A written description of the case is known as a case digest or case brief. Several issues can be present in a situation. Separating one issue from another and learning how the Court handled the issues in the case would benefit the student.
A full text of the case can have at most one hundred (100) pages. That is the reason why we need to make a summary of it, and the summary now is called the case digest. These case digest are actually a short version of jurisprudence. Jurisprudence are those cases already decided by the Supreme Court; they use it as bases for their future decisions. The court is adherent, they follow the decisions of the previous cases if, as much as possible, they are the same.
Today, I’m going to show you how I make a case digest.
Step 1: Read the full text comprehensively.
Probably it is the most important one. Case digest is a summary of a case; of course, you cannot summarize a case without reading and understanding the full text. So you have to read the entire case before you make a case digest.
Step 2: Identify the three (3) important parts of the case; the fact, the issue, and the ruling of the court.
Fact. This is the story of the case, or the history why the case exist. In this portion of the case digest, you are going to tell the antecedent events, remember that the facts are specific according to the full text. If you are going to make a case digest, then you have to summarize also the facts.
An example of the facts should be: A entered into a contract with B. They stipulated in their agreement that A will pay B by the end of the year, A failed to pay B.
You will only have to provide the important facts that will support your issue. You don’t need to specify everything like the time, date, places, etc. unless otherwise needed.
Issue. This is the question/s that the side of the petitioner or victim, respondent or suspect, or the Supreme Court wished to be answered, of course in accordance with our laws in the Philippines. There are a lot of issues that will be mentioned in the full text; however, you just have to choose which one to use for your case digest related to your facts.
There are different types of laws such as civil law, criminal law, statutory construction, etc. and sometimes they are all present in the full text of the case. My advice would be, “choose an issue that is related to your subject”. Our professor gave us cases with issues related to our topic, in that way, it is easier for us to identify the issues to choose and put on our case digest, because it should be in line with our topics in our subject.
An example of this should be (related to the provided fact): Whether or not A committed a breach of contract to B.
How to identify an issue? There are cases where the issues are already specified, like you can see it instantly. You can see a text like, “the petitioner raised the following issue…” it gave the issue already. However, there are some issues that are implied only in the case, it is not stated. You can identify an implied issue by reading the ruling of the court. By reading the ruling of the court, you can easily identify the issue because they will be discussing it repeatedly. There are two types of stating the issue, (1) Whether or not (example: Whether or not A committed a breach of contract to B.); and (2) stating the issue in a question form, (example: Did A committed a breach of contract to B?)
Ruling. This portion of the case digest will obtain the decision of the court, whether they dismissed the petition, they dismissed the case, they grant the petitioner, etc. To be honest, this part is easy because it is specified in the latter part of the full text. You just have to summarize the ruling and put it on your case digest. Remember to put the basis of the court and the reason why the court ended up in that decision. To justify the court’s decision, you will have to mention and apply a law. (example: according to the Article *** of the constitution…)
Read the full text comprehensively.
Try to tell the story of the case, your case digest is exactly how you understand it.
Disregard the parts of the full text that which give you a reference to previous cases or jurisprudence. (example: In accordance to...; People of the Philippines vs...)
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
There is no perfect case digest. Every digest contains different issues.
You can read and rely on the full text case provided by Lawphil. (https://www.lawphil.net/)
So, those are the important parts of the case digest. I hope you learned something from this article!
Disclaimer: I am not a professional in this field yet. I am sharing only the knowledge from the experience I get while making a case digest.
These are the links of the images I used in this article:
Lead image: https://unsplash.com/photos/ABAmxzlot8E?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
Image 1: https://unsplash.com/photos/6sl88x150Xs?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
Image 2: https://unsplash.com/photos/hPKTYwJ4FUo?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
Image 3: https://unsplash.com/photos/OkZ59BcCtDo?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
Image 4: https://unsplash.com/photos/tVkdGtEe2C4?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
Image 5: https://unsplash.com/photos/veNb0DDegzE?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
Image 6: https://unsplash.com/photos/UhpAf0ySwuk?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink