University of the Philippines College of Law

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Coordinates: 14°39′23″N 121°4′19″E / 14.65639°N 121.07194°E / 14.65639; 121.07194

University of the Philippines College of Law
University of the Philippines College of Law.png
Parent schoolUniversity of the Philippines Diliman
EstablishedJanuary 12, 1911
School typePublic
DeanEdgardo Carlo Vistan II[1]
LocationMalcolm Hall, Osmeña Avenue, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Faculty20 (full-time)
79 (part-time)[2]
Bar pass rate83.91% (2018)[3]

The University of the Philippines College of Law (often referred to as UP Law) is the law school of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Formally established in 1911 in UP Manila, it is the third oldest continually-operating law school in the Philippines.[4][5][6] Since 1948, it has been based in UP Diliman in Quezon City, the flagship of the UP System's eight constituent universities. The college also holds extension classes at the Bonifacio Global City campus of UP Diliman in Taguig[7] and the Iloilo City campus of UP Visayas.[8]

UP Law is noted for having produced the largest number of bar topnotchers and maintaining one of the highest bar passing rates among law schools in the Philippines.[9][10]


George A. Malcolm is commemorated in a plaque that graces the front entrance of the college.
Deans of the
University of the Philippines
College of Law
George A. Malcolm, 1908-1911
Jorge Bocobo, 1911-1934
Jose A. Espiritu, 1934-1941
Vicente G. Sinco, 1941-1958
Vicente Abad Santos,1958–1969
Perfecto V. Fernandez, 1969–1970 (officer-in-charge)
Irene Cortes, 1970–1978
Froilan M. Bacungan, 1978–1983
Bartolome S. Carale, 1983–1989
Pacifico A. Agabin, 1989–1995
Merlin M. Magallona, 1995–1999
Raul Pangalangan, 1999–2005
Salvador T. Carlota, 2005–2008
Marvic Leonen, 2008-2011
Danilo Concepcion, 2011–2018
Fides C. Cordero-Tan, 2018–2021
Edgardo Carlo L. Vistan II, 2021–present

It was George Malcolm who had first proposed the establishment of the College of Law within the University of the Philippines system. However, the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines had initially resisted the proposal. Malcolm thus arranged for the Manila YMCA to offer law courses, which commenced in 1910. Malcolm acted as the Secretary of these law courses. Within a year, the Board of Regents relented and the University of the Philippines adopted these classes by formally establishing the College of Law on January 12, 1911.[12] The college was formally opened in with fifty (50) Filipino and American students.[13]

Justice Sherman Moreland of the Philippine Supreme Court, the first acting Dean of the college, eventually declined to take on the position full-time.[14] He was thus replaced by Malcolm, who served until his appointment as an Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court in 1917.[citation needed]

In 1964, the University of the Philippines Law Center was established as an agency attached to the college of law, the University of the Philippines Law Center was created to conduct continuing legal education programs, as well as legal research and publications.[15]

In the 1960s up to the 1980s, the four-year law program consisted of one-hundred-twenty-two (122) units which emphasize the eight bar subjects listed in the Revised Rules of Court: civil law, criminal law, remedial law, legal ethics and legal forms, commercial law, political law, tax law, labor law, public corporation and public officers, and international law.[16] The program also included non-bar subjects such as legal history, legal bibliography, statutory construction, jurisprudence, trial techniques, thesis and legal research, legal medicine, and practice court.[13]

In addition to Philippine laws and jurisprudence, foreign legal materials from Spain, the United States and other Asian countries were integrated into the curriculum. Students were introduced to basic principles of Roman civil law, English common law, and other international legal systems.[17]

In 1988, the college launched a core-elective curriculum, permitting law students to enroll up to twenty (20) percent of their total academic load for elective subjects. The effort was made to incorporate specializations in legal education.[13] In 1989, the college followed a revised model law curriculum adopted by the Philippine Department of Education. The program composed of 51 subjects (124 academic units) which took effect in 1990. It offered additional non-bar subjects such as legal profession, legal ethics, legal counselling, legal research, and legal writing.[13]

In recognition of the college as "the country’s premier institution in providing quality legal education" and in honor of its "significant contributions to national development since it was founded in 1911," President Benigno Aquino III declared 2011 as the "University of the Philippines College of Law Centennial Year"[18] and authorized, among others, the creation of commemorative stamps by the Philippine Postal Corporation.[19]

Programs and admissions[edit]

