil Law. That branch of law, based on Roman law, that governs the relations between and among persons, as regulated by the State, for the protection of private interests. The Civil Code of the Philippines is a codification of such law.

Civil Liability. Generally, refers to the monetization of the claims arising out of a criminal act which consists of restitution, reparation, and indemnification for consequential damages. See Civil Aspect.

Civil Liberty. The catch-all term which embraces all the freedoms and civil rights enumerated under the bill of rights of the Constitution 

Civil Obligation. An obligation that gives a right of action to compel performance, as opposed to a natural obligation. (Art. 1423, Civil Code)

Civil Register. The official record or repository for entering the civil status of persons, involving births, deaths, marriages, annulments of marriages, adoptions, legitimizations, acknowledgments of natural children, naturalizations, or changes of names. (Act 3753, Civil Register Law; Art. 407, Civil Code)

Civil Right. A right accorded every citizen or resident of the Philippines by law or constitutional fiat.

Class Suit. An action filed on behalf of many persons so numerous that it is impracticable to join all as parties, brought by a representative number of them who sue for the benefit of all concerning a controversy that is one of common or general interest to them all. Also referred to as a representative suit, it is an action brought for the benefit of all persons in the class. Its main requisites are (a) the subject matter of the controversy is one of common or general interest to the persons represented; (b) the parties affected are so numerous that is impracticable to bring them all before the court; and (c) the parties bringing the class suit are sufficiently numerous or representative of the class. (Sec. 12, Rule 3). See Derivative Suit.

Clean Hands Doctrine. A legal principle grounded on equity which says that a complainant or plaintiff seeking relief in the courts must not himself be guilty in the matter subject of his claim.

Clear and Present Danger Rule. When words are used in such circumstance and of such nature as to create a clear and present danger that will bring about substantive evil that State has right to prevent (Schenck v. U.S., 249 US 97); clear – causal connection with the danger of the substantive evil arising from the utterance questioned; and present – time element, identified with imminent and immediate danger; the danger must not only be probable, but very likely inevitable (Gonzales v. Comelec, 27 SCRA 835).

Close Corporation. A corporation comprising not more than 20 stockholders whose shares are not generally traded publicly and whose management is vested in the stockholders themselves. The late Justice Jose C. Campos characterized such a corporation as a “de facto partnership with a corporate shell.” (Sec. 96, BP 68, Corporation Code)

Closed-Shop. A union security clause in a collective bargaining agreement that requires membership in the union as a condition of continuous employment.

Closing-Out Sale. A consumer sale wherein the seller uses the announcement to create the impression the be is willing to give large discounts on merchandise to reduce, dispose or close out his inventory and business. (Sec. 4(1), RA 7394, Consumer Act of the Philippines)

Cloud on Title. A term which denotes an outstanding instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which  is actually invalid or inoperative, but which may, nevertheless, impair or affect injuriously the title to property 

Codicil. A supplement or addition to a will, made after its execution and annexed to e taken as part thereof, by which any  disposition made in the original will is explained, added to or altered. (Art. 825, Civil Code)

Cohibit. To live or dwell together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage 

Cohabitation. The public assumption by a man and woman of the marital relation, and dwelling together as man and wife, thereby holding themselves out to the public as such. Also Live-in Relationship.

Coitus. Legalese for sexual intercourse. See also Carnal Knowledge.

Collateral Estoppel. See Conclusiveness of Judgement.

Collation. A term in the law of inheritance, it refers to the act by  virtue of which descendants or other compulsory heirs who intervene in the division of the inheritance of an ascendant bring into the common mass the property which they received from him through donation or by gratuitous title so that the division may be made according to law and the will of the testator. (Vizconde vs. CA, 286 SCRA 217

Collective Bargaining. The performance of a mutual obligation to meet and convince  promptly  and expeditiously in good faith for the purpose of negotiating an agreement with respect to wages, hours of work and all other terms and conditions of employment, including proposals for adjusting any grievances or questions arising under such agreement and executing a CBA incorporating such agreements if requested by either party but such duty does not compel any party to agree to a proposal or to make any concession. (Art. 252, Labor Code)

Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A contract executed upon request of either the employer or the exclusive bargaining representative incorporating the agreement reached after negotiations with respect to wages, hours of work and all other terms and conditions of employment, including proposals for adjust grievances or questions arising under such agreement. (Rivera vs. Espiritu, 374 SCRA 351)

Collective Bargaining Unit (CBU). A group of employees sharing mutual interests within a given employer unit, comprised of all or less than all of the entire body of employees in the employer unit or any  specific occupational or geographical grouping within such employer unit. As such, it can qualify as a labor organization and its members can form a union. 

