143 things to know before reading SC cases

If you are planning to go to law school, you have probably heard how much reading there is to do. It is not only the textbooks that you have to devour but, more importantly, full-text decisions of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

To put things in context, although a textbook can give you a summary of the rules and principles you have to remember, only a piece of jurisprudence (Supreme Court-decided case) can tell you how exactly the case went and exactly why the Court decided in a particular way. Many times, professors in law school require their students to read a set of cases and recite the facts, the issues and the rulings of the Court.

Aside from being humiliated during recitation, this is most probably another big culture shock for those who go to law school but did not have a lot of experience reading academic books in undergraduate school. For this reason, it would help if you know and understand the following terms and principles often cited in case law.

[1] A Quo
A reference to the previous court from where a case or matter originated. Thus, the term “court a quo” in appealed cases refers to a lower court whose decision is under review.

[2] Acquittal

A judgment by a court that the accused is found not guilty of the crime imputed to him and is, therefore, absolved from prosecution for that crime.

[3] Act of State
A sovereign act of government which cannot be the subject of a suit or be actionable in law.

[4] Action in Personam
A suit directed against specific persons and which seeks personal judgments.

[5] Action in Rem
A suit directed against the thing or property or status of a person and which seeks a judgment with respect thereto as against the whole world.

[6] Actionable
A matter or action that creates a ground for a “cause of action” or a suit at law.

[7] Actual Case or Controversy
A conflict involving opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution, one that is “definite and concrete, touching the legal relations of parties having diverse legal interests,” constituting a real and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief.

[8] Ad Litem
A Latin term which means “just for a particular action.” Thus, a guardian ad litem is a guardian appointed to represent a minor or incompetent just for that specified proceeding.

[9] Adjudicate
The act of a judge in rendering judgment, or making a decision between two opposed or competing claims, or upholding or denying a cause of action.

[10] Admission
In the law of evidence, it refers to a statement, oral or written, made by a party about the existence of a relevant fact which can be taken against him that is material in a court proceeding.

[11] Adverse Party
It usually refers to a party litigant in a case who would be adversely affected by the court’s decision.

[12] Affidavit
An ex parte statement in writing made under oath before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths, about facts which the affiant either knows of his own personal knowledge or is aware of to the best of his knowledge.

[13] Affidavit of Desistance
A sworn statement, executed by the complainant in a criminal or administrative case, that he or she is discontinuing or disavowing his complaint for whatever reason he or she may cite.

[14] Affirmative Defense
An allegation of new matter which, while hypothetically admitting the material allegations in the pleading of the claimant, would nevertheless prevent or bar recovery by him.

[15] Alias Writ
A writ issued by a court to replace one that was previously issued or failed to be enforced.

[16] Allegata et Probata
The Latin expression of a doctrine in criminal law which states that what is alleged in the information or complaint must be proven during trial; otherwise, the allegation cannot be used against the accused.

[17] Alternative Dispute Resolution
ADR for short, it refers to the procedure used to resolve a dispute or controversy, other than by adjudication of a presiding judge of a court or an officer of a government agency in which a neutral third party participates to assist in the resolution of issues. The term includes arbitration, mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, mini-trial, or any combination thereof.

[18] Amicus Curiae
A “friend of the court” whose legal learning or expertise is judicially sought to advise on matters of which a judge may be doubtful or in need of special assistance.

[19] Answer
The pleading in which a defendant sets forth his defenses against the complaint which must be filed within 15 days after service of summons.

[20] Appeal
The remedial procedure by which an aggrieved party elevates the decision of a lower court to a higher court for review and reconsideration with a view to having it reversed or modified.

[21] Appeal by Certiorari
An appeal to the Supreme Court where, generally, only questions of law are raised or involved. Note that the review by the Supreme Court is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion.

[22] Appearance
A judicial term to denote a party’s or a counsel’s voluntary submission to a court’s jurisdiction.

[23] Appellant
The party in a case who appeals a lower court’s decision to a higher court.

[24] Appellee
The prevailing party in a case against whom a decision is appealed to a higher court.

[25] Arraignment
A formal procedure in criminal prosecution “to afford an accused due process” by means of informing him of the nature and cause of the accusation against him before he is required to enter his plea of guilty or not guilty.

[26] Assignment of Errors
A recitation of specific errors claimed to have been committed by the lower court to enable the appellate court and the opposing party to determine as to what points the appellant intends to ask for a reversal of judgment.

[27] Attachment
A provisional remedy by which the property of an adverse party is taken into legal custody, either at the commencement of an action or at any time thereafter, as a security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered by the plaintiff.

