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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 2 No 1 (2000)

Common Law Elements in the Philippine Mixed Legal System

Soliman M Santos Jr has a BA in History (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines and a LLB from the University of Nueva Caceres, and is a LLM Candidate at the University of Melbourne. He is a Filipino lawyer, legislative consultant and peace advocate. His current areas of interest are the peace process with rebel groups, comparative constitutional law especially Islamic and indigenous customary law, and international humanitarian law, including war crimes and the landmines ban.

There is more common law than is imagined, even by Filipino lawyers, in the Philippine mixed legal system. The mix reflects certain constituencies in the Philippines: the Westernised Christian majority, the Muslims, the indigenous mountain tribes, and even the rebel constituencies. After a brief overview of the mixed legal system, this article traces the emergence of common law in the Philippines during the American period (1900-46) and charts its continuing existence in an analysis of the present ordering of Philippine law, especially in the areas of constitutional, adjective, commercial, revenue and industrial law. The article demonstrates that even in the bastion of the civil law tradition in the Philippines, the Civil Code, there are significant common law influences in the provisions on equity, estoppel, trusts, unjust enrichment, and torts.

(2000) 2(1) Asian Law 34

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