Collision. A term in maritime law which refers to two moving vessels which crash into each other. 

Colorable Imitation. An act of infringement of a registered mark and a form of unfair competition whereby an article is made to look or sound like the real thing when it is not. (Sec. 155, RA 8923, The Intellectual Property Code)

Combination in Restraint of Trade. A conspiratorial contract or an agreement which is designed to prevent free competition in the market through artificial means or resort to any artifice, such as spreading false rumors, to stifle lawful commerce. (Art. 186, RPC

Comity or Comitas Gentium. A principle in public international law which recognized and requires reciprocal gestures of courtesies among sovereign states concerning one another’s actions based on customs duties of personal article belonging to diplomats in a country’s jurisdiction, or lifting of visa restrictions for short periods of stay. 

Commercial Arbitration. An arbitration that covers any matter arising from all relations of a commercial nature, whether contractual or not. (Sec. 3(g), RA 9285, Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004

Commercial Farms. Private agricultural lands which are devoted to commercial livestock, poultry and swine raising, and aquaculture including saltbeds, fishponds and prawn ponds, fruit orchards, vegetable and cutflower farms, and cacao, coffee and rubber plantations. Note that these commercial farms are also subject to government acquisition upon payment of just compensation under the agrarian reform program. (Sect. 11, RA 6657, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law

Commodatum. A contract of loan characterized by the delivery of a non-consumable thing to another for the latter’s use for a certain time with the obligation to return to it. Note that this contract is essentially gratuitous with the ownership of the thing lent remaining with the lender. 

Common Carrier. A person, association, firm or corporation engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water or air transportation, offering its services to the public. (Art. 1732, Civil Code

Common Law. The system of jurisprudence, which originated from England, that evolved from case law or judicial precedents rather than legislative enactments from which legal rules are derived and enforced. Thus, the phrase of common law denotes the implementation of a law that is not derived from statute. 

Common Law Marriage. Usually referred to as Live-in Relationship, a union of two people who agree to live together as man and wife without the benefit of legal or formal ceremony. See Cohabitation.

Common Reputation. Reputation that has been in existence previous to the controversy concerning facts of public or general interest that are more than 30 years old, or respecting marriage or moral character, that may be admissible in evidence. Note that monuments and inscriptions in public places may be received as evidence of common reputation. (Sec. 41, Rule 130)

Common Stock. A stock which represents the residual ownership interest in the corporation, a basic class of stock ordinarily and usually issued without extraordinary rights or privileges that entitles the shareholders to only a pro rata division of profits.

Communal Forest. A tract of land set aside by the government for the use of the residents of a municipality from which said residents may cut, collect and remove forest products for their personal use conformably with existing laws and regulations. 

Community of Property. All the property owned by the spouses at the time of the celebration of their marriage or acquire thereafter. (Art. 8 and 91, Family Code)

Company Union. An illegitimate labor organization that is dominated or controlled by the employer. Note that the employer can be held culpable for unfair labor practice for fomenting or organizing such a union. (Art. 212(i), Labor Code)

Compenable Illness. Any illness which is definitely accepted as an occupational disease listed by the Employees’ Compensation Commission or any illness caused or aggravated by employment subject to proof by the employee that the risk of contracting the same is increased by the conditions in the workplace. (Bonilla vs. CA, 340 SCRA 760)

Compensatory Damages. See Actual Damages.

Complaint. Generally, it is the pleading which alleges the plaintiff ‘s causes of action. The names and addresses of the plaintiff and defendant must be stated in the complaint. In criminal law, it refers to the sworn written statement charging a person with an offense. (Sec. 3, Rule 6 and Sec. 3, Rule 110)

Completeness test. The law must be complete in all essential terms and conditions so that there is nothing for delegate to do except enforce it.

Complex Crime. A single criminal act resulting in the commission of two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when offense is a necessary means for committing the other. Note that in such cases, the penalty for the more serious crime shall be imposed in its maximum period. (Art. 48, RPC, amended by Act 4000)

Composition in Insolvency. An agreement whereby the creditors of an insolvent agree accept a certain percentage of their claims in full settlement of such claims. It is method of dividing the estate of the insolvent among his creditors. (Sec. 63, Act 1956, The Insolvency Act)

Compressed Work Week. An energy-saving labor productivity scheme which provides for an alternative arrangement whereby the normal workweek is reduced to less than six  days but the total number of normal work hours per week shall remain at 40 or 48 hours, as the case may be. The normal workday is increased to more that eight hours without corresponding overtime premium. This scheme can be adjusted accordingly in cases where the normal workweek of the firm is five days. (Department Advisory No. 22 (DOLE), series of 2004, Implementation of Compressed Workweek Schemes)

Compromise. A contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid litigation or put an end to one already commenced. (Art. 2028, Civil Code)

Compulsory Arbitration. The quasi-judicial process of settling labor disputes by the NLRC initially through  the labor arbiters, or through the certification of a labor dispute by the Secretary of the DOLE when  it affects an industry indispensable to the national interest. 

Compulsory Counterclaim. One which, being cognizable by the regular courts, arises out of or is connected with the transaction or occurrence constituting the subject matter of the opposing party’s claim and does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties of whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction. Note that it must be within the jurisdiction of the court both as to the amount and the nature thereof, except that in an original action before the regional trial court, the counterclaim may be considered compulsory regardless of the amount. (Sec. 7, Rule 7)

Compulsory Heir. A forced heir, i.e., an heir for whom the law has reserved a part of the testator’s property which he cannot dispose of. The surviving spouse and children are examples of compulsory heirs. (Arts. 886 and 887, Civil code)

Conclusive Presumption. An assertion of a fact that is deemed to be true without the need further proof. (Sec. 2, Rule 131)

Conclusiveness of Judgment. A doctrine stating that a fact or question which in issue in a former suit and that was judicially passed upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction conclusively settled by the judgment therein as far as the parties to that action and persons in privity with them are concerned, and cannot again be litigated in any future action between such parties or their privies in the same court or any other of concurrent jurisdiction on either the same or different cause of action, while the judgment remains unreversed by proper authority. (Cayana vs. CA, 426 SCRA 10 Oropesa Marketing Corporation vs. Allied Bank, 393 SCRA 278)

Concubinage. An offense committed by a husband who keeps a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or has sexual intercourse with a woman who is not his wife under scandalous circumstances, or who cohabits with her in any other place. (Art. 334, RPC)

Concurrence of Credits. This situation occurs, usually in an insolvency proceeding, when the same specific property of the debtor or all of his property is being claimed by several creditors.

Condition Precedent. Or Conditio Sine Qua Non, an indispensable requirement without which a thing or matter cannot proceed to fruition or completion.

Comdominium. An interest in real property consisting of a separate interest in a unit in a residential , industrial or commercial building, and an undivided interest in common, directly or indirectly, in the land on which it is located and in other common areas of the building. (Sec. 2, RA 4726, Condominium Act)

Conduct Unbecoming. A term that is applied to a broad range of transgressions of rules not only of social behavior but of ethical practice or logical procedure or prescribed method. (Zacarias vs. NAPOLCOM, 414 SCRA 387

Confession. The declaration of an accused acknowledgment his guilt of the offense charged, or of any offense necessarily included therein. It can be used against him in evidence. (Sec. 33, Rule 130)

Confession and Avoidance. An answer or a pleading filed by party who, while admitting the allegations against him, either expressly or by implication, asserts matters or facts which render the “confession” ineffective, excusable inadmissible or void.