[28] Best Evidence Rule
The rule that the original document itself is the best evidence of what it contains. It is only when the original document cannot be produced that a secondary or other evidence of its contents may be adduced.

[29] Burden of Evidence
The onus that a party must carry to overcome the weight of the evidence which has tilted against him. Thus, it may shift back and forth during the course of the trial depending on who is better able to sustain a prima facie case in his favor.

[30] Burden of Proof
The duty of a party to present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim or defense by the amount of evidence required by law.

[31] Capacity to Act
The power to do acts with legal effect, such as entering into contracts or suing in court, usually associated with a person who is at least 18 years old.

[32] Case at Bar
The case that is currently the subject of a particular trial or judicial proceeding.

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

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

[35] Circumstantial Evidence
Evidence which indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact-finder draws from the evidence established. It constitutes the combination of circumstances that is sufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence in criminal cases that can lead to conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

[36] 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.

[37] Civil Contempt
Contempt of court that is committed by a party who fails or neglects to do something ordered by the court or a judge for the benefit of the opposing party.

[38] Civil Liability
This term generally refers to the moneation of the claims arising out of a criminal act which consists of restitution, reparation, and indemnification for consequential damages.

[39] Civil Obligation
An obligation that gives a right of action to compel performance, as opposed to a natural obligation.

[40] Class Suit
An action filed on behalf of many persons so numerous that it is impracticable to join them 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. It is also called a “representative suit.”

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

[42] Complaint
Generally, it is the pleading which alleges the plaintiff’s cause of action. In criminal law, it refers to the sworn written statement charging a person with an offense.

[43] Conclusive Presumption
An assertion of a fact that is deemed to be true without the need of further proof.

[44] Confession and Avoidance
An answer or a pleading filed by a 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.

[45] Consent Judgment
A compromise agreement between the parties to end further litigation by having a court of competent jurisdiction approve the compromise as 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.

[46] 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 or to interfere with, or prejudice parties-litigants 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.

[47] 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.

[48] Court-Annexed Mediation
Any mediation process conducted under the auspices of the court, after such court has acquired jurisdiction of the dispute.

[49] 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.

[50] Criminal Action
A proceeding in court by which the State prosecutes a person for an act or omission punishable by law.

[51] Criminal Contempt
Contempt of court that consists of conduct directed against the authority and dignity of a court or a judge, as in unlawfully assailing or discrediting the authority and dignity of a court or a judge or in doing a forbidden act.

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

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

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

[55] 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.

[56] Decision
The adjudication or settlement of a controversy by a court of law. It goes into the roots of the controversy, makes a searching examination of the facts and issues of the case, applies the law and considers the evidence presented, and finally determines the rights of the parties.

[57] Declaratory Relief
A special civil action brought by a person interested under a deed, will, contract, or other written instrument, whose rights are affected by a statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance, or any other governmental regulation for the purpose of determining any question of construction or validity arising, and for a declaration of his rights and duties thereunder, before any breach or violation thereof occurs.

[58] Default
The failure of a defending party to file his answer within the time allowed under the Rules of Court. Such failure will make him lose his standing in court, that is, he cannot appear therein, adduce evidence and be heard, nor take part in the trial or hearing of the case.

[59] Dispositive Portion
That part of a court decision which contains the judgment or resolution of the issues subject of the complaint or petition. It usually appears as the very last paragraph in a decision as in “Petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.”

[60] Disputable Presumption
An assertion of a fact which, unless contradicted and overcome by other evidence, is deemed to be true. That a person is “innocent unless proven guilty” is an example of a disputable presumption.

[61] Dissenting Opinion
A separate opinion written by an appellate justice who differs from the opinion of the majority in deciding a case.

[62] Early Neutral Evaluation
An ADR process wherein the parties and their lawyers are brought together early in a pre-trial phase to present summaries of their cases and receive a non-binding assessment by an experienced, neutral person, with expertise in the subject or substance of the dispute.

[63] Entry of Judgment
An entry or notation in the judgment book kept by a clerk of court which indicates that the decision in the case to which it refers has become final and executory.

[64] Ex Parte
Without notice to the other party. A Latin term which means “from one side only,” referring to the exclusion of one side in the presentation of testimony or evidence in a given case or proceeding.

[65] Excess of Jurisdiction
A term which signifies that while the court, board, or officer may have jurisdiction over a case, the bounds for its lawful exercise have been transcended. It thereby becomes a fit subject for a court injunction. A ground for a special civil action where the respondent, being clothed with the power to determine the matter, oversteps his authority as determined by law.