The college first conferred the Juris Doctor (J.D.) on its April 2008 graduates, after a change in degree title was approved by the U.P. administration the previous year. Like the majority of law schools in the country, UP used to provide the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), a standard four-year law program covering all subjects in the bar exams, until the change to J.D. was made in order to reflect more accurately the U.P. law program being a "professional as well as a post baccalaureate degree."[20] The college has relaunched its Master of Laws program in August 2019.[21]

At an average of 8%,[22] the college has the lowest admission rate[23] among Philippine law schools. The criteria for admissions include the aggregate of weights assigned to an applicant's scores in the Law Aptitude Examination and undergraduate General Weighted Average (GWA), in addition to the scores obtained during an in-person interview with the admissions committee composed of faculty members.[22][24]

Through the Law Center, the college conducts Mandatory Continuing Legal Education programs for the members of the Philippine Bar, consisting of a series of seminars on various aspects of the legal and judicial profession offered throughout the year. The college also hosts various conferences, fora, colloquia and workshops, which serve as formal and informal channels of communication, information, and education provided by the Law Center.[25]


UP Law has been ranked as "still the best law school in the Philippines" by the Legal Education Board in its ranking of top performing law schools in 2015 based on cumulative performance of law schools in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Bar examinations.[9] It was likewise the country's top performing law school, with a passing rate of 89.73%, in the 2015 bar exams.[26]

Since 2019, UP Law is ranked 251-300 in the QS World University Rankings among all law schools in the world.[27] It is the sole Philippine law school in the list.


The UP Law Complex[edit]

Malcolm Hall[edit]

Malcolm Hall

The main offices and classrooms of the college are located inside Malcolm Hall within the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City. The building is named after Associate Justice George Malcolm, who in 1911 became the first permanent dean of the college. The building itself, one of the oldest in the Diliman campus, was designed by the noted architect Juan M. Arellano. It was built under the supervision of the construction firm Pedro Siochi and Company. It was erected shortly before the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II, but it was only after the University of the Philippines transferred its main campus to Diliman in 1948 that Malcolm Hall was actually used.

Malcolm Hall also houses the University of the Philippines Law Library, formally known as Espiritu Hall. It the largest academic law library in the country. It contains the largest and most up-to-date collection of Philippine legal materials as well as foreign statute and case books and various law journals. The library is open to U.P. law students and professors. It is also available to non-UP law students subject to proper identification and payment of library service fees.[28]

Several of the classrooms in Malcolm Hall are named after prominent graduates and faculty members, such as Ambrosio Padilla, Bienvenido Ambion, and Violeta Calvo-Drilon. There is also an airconditioned moot court resembling the trial courts in the Philippines,[29] a student lounge and an auditorium. Fronting the auditorium is the main lobby of Malcolm Hall. On its walls are inscribed a quotation from the American Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


In 2013, a historical marker was unveiled at the façade of Malcolm Hall as part of the college's centennial celebrations. In his letter to the National Historical Commission, then dean Danilo Concepcion said that the marker was installed to “inscribe in stone” the “significance and impact of the U.P. College of Law to our country’s history as a nation.”[30]

Bocobo Hall[edit]

Bocobo Hall

Adjacent to Malcolm Hall is Bocobo Hall, which houses the University of the Philippines Law Center. The Law Center was established in 1964 as an agency attached to the College of Law, for the purpose of conducting continuing legal education programs, as well as legal research and publications.[15] The Law Center is the university center for legal publishing, legal research, and law conferences.[29] It is composed of 4 Institutes, namely, the Institute of Government and Law Reform, the Institute of Human Rights, the Institute of International Legal Studies, and the Institute of Judicial Administration.[31] The Law Center also hosts the offices of the Office of the National Administrative Registrar, an agency of the Philippine government which registers all national government statutes and issuances.

To "popularize" the law, the Law Center conducts programs in legal literacy and street law ("practical law") in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), student organizations, and the local barangays. Extension programs happen in the form of barangay legal education seminars to reach the grassroots level.[32]

Henry Sy Sr. Hall[edit]

Henry Sy Sr. Hall opened in 2016 and houses the UP Bonifacio Global City campus. It serves as a satellite unit of UP Diliman. Located at the Bonifacio Global City district in Taguig, the campus hosts classes of the College of Law, and graduate courses and professional degree programs of other academic arms of UP Diliman, such as the Virata School of Business and the School of Statistics.[33]

The nine-level structure is the 17th constituent unit of the UP System and was built at a cost of around P400 million through a donation by SM Investments. The campus building is named after Henry Sy, former chairman and CEO of SM Investments.[34]

UP Visayas - Iloilo City[edit]