Conflict of Interest. A situation which arises when a public official or employer is a member of a board, or a substantial stockholder of a private corporation or business, or his rights or duties therein, may be opposed to or affected by the faithful performance of official duty. For example, a public official or employee should not have any financial or material interest in any transaction which requires the approval of his office. (Sec. 3(i) and Sec. 7(a), RA 6713,Code  of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees)

Conjugal Partnership of Gains. A marriage settlement whereby both husband and wife place in a common fund the proceeds, products, fruits and income from their separate properties and those acquired by either or both spouses through their efforts or by chance. The net gains or benefits obtained by either or both spouses shall be divided equally between them upon the dissolution of the marriage, unless otherwise agreed in the marriage settlements. (Art. 106, Family Code)

Conjugal Property. See Conjugal Partnership of Gains. Note that under Art. 106 of the Family Code, all property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be conjugal.

Consent. In contract law, is manifested by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the contract. The offer must be certain and the acceptance absolute. Note that a qualified acceptance constitutes a conter-offer. (Art. 1319, Civil Code 

Consent Judgment. A compromise agreement between the parties to end further litigation by having the same force and effect as a judgment by the court. Thus, once approved, it has the force of res judicata with respect to the contentious issues in the case. Such a judgment, as a rule, is immediately executory. (Del Rosario vs. Madayag and Leviste, 247 SCRA 767; Central Bank vs. CA, 61 SCRA 348; Pasay City vs. Manila, 132 SCRA 156)

Consented Abduction. The abduction of a virgin over 12 and under 18 years of age, carried out with her consent but with lewd designs by the abductor. (Art. 343, RPC)

Consequential Damages. Damages caused by the injury which may not be evident at the time when the injury was actually inflicted or caused, such as loss of income. Note that civil liability may arise in such a case for which restitution or indemnification may be exacted. (Art. 104, RPC)

Consignation. The act of depositing the thing due with the court or judicial authorities whenever the creditor cannot accept or refuses to accept payment. It generally requires a prior tender of payment. (Heirs of Luis Bucus vs. CA, 371 SCRA 295)

Consignment. A mode of distribution through a dealer or agency, that is, the consignee, which ordinarily does not involve the transfer of title to the goods since they may be returned if unsold. For example, the sale of newspapers and magazines to a news dealer who will distribute or re-sell them but subject to the return of unsold copies. 

Consolidation. A process by which two or more corporations unite to form a new single corporation. (Sec. 76, BP 68, Corporation Code)

Conspiracy. It exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Note that conspiracy by itself is not a crime unless there is a specific provision of law making it so, such as treason, rebellion, or sedition. It may, however, aggravate or qualify a felony. 

Constituent Assembly. Refers to the Senate and the House of Representatives when they sit down together to propose any amendment to, or revision of the Constitution, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members. (Sec. 1, Art. XVII, Constitution

Constitution. The document which serves as the fundamental law of the state. (V. Sinco, Philippine Political Law, 11th ed., p.68-70); that written instrument enacted by direct action of the people by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited and defined, and by which those powers are distributed among the several departments for their safe and useful exercise for the benefit of the body politic (Malcolm, Philippine Constitutional Law, p.6).

Construction Dispute. A dispute between or among the parties in a construction project. If there is agreement to arbitrate such a dispute, the governing law is EO 1008, otherwise known as the Construction Industry Arbitration Law. 

Constructive Contempt. A form of indirect contempt, i.e., one committed outside the court’s presence but which tends to belittle, degrade, obstruct, interrupt or embarrass the court which is tantamount to a misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the administration of justice. (Delima vs. Gallardo, 77 SCRA 2886)

Constructive Delivery. A general term comprehending all those acts which, although not conferring physical possession of the thing, have been legally interpreted as equivalent to acts of real delivery. A good example is the giving of the key to the house as constructive delivery of the house from the seller to the buyer. (Banawa vs. Mirano, 97 SCRA 517

Constructive Dismissal. The “resignation” of an employee who is considered to do so because of an act of clear discrimination, or disdain by an employer which becomes so unbearable that the employee is left with no choice but to forego his continued employment. It also refers to an ostensibly lawful act by the employer which, in fact, translates into unbearable condition for the employee leaving him no option but to forego his employment, e.g., unfair demotion, geographical transfer, or an undesirable change of functions or duties, or acts of clear discrimination. (PESR vs. Paramio, 427 SCRA 732; Philamgen vs. Gremaje, 442 SCRA 274

Constructive Fraud. The unintentional commission or omission of an act that is legally required which results in damage or injury to another. An example is when a debtor transfers his assets impairing the rights of his creditors, that conveyance can be set aside even if the debtor did not intend to prejudice his creditors’ rights in the premises. 