[66] Execution
In judicial parlance, execution is the legal act which corresponds to the enforcement of a judgment by the court.

[67] Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
A legal doctrine which requires that the procedural or remedial steps in resolving claims in the forum having original jurisdiction must first be exhausted before they are elevated or brought before another forum.

[68] Fallo
A Spanish term which refers to the final judgment of the court as expressed in the dispositive portion of its order or decision.

[69] Final Judgment
A decision of the court that may no longer be appealed or elevated to a higher court having become final and executory.

[70] Final Order
A court order which disposes of the subject matter in its entirely or terminates a particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing else to be done but to enforce by execution what has been determined by the court, as opposed to an interlocutory order which does not dispose of a case completely but leaves something more to be decided upon.

[71] Forum Shopping
An improper act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum, of seeking another opinion in another forum other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari, or the institution of two or more actual actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition the one or the other court would make a favorable disposition.

[72] Hearsay Rule
Only that testimony regarding facts which a witness knows of his own personal knowledge, or that is derived from his own perception, may be admitted in evidence. Note that this general rule admits of certain exceptions, such as dying declaration, declaration against interest, and part of the res gestae.

[73] Hierarchy of Courts
A rule of procedure which states that between two courts of concurrent original jurisdiction, it is the lower court that should initially pass upon the issues of a case.
[74] Implead
To bring in a third party in a lawsuit, at the instance of either the plaintiff or the defendant, for the determination of his liability to either the plaintiff or the defendant as the case may be. The pleading for this purpose is called “impleader.”

[75] In Pari Materia
A Latin term which means “on the same topic.”

[76] In Re
Latin for “in the matter of.” It usually precedes the title of a case which is in rem or quasi in rem, e.g., probate of a will, application for a writ of habeas corpus, a petition for guardianship.

[77] Indirect Contempt
Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice not otherwise punishable by direct contempt. Note that it includes disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, or judgment of a court, or failure to obey a subpoena duly served.

[78] Interpleader
A special civil action to determine who among the conflicting claimants to the same subject matter is legally entitled thereto, brought by a person who claims no interest therein or whose interest is not disputed by the claimants, in whole or in part. It is an action to compel them to interplead and litigate their several claims among themselves.

[79] Intervenor
A person who has a legal interest in the matter under litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof who may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the action.

[80] Ipso Facto
A Latin term which means “by that very fact.”

[81] Ipso Jure
A Latin term which means “by the law itself.”

[82] Joinder of Actions
More properly, joinder of causes of action, it is the uniting of two or more demands or rights of action in one action, the statement of more than one cause of action in a declaration, or the union of two or more civil causes of action, each of which can be made the basis of a separate suit, in the same complaint, declaration or petition.

An adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or is not guilty of the offense charged, and the imposition of the proper penalty and civil liability provided for by law on the accused. It is usually the dispositive portion of a decision, but may be used interchangeably with the term decision itself.

[84] Judgment on the Merits
A decision of the court which amounts to a legal declaration of the respective rights and duties of the parties, based upon the disclosed facts.

[85] Judgment on the Pleadings
Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party’s pleading, the court may, on motion of the party, direct judgment on such pleading.

[86] Judicial Admission
A written or verbal admission made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case and thereby conclusive on him and his successors in interest. The admission does not require proof and may be contradicted or repudiated only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made.

[87] Judicial Notice
Issues of fact which do not require proof in a judicial proceeding because they are of public knowledge, capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions.

[88] Judicial Review
The underlying power of the courts to scrutinize the acts of the Executive and Legislative branches of government, as well as administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial authority on questions of law and jurisdiction, as well as their exercise of discretion.

[89] Juridical Capacity
The fitness to be the subject of legal relations. It is inherent in every natural person and is lost only through death. It is to be distinguished from “capacity to act,” which is the power to do acts with legal effect.

[90] Jurisdiction
The power or authority of a court to hear and decide a given case.

[91] Justiciable Controversy
A definite and concrete dispute touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests which may be resolved by a court through the application of a law.

[92] Justiciable Issue
A matter that falls within the jurisdiction of the courts over which they can exercise judicial power to the exclusion of either the Executive or Legislative branch of government.

[93] Law of the Case Doctrine
A term applied to an established rule that when an appellate court decides a question and remands the case to the lower court for further proceedings, the question there as settled becomes the law of the case upon subsequent appeal.

[94] Lex Loci
A Latin term which means “the law of the place,” usually referring to the place where the court sits.

[95] Lis Mota
The legal point or issue involved in a dispute that a court is called upon to resolve, the matter having been commenced and brought before it.

