When is a case moot and academic?

A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. Generally, courts decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on ground of mootness. This pronouncement traces its current roots from the express constitutional rule under paragraph 2 of Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution that "[j]udicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable xxx." Judicial power, in other words, must be based on an actual justiciable controversy at whose core is the existence of a case involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. Without this feature, courts have no jurisdiction to act.

READ: Judge's retirement does NOT render admin. charge moot, academic.

READ: Symbolic function of judicial review.

True, exceptions to the general principle on moot and academic have been developed and recognized through the years. At present, courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if it feels that: (a) there is a grave violation of the Constitution; (b) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved; (c) the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and (d) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.


[1] David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, G.R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006.

[2] Concurring and dissenting opinion of Justice Arturo Brion in The Province of North Cotabato v. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain (GRP), G.R. No. 183591, October 14, 2008.