Constructive Notice. Notice that is presumed by law to have been communicated to the party concerned and ought to be known by him regardless that it has not been personally or actually served. Notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation is an instance where the party concerned is considered as having been notified by fiction of law. 

Constructive Service. The delivery of a pleading or notice that is considered to have been legally served on its intended recipient even if not actually received in person by him. It is also known as substituted service which can be done by registered mail or publication in a newspaper of general circulation. 

Consumer. A natural person who is a purchaser, lessee, recipient or prospective purchaser, lessor or recipient of consumer products, services or credit. (Sec. 4(n), RA 7394, Consumer Act

Consumer Credit. A credit extended by a creditor to a consumer for the sale or lease of any consumer product or service, under which part or all of the price or payment, therefore, is payable at some future time, whether in full or in installments. (Sec. 4(o),RA 7394, Consumer Act

Consumer Loan. A loan made by the lender to a person which is payable in installments for which a finance charge is or may be imposed. (Sec. 4(p), RA 7394, Consumer Act)

Consumer Products and Services. Goods, services and credits, debts or obligations which are primarily for personal, family, household or agricultural purposes, which shall include but not limited to food, drugs, cosmetics, and devices. (Sec. 4(q), RA 7394, Consumer Act

Consummated Felony. A felony or a crime is deemed consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present. (Art. 6, RPC)

Contempt of Court. It is a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court—such conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect of, to interfere with, or prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during litigation. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience to the court’s order but such conduct which tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the administration of justice. (Halili vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 136 SCRA 112

Contiguous Zone. Extends up to 12 nautical miles from the territorial sea.  Although not part of the territory, the coastal State may exercise jurisdiction to prevent infringement of customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws.

Continental Shelf. The seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond a coastal state’s territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory. 

Contingent Fee Agreement. A no recovery, no fee agreement between a lawyer and a client, i.e., if the lawyer wins his case, he acquires a right to whatever amount stipulated between him and his client. See also Champertous Contract. 

Continuing Crime. A single crime which results from a plurality or series of the same or related felonious acts over a period of time, characterized by a unity of criminal intent or purpose, which means that two or more violations of the same penal provisions are united in one and the same intent or resolution leading to the perpetration of the same criminal purpose or aim. An example is illegal recruitment or a pyramiding scheme which are crimes designed to victimize as many people as possible, or a theft of two items belonging to different owners. This is also referred to as Delito Continuado.

Continuing Guaranty. One which covers all transactions, including those arising in the future, which are within the description or contemplation of the contract of guaranty, until the expiration or termination thereof. (SBTC vs. Cuenca, 341 SCRA 781

Continuous Easement. An easement the use of which is or may be incessant, without the intervention of any act of man. (Art. 651, Civil Code)

Contract. A meeting of the minds between two persons whereby one binds himself, with respect to the other, to give something or render some service. Note that there is no contract unless the following requisites concur: (a) consent; (b) subject matter; and (c) cause of the obligation. (Arts. 1305 and 1318, Civil Code)

Contract of Sale. An agreement whereby one of the contracting parties obligates himself to sell the property exclusively to the buyer upon fulfillment of the terms previously agreed upon. In the meantime, he retains ownership of the subject matter—even if is should already have been delivered to the prospective buyer. 

Contract-Add-and-Operate. A contractual arrangement whereby the project proponent adds to an existing infrastructure facility which it is renting from the government. It operates the expanded project over an agreement franchise period. There may or may not be a transfer arrangement in regard to the facility. (Sec. 2(g), RA 7718, Build-Operate-Transfer Law

Contract Bar Rule. The period during which the majority status of the incumbent bargaining agent may not be questioned or subjected to a certification election. (Art. 253-A, Labor Code). See Freedom Period.

