Bad answers to legal questions

Among the many things the class has learned from labor law professor Atty. Ernesto, Jr. A. Piedad, two (2) things always prove useful in everyday law school life and in any legal situation. First, throw your biases out the window when talking about the law. Second, your emotion is not relevant. Recently, as shown below, a photo of a Food Panda rider operating a bicycle on a public road was posted on the Project Jurisprudence - Philippines Facebook page. The delivery bag has a sign on it that says: "PWD [Person with Disability] I AM DEAF." The caption of the photo reads: "Are the deaf legally allowed to operate bicycles on a public road? Explain." Basically, this question requires a visit into the law on traffic and transportation and the law on persons with disabilities.

For a few followers of the page, the answer is painfully obvious. Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, those, among others, who are "speech and hearing impaired" "unable to speak but can hear" or "can partially hear" are allowed to apply for a driver's license for a motor vehicle. If this is made possible by law for motor vehicles, the more should the partially deaf be allowed to operate bicycles. On the other hand, those who are totally deaf are disqualified by law.

However, as it turned out, and as expected, many people gave answers tainted with their biases and emotions. Of course, the Internet is not law school or the Bar exams and people are free to express their thoughts and comments the best way they can and want; however, there is a lot that can be learned from the following responses. Readers are warned that the following answers, although acceptable on the Internet, are not the way law students are expected to answer their law school exams or recitation questions.

The first part of this one simultaneously appears to give an answer while actually providing none. It says: "no law, no prohibition" but that is not enough legal analysis. Yes, there is no prohibition but what else does the law say?

The second part makes more sense; it says: "Besides, he [is] riding a bicycle[.] [I]t does not require license [and is not] regulated by [the] LTO." This is a better analysis as she explores the interplay between the law's implementation, the regulatory body on motor vehicles and traffic and the facts of the problem. However, her points would definitely plunge again when the examiner reads the second paragraph where the answer criticizes the question.

Never criticize or question the question. Just answer it.

This one has no legal basis at all. A good law school exam answer has four parts: (1) answer to the question; (2) legal basis; (3) analysis between the facts of the problem and the law; and (4) conclusion.

While an analysis as to the way the deaf can sense sounds and evade accidents may have a place in other discussions, they remain to be purely hypothetical in the theoretical world of law school. The question is always as simple as: "What does the law say?"

This one does not even need any explanation. It says: "[T]here is nothing wrong and there is no BECAUSE OR REASON. [I'm] proud of them." This answer is defensive all in the wrong ways and extremely emotional. Yes, a person may be proud of persons with disabilities but that does not answer the question.

This one simply alleges that the deaf are more careful on roads, averring that the deaf can focus more as a compensation for lost hearing. It says that the deaf know their place on the road and they understand the risk. Without citing any peer-reviewed journal on the matter, it says that people with complete senses are more prone to accidents.

All these words and phrases have no direct relation to the question. "Are the deaf legally allowed to operate bicycles on a public road? Explain."

This one appeals to logic, saying the deaf have arms and legs. The answer almost found the right track, though, when it says: "They do not need [any] license [to operate] a [bicycle]." However, that is the last sentence or phrase here that makes sense or bears any significance to the question.

Again, it must be emphasized that people are free to express their thoughts and opinions on the Internet. It is a free marketplace of ideas. At the bottom, however, what this article simply wishes to convey is that law students and those who aspire to become lawyers have to understand that the way the above-shown answers (and all other similar answers) are crafted is not and should not be used as a role model.

Popular Posts