Legal Blogs Cited in Court Decisions

Here’s something interesting.

Legal blogs, referred to as “blawgs” by some, are being cited in court decisions in the U.S. As reflected in a collection of court cases that cite legal blogs, there are 32 citations of legal blogs from 27 different cases, with 8 legal blogs being cited (as of 6 August 2006). 3L Epiphany notes that:

As already mentioned, legal blogging allows for post-citation commentary about the very case that cited the blog. Furthermore, a blog can enable interested readers to discuss the opinion in the comments. At the time of this (3L Epiphany) blog post, the post at the Volokh Conspiracy discussing Harper has 45 comments. The original post, the one cited by the Harper dissent (from the denial of rehearing en banc), now has 258 comments. A court citation to a legal blog thus allows readers of the blog to discuss the decision both on the original (cited) post and in subsequent posts about the case.

In my opinion, however, the citation of a legal blog or “blawg” in Philippine court cases, while not impossible, is not going to happen in the immediate future.

Legal citations are anchored on laws, jurisprudence and book authors like Tolentino (Civil Code), as well as Justices Moran, Feria, Paras, Regalado and Herrera.

Factual matters, on the other hand, are generally limited to evidence presented in court. Of course, there are matters of “common knowledge” that a court may take judicial notice of, but the court’s discretion is subject to certain limitations. In the administrative case of State Prosecutors vs. Muro (A.M. No. RTJ-92-876, 19 September 1994, 236 SCRA 505), the Supreme Court dismissed a Judge from the service on the ground, among others, of relying on a newspaper account in dismissing 11 cases against the accused.


2 thoughts on “Legal Blogs Cited in Court Decisions

  1. AvatarDJB

    Philippine Commentary is not really a BLAWG, but modesty aside, the Philippine Supreme Court cited a blog post of mine (that was also printed in PDI) in its decision invalidating the Comelec contract for Automated Counting Machines. See Footnote 54 of Panganiban’s ponencia inITF vs. Comelec(Jan 13 2004)where he quotes the article. I posted about this recently:here.

  2. FredFred

    Dean, thank you for bringing it up. While the Philippine Commentary is not strictly a blawg, a lot of your articles deal with legal matters (all insightful, I may add). This is precisely the reason why I asked for your permission to reprint some of your articles in this Forum – for instance, a special court to oversee the anti-terror law.

    Still, I look forward to the day when a court decision makes reference to the blog, citing the url or linking to it. Hopefully, the ponente will discover that a particular article is printed both on paper and in a blog. If (or when?) the blog is cited, rather than or together with the newspaper article, then we will know that serious blogs and bloggers are taken seriously by the court.


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