Chapter 21 The Legal Memorandum. Dante Gatmaytan. The most basic application of the lessons learned in legal method is the memorandum of law. First year law students are given a legal problem to analyze by using the analytical skills they have been developing.
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The most basic application of the lessons learned in legal method is the memorandum of law. First year law students are given a legal problem to analyze by using the analytical skills they have been developing.
This memo should present the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s case. The supervisor will make decisions based on your work and she should have a realistic picture of the law is.
Assignment: You asked me to write a memorandum of law on whether the Secretary of Justice can lawfully prevent former President Arroyo from leaving the country solely on whether the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order was officially received by the Department of Justice under the Rules of Court.
Let us use facts from the case of Yambot v. Tuquero. On May 26, 1996, the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) printed an article headlined Judge mauled me, says court employee, carrying the by-line of petitioner Volt Contreras. The article reported an alleged mauling incident that took place between respondent Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Escolastico U. Cruz, Jr. and Robert Mendoza, an administrative officer assigned at the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Makati RTC. G.R. No. 169895, March 23, 2011.
Claiming the article to be false and malicious, Judge Cruz initiated a Complaint for libel with the City Prosecutor of Makati. In particular, Judge Cruz protested the following sentence in said article:
Libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
Conciseness. An unduly long statement of facts frustrates the reader. A writer can trim the facts down after writing the issue. A review of the facts after writing the facts will help identify the facts that are not pertinent to the case. In the same way, facts that are not discussed in the analysis of the memo may be discarded as they would seem to be superfluous.
Accuracy. If the case is at its beginnings, there may be no record of facts yet. Do not assume that disputed facts will be resolved in your client’s favor. Assess the legal implications of facts that are both favorable and unfavorable. If the facts are unknown, conduct an investigation if time allows.
Organization. A disorganized statement of facts not only prevents the reader from understanding the events in question but also interferes with the understanding of your analyses. When the facts are long, a one or two sentence summary might be in order.
According to the OLC, even if interrogation techniques did constitute torture, the rules proscribing torture would be unconstitutional as infringing on the President’s inherent powers. Finally, the OLC claimed that the President could claim either self-defense or necessity to justify the use of torture. The outrage was even more justified because the OLC is one of the most elite groups of lawyers in the federal government charged to serve as the primary legal advisor to the executive branch. It is peopled by the brightest minds of the legal profession and its reputation has always been stellar and unimpeachable. After the release of the “torture memo” Critics suggested that the lawyers behind the “torture memo” were unethical and can face sanctions as war criminals.
After the release of the “torture memo” Critics suggested that the lawyers behind the “torture memo” were unethical and can face sanctions as war criminals.
There was a concerted effort for President George W. Bush to abandon the practices at Guantánamo Bay. Bar associations and members of the academe objected to the arguments that justified the Guantánamo policy, producing a massive body of work replete with criticisms. These works reflected a variety of perspectives that included international law, constitutional law, and legal ethics and succeeded in forcing the Office of Legal Counsel to abandon its Torture Memorandum. Even former OLC lawyers jumped into the fray by proposing guidelines to depoliticize their office in an effort to refurbish its reputation.