[96] Majority Decision

A decision arrived at by a majority of the members of an appellate court, or any of its divisions, that is considered as a decision of the whole court. It is, thus, the controlling opinion of the entire court.

[97] Mandamus
A special civil action brought by an aggrieved party against a tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglecting the performance of an act which the law specifically requires as a duty to be performed resulting from an office, trust, or station. It also covers situations of unlawfully excluding another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of commanding the respondent to do the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful act of the respondent.

[98] Mittimus

The final process for carrying into effect the decision of an appellate court, and the transmittal thereof to the court of origin that is predicated upon the finality of the judgment.

[99] Motion

An application for relief other than by a pleading. It must be in writing except those made in open court or in the course of a hearing or trial. It shall state the relief sought to be obtained and the grounds upon which it is based.

[100] Motion for Reconsideration

Referred to as MR for short, it is a pleading whereby the movant asks the court to revisit its decision which, in his view, is not supported by the facts, the law, or the evidence with a view to having it modified or reversed.

[101] Motu Proprio
A Latin term which means taking action or using one’s initiative without prodding from anyone. Note the spelling of proprio – it is not “propio.”

[102] Mutatis Mutandis
A Latin term which means “essentially the same except for minor details.”

[103] Necessary Party
One who is not indispensable but who ought to be joined as a party if complete relief is to be accorded as to those who are already parties to the case, or for a complete determination or settlement of the claim that is subject of the action.

[104] Negative Defense

A specific denial by the defendant of the material fact or facts alleged in the pleading of the claimant essential to his cause or causes of action.

[105] Negative Pregnant
A denial in a pleading which, in fact, can be interpreted as an affirmation or admission of a substantial fact that is at the heart of the issue involved.

[106] Notatu Dignum
A Latin term which refers to the presumption of regularity in the performance of a judge’s functions, hence, bias, prejudice, and even undue interest cannot be presumed, especially when weighed against a judge’s sacred obligation under his oath of office to administer justice without respect to any person and do equal right to the poor and the rich.

[107] Nunc Pro Tunc
A Latin term for “now for then,” thus a judgment or order nunc pro tunc means that it is to be given retroactive effect.
Above is a sample of a typical caption of a case promulgated by the High Court. On top, you can see the logo and the name of the Court. The most important details are the government record (G.R.) number (No.), the last names of the first parties and the date of promulgation.

Hence, the sample case above is De Lima v. Guerrero (G.R. No. 229781. October 10, 2017).

[108] Obiter Dictum
A Latin term which refers to an averment, assertion, or observation stated as an aside or a “by the way,” or said in passing by a court that is not necessary in deciding the issues before the court.

[109] Pendente Lite
A Latin term which translates into “while litigation is pending.”

[110] Per Curiam
A decision of a collegiate court acting unanimously and anonymously, usually with no dissent. The ponente or writer of such decisions is usually not identified.

[111] Plain Meaning Rule
A principle of statutory construction which states that “where the words of a statute are clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation.”

[112] Pleadings
The written statements of the respective claims and defenses of the parties submitted to the court for appropriate judgment.

[113] Ponente
A Spanish term which refers to the writer of a court’s majority decision.

[114] Precedent
In law, a decision of the Supreme Court that will serve as a rule or example to follow for courts to follow in deciding cases where the facts or circumstances in such cases are similar or identical.

[115] Prejudicial Question
One that arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in another case, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. It generally comes into play in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are both pending and there exists in the former an issue that must be preemptively resolved before the criminal action may proceed.

[116] Preliminary Attachment
A provisional remedy by virtue of which a plaintiff or other proper party may, at the commencement of the action or at any time thereafter, have the property of the adverse party taken into the custody of the court as security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered.

[117] Preliminary Injunction
A provisional order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency, or person to refrain from a particular act or acts. It may also require the performance of a particular act or acts, in which case it shall be known as a preliminary mandatory injunction.

[118] Pre-Trial
The mandatory procedure which comes before the trial or hearing of the case on the merits when the last pleading has been filed. This is for the purpose of expediting the proceedings so that the case may be promptly disposed of. At this stage, the parties will be required to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement or referral to ADR, simplication of the issues, or obtaining stipulations of facts, or the admission of facts or documents to obviate a long and tedious litigation.

[119] Prima Facie
A Latin term signifying “at first view,” referring generally to a situation or condition which – on its face – appears to be factual but may, in fact, not be.

[120] Primary Jurisdiction
A doctrine which refers to cases involving specialized disputes whose resolution should be initially acted on by an administrative or other quasi-judicial agency of special competence to deal with the issue.

