Substantive law vs. remedial law

Substantive law is that law which creates, defines regulates and extinguishes rights and obligations.

Remedial law is that law which provides the procedure or remedy for enforcement of rights and obligations through the courts of justice.Substantive law creates substantive rights and the two terms in this respect may be said to be synonymous. Substantive rights in a term which includes those rights which one enjoys under the legal system prior to the disturbance of normal relations.[1] Substantive law is that part of the law which creates, defines and regulates rights, or which regulates the rights and duties which give rise to a cause of action; that part of the law which courts are established to administer; as opposed to adjective or remedial law, which prescribes the method of enforcing rights or obtains redress for their invasion.[2]

According to Moran:
"Rules of procedure should be distinguished from substantive law. A substantive law creates, defines or regulates rights concerning life, liberty or property, or the powers of agencies or instrumentalities for the administration of public affairs, whereas rules of procedure are provisions prescribing the method by which substantive rights may be enforced in courts of justice."[3]
The Supreme Court's sole prerogative to issue, amend, or repeal procedural rules is limited to the preservation of substantive rights, i.e., the former should not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.[4] Fabian v. Hon. Desierto[5] laid down the test for determining whether a rule is substantive or procedural in nature.

It will be noted that no definitive line can be drawn between those rules or statutes which are procedural, hence within the scope of this Court's rule-making power, and those which are substantive. In fact, a particular rule may be procedural in one context and substantive in another. It is admitted that what is procedural and what is substantive is frequently a question of great difficulty. It is not, however, an insurmountable problem if a rational and pragmatic approach is taken within the context of our own procedural and jurisdictional system.

In determining whether a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court, for the practice and procedure of the lower courts, abridges, enlarges, or modifies any substantive right, the test is whether the rule really regulates procedure, that is, the judicial process for enforcing rights and duties recognized by substantive law and for justly administering remedy and redress for a disregard or infraction of them. If the rule takes away a vested right, it is not procedural. If the rule creates a right such as the right to appeal, it may be classified as a substantive matter; but if it operates as a means of implementing an existing right then the rule deals merely with procedure.[6]

[1] 60 C.J. 980.

[2] 36 C. J., 27; 52 C. J. S., 1026; See Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division), G.R. Nos. 217126-27, November 10, 2015, at 516-517.

[3] Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. I, 1952 ed., p.4.

[4] CONSTITUTION, Art. VIII, Sec. 5(5). See also Ogayon v. People, 768 Phil. 272, 288 (2015) and San Ildefonso Lines, Inc. v. CA, 352 Phil. 405, 415-416 (1998).

[5] 356 Phil. 787 (1998).

[6] Fabian v. Desierto, 356 Phil. 787 (1998) at 808-809. See also Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division), G.R. Nos. 217126-27, November 10, 2015, at 517; Securities and Exchange Commission v. Judge Laigo, et al., 768 Phil. 239 269-270 (2015); Jaylo, et al. v. Sandiganbayan. et al., 751 Phil. 123, 141-142 (2015); Land Bank of the Phils. v. De Leon, 447 Phil. 495, 503 (2003); and Bernabe v. Alejo, 424 Phil. 933, 941 (2002).

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