Doctrines Civil Law

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Civil Law Doctrines

Lex Prospicit, Non Respicit

A legal maxim that means “the law looks forward, not backward.” Article 4 of the New Civil Code provides, “Laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided.” 

Hence, laws are presumed to be prospective unless the intent of the legislature to give them a retroactive effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language used. In case of doubt, it shall be resolved against retroactivity.

General Rule
The Supreme Court held that Statutes are prospective and not retroactive in their operation, they being the formulation of rules for the future, not the past. Hence, the legal maxim “lex de futuro, judex de praeterito” — the law provides for the future, the judge for the past, which is articulated in Article 4 of the Civil Code: “Laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided.” (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation vs Stockholders of Intercity Savings and Loan Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 181556 December 14, 2009)

(1) When the law itself expressly provides except:
(a) Ex post facto law
(b) Impairment of contract
(2) In case of remedial statutes
(3) In case of curative statutes
(4) In case of laws interpreting others
(5) In case of laws creating new rights [Bona v.
Briones (1918)]
(6) Penal Laws favorable to the accused

Civil Law Doctrines

The Doctrine of Renvoi

The Renvoi Doctrine is a legal doctrine which applies when a court is faced with a conflict of law and must consider the law of another state, referred to as private international law rules. This can apply when considering foreign issues arising in succession planning and in administering estates.

In this case, the Supreme Court found that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen of California, is the Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, the appellant, should be governed by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California, not by the internal law of California.

Aznar, Christensen vs. Garcia, GR No. L-16749