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Thousands of Philippine laws in your pocket: an iOS app review

This iOS reference app on Philippine laws, for the iPhone and iPad, is a good reference app for both lawyers and non-lawyers who need to look up law-related matters.

“Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith”, says Article 3 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Thus, knowing the law is not just reserved for lawyers and law students, everyone should be aware of it.

There are thousands of Philippine laws, from the downright obscure to more controversial ones that make the headlines, such as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. Finding them is not that difficult — websites such as Chan Robles provide the full text of most laws. However, LawJuan makes the whole process of finding and reading these laws much easier.

Using this reference app for Philippine laws is incredibly easy. Thousands of laws are compiled in the LawJuan app — you can search by keyword or by number, and in seconds you will have what you’re looking for. However, you would have to know where to look — that is, whether the law is BP (Batas Pambansa), RA (Republic Act) or PD (Presidential Decree). If you just need a particular section or provision, you can manually copy-paste the text. If you want to make a quick note on a particular law, you can pull up the note function and later on access all the notes you’ve made. If you want to share it with someone, you can email the entire law as an attachment. Now, if there are certain laws that you constantly refer to, you can add them to your bookmarks for easy access later on. Right now, however, there seems to be a bug that makes the search function unresponsive when you load from your bookmarks and want to make a new search.

LawJuan has a lot of potential to grow into a full-blown research and annotation tool on Philippine laws, especially since the developer regularly updates the content with newly passed laws. The developer has mentioned plans to include a highlight function, text of implementing rules and regulations, and some other changes. A more powerful search function, one that would make it possible for laws to be searched without having to know whether it’s BP, RA or PD would be great. It would also be helpful if laws, as amended, are available, instead of manually reconciling the original law with the changes have been made to it over time. On top of this, an ability to put sticky notes or markers anywhere on the text would be even better than a general notes function.

Lawyers and law students will tell you that LawJuan is a godsend for anyone researching Philippine laws. It puts everything in one place, and makes the law easier to access and read about. Now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the developer will come out with an app that contains Philippine jurisprudence, or case law to complete the move of Philippine law to the digital age.

Download LawJuan ($9.99) for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (universal app).

Check out two other free LawJuan apps – The Constitution and Rules of Court (universal).

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