Contractor. A person who, in the pursuit of his independent business, undertakes to do a specific job or piece of work for other persons, using his own means and methods without submitting himself to control as to the petty details. The true test of a contractor is that he renders service in the course of an independent occupation, representing the will of his employer only as to the result of his work, and not as to the means by which it is accomplished. (Sec. 191, NIRC; CIR vs. CTA, 134 SCRA 49)

Contributory Negligence. A mitigating circumstance in criminal prosecutions for negligence where it can be shown that the injury or damage suffered by the offended party was caused in part by his own failure to observe the necessary precaution. 

Conventional Redemption. This takes place when the vendor reserves the right to repurchase the thing sold, with the obligation to return the price of the sale, the expenses of the contract and other necessary and useful expenses made on the thing sold by the vendee. (Arts. 1601 and 1616, Civil Code)

Cooling-off Period. In labor law, the period of time that both parties to a labor dispute must observe before carrying out a strike or imposing a lockout to afford each contending party more time to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to their problem; the required number of days that must elapse between the filing of the notice to strike and 30 days in the case of an economic strike, for the purpose of allowing tempers to cool down and to give a chance for reconciliation and mediation work.

Co-ownership. One’s proprietary interest or share of an undivided thing or right that belongs to different persons. (Art. 484, Civil Code)

Copyright. The exclusive right to publish and reproduce, and to sell, license or otherwise exploit, a literary, artistic or other work of the mind. (Sec. 4.1, RA 8923, Intellectual Property Code)

Corporal Punishment. Any kind of physical punishment inflicted on the body as distinguished from pecuniary punishment or fine.

Corporate Farms. Agricultural lands devoted to farming which are owned or operated by private corporations or other business associations.

Corporate Rehabilitation. A summary and non-adversarial judicial proceeding in rem by which a debtor corporation suffering from financial difficulties that can lead to its insolvency or bankruptcy, or its creditors holding at least 25 percent of its liabilities, may petition the court having jurisdiction for the distressed corporation to be afforded the opportunity to rehabilitate itself financially so that it can liquidate or pay off its debts and obligations. In other words, it refers to an administrative or judicial process denoting a continuance of corporate life and activities in an effort to restore and reinstate the corporation to its former position of successful operation and solvency. (AM 00-8-10-SC, Dec. 15, 2000; Ruby Industrial Corporation vs. CA, 284 SCRA 445)

Corporation. An artificial being created by operation of law, having the rights of succession and the powers, attributes, and properties expressly authorized by law or incident of its existence. (Sec. 2, BP 68, Corporate Code)

Corporation by Estoppel. An association that passes itself off as a corporation, its members knowing that it does not have the authority to act like one. Its members will be exposed to liability as general partners for all debts, liabilities, and damages arising as a result thereof, and they cannot interpose the lack of a corporate personality as a defense precisely for that reason.

Corporation Sole. A corporation formed by the chief or head of a religious denomination for the purpose of administering and managing as trustee, its affairs, property and temporalities. (Sec. 110, BP 68, Corporation Code)

Corporators. The persons who compose a compose a corporation, whether as stockholder or members.

Corpus Delicti. A Latin term which refers to “the body of the crime,” i.e., the facts constituting or proving the commission of an offense. 

Corrective Damages. Amount of monetary compensation that is imposed by the court by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or actual damages. It is also known as exemplary damages. (Art. 2229, Civil Code)

Corruption of Minors. A crime committed by any person who promotes or facilitates the prostitution or corruption of persons under age to satisfy the lust of another, i.e., the act of “pimping” minors. (Art. 340, RPC; Sec. 5, RA 7610, Child Abuse Law) 

Corruption of Public Officials. A crime committed by any person who shall have made the offers or promises or given the gifts or presents in acts constituting bribery in any of its forms. (Art. 212, RPC)

Costs of Suit. In law, they comprise the fees and indemnities in the course of judicial proceedings, whether fixed or unalterable amounts previously determined by law or regulations in force, including those amounts which are not subject to schedule.

Counsel de Oficio. A lawyer appointed by the Court to render free legal assistance to an indigent litigant who cannot afford to pay for legal representation. It is in pursuance of the mandate under Sec. 11, Article III of the Constitution, which states: “Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.”