[121] Pro Bono
A Latin term which means “for the public good.” It usually refers to a lawyer’s services which are extended for free, usually for a good cause or for an indigent litigant.

[122] Pro Hac Vice
A Latin term which means “for this one time only” in limiting an action or decision to the instant matter only, i.e., not meant to be a precedent or determinative of a future disposition of a similar case or problem.

[123] Pro Se
A Latin term which denotes “on his own behalf.” It is usually used in connection with the representation of one’s self in a court of law without the assistance of an attorney.

[124] Question of Fact
This refers to a disputed legal issue whose truth or falsity is a subject of inquiry. Its resolution depends on the court’s evaluation of the available evidence obtaining in a given situation. It revolves around the credibility of witnesses and the existence of relevant factual circumstances which have a bearing on the probability or improbability of the legal issue or situation which is the subject of the controversy.

[125] Question of Law
A contentious legal issue whose resolution hinges on the proper application or interpretation of a constitutional or statutory provision. A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts, or when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of the facts being admitted.

[126] Ratio Decidendi
A Latin term which refers to the underlying reason or principle which justifies a court decision. In other words, it is the reasoning why the decision is so.

[127] Ratio Legis
A Latin term which means “the reason of the law,” e.g., jaywalking is prohibited to protect pedestrians from traffic accidents, or smoking is banned in enclosed spaces to prevent second-hand lung cancer. In statutory construction, it refers to the “spirit of the law” rather than to its literal interpretation.

[128] Real Party in Interest
The party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.

[129] Recusal
A term which refers to the process in which a judge may inhibit or disqualify himself from hearing a case where his objectivity or impartiality may be called into question because of self-interest, bias or prejudice,on the objection of either party or on his own volition. It is also called “recusation.”

[130] Rejoinder
The answer of the defendant to the complainant’s reply.

[131] Relief from Judgment
It is a legal remedy whereby a party seeks to set aside a judgment rendered against him by a court when he was unjustly deprived of a hearing or was prevented from taking an appeal because of fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence.

[132] Res Gestae
Statements made by a person while a startling occurrence is taking place,or immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the circumstances thereof, may be given in evidence as part of the res gestae. So, too, statements accompanying an equivocal act material to the issue, and giving it a legal significance, may be received as part of the res gestae.

[133] Res Ipsa Loquitur
A Latin term which translates into “the thing speaks for itself,” that is, requiring no proof or further demonstration of the fact of its occurrence or existence.

[134] Res Judicata
A Latin term which refers to a case or controversy that is already decided with finality and, therefore, deemed conclusive insofar as it applies to the subject matter of the controversy until and unless it is reversed. It is an established judicial doctrine in equity which mandates that the final decision of a court adjudicating the dispute becomes the law between the parties. By extension, Supreme Court decisions on particular issues assume the force of law for any similar controversy.

[135] Rollo
The records of a case filed in a folder for their preservation while in the custody of the clerk of court.

[136] Ruling
A judicial or administrative interpretation or resolution of an issue in a case arising out of a statute, order, regulation, ordinance, or other transaction which is embodied in the dispositive portion of a decision or judgment of the court.

[137] Separate Opinion
Another written opinion by an appellate justice – which is either for or against a court’s majority decision – explaining his own position which may be in concurrence with the results only or in direct opposition to the conclusions reached by the majority. A justice of the Supreme Court, for example, may decide to write a separate opinion if he supports the result only but not the reasoning behind the decision.

[138] Shari’a
Body of ordinances and regulations governing Muslims which are principally found in the Koran and the Hadith.

[139] Sin Perjuicio Judgment
A judgment without a statement of the facts in support of its conclusion to be later supplemented by the final judgment. Its validity is questionable.

[140] Stare Decisis
A Latin expression of a legal principle which says that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument. Put another way, it means “from settled precedents, there must be no departure.” Consequently, cases already settled are meant to serve as precedents for like cases where the facts and the law involved are similar.

[141] Subjudice
A legal principle expressed in Latin which means that a certain matter is under judicial or court consideration whose result or consequence is still undetermined and, therefore, may not be an appropriate subject to comment on publicly as to its possible outcome. Any such comment may subject the commentator to contempt of court.

[142] Summary Judgment
An adjudication by the court resolving the issues in litigation to protect the complainant from sham defenses intended merely to delay or to defeat recovery,or to shield the defendant from harassment complaints filed merely for their nuisance value. It refers to a judgment which a court may render before trial but after both parties have pleaded and the court finds that there is no genuine issue between them.

[143] Traverse
A form of pleading which amounts to a denial of a factual matter alleged in the opposing party’s pleading.