Counterclaim. Any claim for money or other relief which a defendant party may have against an opposing party. (Sec. 6, Rule 6)

Coup d’etat. A swift attack, accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, directed against duly constituted authorities of the government, or any military camp or installation, communications networks, public utilities or other facilities needed for the exercise and continued possession of power, singly or simultaneously carried out anywhere in the Philippines by any person or persons, belonging to the military or police or holding any public office or employment, with or without civilian support or participation, for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state power. (Art. 134-A, RPC as amended by RA 6968

Court-annexed Mediation. A process conducted under the auspices of the court, after such court has acquired jurisdiction of the dispute. (Sec. 3(1), RA 9285, Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004)

Court-referred Mediation. A process where the parties to a pending case are directed by the court to submit their dispute to a neutral third party, called the mediator, who works with them to reach a settlement of their controversy resulting in a compromise agreement on the basis of which the court will render judgment. (Sec. 3(m), RA 9285, Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004)

Craft. In criminal law, an aggravating circumstance characterized by trickery and cunning on the part of the offender in his commission of the offense. (People vs. Juliano, 95 SCRA 511; Art. 14(14), RPC)

Crime Syndicate. See Organizational Crime Group.

Criminal Action. A proceeding in court by which the State prosecutes a person for an act or omission punishable by law. (Sec. 3(b), Rule 1)

Criminal Contempt. Contempt of court that consists of conduct directed against the authority and dignity of a court or of a judge, as in unlawfully assailing or discrediting the authority and dignity of a court or a judge or in doing a forbidden act. (People vs. Godoy, 243 SCRA 64)

Criminal Jurisdiction. The authority to hear and try a particular offense and impose the punishment for it. (People vs. Mariano, 71 SCRA 600)

Criminal Law. That branch of law which defines crimes and criminals and provides for their punishment.

Criminal Liability. The liability incurred by a person who commits a felony even if the wrongful act done is different from what he intended, or when he performs an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means. (Art. 4, RPC)

Cross Examination. Examination of the witness by the adverse party as to any matters stated in the direct examination, or connected therewith, with sufficient fullness and freedom to test his accuracy and truthfulness and freedom from interest or bias, or the reverse, and to elicit all important facts bearing upon the issue. (Sec. 6, Rule 132)

Cross-claim. Any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein. (Sec. 8, Rule 6)

Crossed Check. A check that will not be encashed by the bank because by “crossing” it, the drawer is directing the bank to credit the amount of the check to the account of the payee only who, in turn, may withdraw said amount from his account.

Cruelty. As an aggravating circumstance, it means that the wrong done in the commission of the crime is deliberately augmented by causing another wrong which is not necessary for its commission, e.g., sadism or unnecessarily inflicting moral and physical pain. (Art. 14(21), RPc; People vs. Luna, 58 SCRA 198; People vs. Llamera, 51 SCRA 48)

Culpa Aquiliana. Civil liability arising from fault or negligence which usually results from the commission of a tortuous act or quasi-delict.

Culpa Contractual. Civil liability resulting from fault or negligence in the performance of a contractual obligation.

Curative Statute. A law that is enacted to cure defects in a prior law or to validate legal proceedings, instruments or acts of public authorities which would otherwise be void for want of conformity with certain existing legal requirements. 

Currency. All Philippine notes and coins issued or circulating in accordance with RA 7653, the law creating the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Custodia Legis. A Latin phrase which means “in the custody of the law”, that is, in the lawful and physical possession of a court or public officer in obedience to a judicial or administrative order.

Custodial Investigation. The investigation of a person who has been arrested or detained, or “invited” by law enforcement authorities to answer questions in connection with a crime he is suspected to have committed. This is the initial stage of a criminal investigation whereby the police or prosecutors is trying to determine whether or not there is probable cause or a prima facie case against the accused or person held in custody for the purpose of filing the necessary information or releasing the accused. The term custodial investigation includes the practice of issuing an “invitation” to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed, without prejudice to the liability of the “inviting” officer for any violation of law. This is also the stage during which a person arrested must be informed of his constitutional rights. (Rule 115; Sec. 2, RA 7438, Rights of Persons under Custodial Investigation). See Miranda Doctrine.


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