In September 2021, the college started offering extension classes at the Iloilo City campus of UP Visayas with a pioneer batch of 20 students.[8]

Prominent alumni[edit]

Chief Justice Reynato Puno, class of 1962

UP Law graduated many leading figures in the country's political history, including former Philippine presidents Manuel A. Roxas, José P. Laurel, Elpidio Quirino, and Ferdinand E. Marcos; incumbent Senators Franklin Drilon, Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel, Francis Pangilinan, Richard J. Gordon, and Pia Cayetano; and prominent jurists such as former chief justices Pedro Yap, Querube Makalintal, Enrique Fernando, Teresita de Castro, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Reynato S. Puno, Hilario Davide Jr., Marcelo B. Fernan, Ramon Aquino, Felix V. Makasiar, Fred Ruiz Castro, César Bengzon, Ricardo Paras, and José Yulo.[35]


The Philippine Law Journal, first published in 1914,[36] is the official law review of the college. The Law Student Government is the official student government of the college, while the Bar Operations Commission is an independent constitutional body created in February 2009 that handles the holistic support system the college provides its bar candidates during the bar season.[37]

Students who obtain a grade point average of at least 2.0 are inducted into the Order of the Purple Feather, the official honor society of the law college.[38]

Among the student-organized organizations in the college are the Schola Juris Vespertina, composed of evening students, UP Women in Law, composed of female law students, and the Paralegal Volunteers Organization, composed of student volunteers who perform paralegal work for underprivileged and under-represented sectors of society.[citation needed]

Several fraternities and sororities operate within the college: the UP Delta Lambda Sigma sorority, the UP Portia sorority, Alpha Phi Beta fraternity, and the Sigma Rho fraternity.[39] Other university-wide organizations that also operate and recruit within the college are Alpha Sigma Fraternity, Alpha Sigma Nu Sorority, Alpha Phi Omega, Pi Sigma Fraternity, UP Beta Sigma Fraternity, UP Vanguard Fraternity, and Upsilon Sigma Phi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Edgardo Carlo Vistan is new UP Law dean". Rappler. March 13, 2021. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "University of the Philippines College of Law Brochure" (PDF). University of the Philippines. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 2, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  3. ^ Cordero-Tan, Fides (May 3, 2019). "(Info-Memorandum) 2018 Bar Results" (PDF). University of the Philippines College of Law. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 14, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Daniel B. Schirmer; Stephen Rosskamm Shalom (January 1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance. South End Press. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-0-89608-275-5. Despite the fact that women are well represented in the prestigious University of the Philippines Law School...
  5. ^ Lapeña, Carmela (July 26, 2012). "UP law grads dominate list of CJ nominees". GMA News. GMA News Online. Retrieved February 26, 2017. The current, high-profile search for the next chief justice of the Supreme Court has restored some measure of pride to the nation's most prestigious law school.
  6. ^ Yap, DJ (June 29, 2016). "Morales reminds UP law grads: Be humble". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved February 26, 2017. The 105-year-old UP College of Law is one of the most prestigious law schools in the country.
  7. ^ "Classes begin August at new U.P. campus in BGC". ABS-CBN News. March 2, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "UP Law and UPV Collaborate for Juris Doctor Classes in UP Iloilo". UP Visayas. September 15, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Punay, Edu (December 4, 2015). "UP College of Law still best law school in Philippines – LEB". The Philippine Star. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  10. ^ List of members, University of the Philippines Law Alumni Association, June 2007.
  11. ^ "About the College". University of the Philippines College of Law. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  12. ^ George A. Malcolm, American Colonial Careerist, p. 96
  13. ^ a b c d Jorge R. Coquia. Legal Profession. Rex Bookstore, 1993.
  14. ^ George A. Malcolm, American Colonial Careerist, p. 97
  15. ^ a b Republic Act No. 3870, 1964.
  16. ^ Section 6, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines.
  17. ^ Jorge R. Coquia. Legal Profession. Rex Bookstore, 1993
  18. ^ "Proclamation No. 32, s. 2010". Official Gazette (Philippines). September 9, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  19. ^ "UP College of Law Centennial Commemorative Stamps". Philippine Postal Corporation. April 13, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  20. ^ "2008 Graduates to Receive JD Degree, 24 April 2008". Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  21. ^ "UP College of Law LL.M. Program - University of the Philippines". May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  22. ^ a b Concepcion, Danilo L.; Leonen, Marvic M.V.F.; Jardeleza, Concepcion (2013), In the Grand Manner: Looking Back, Thinking Forward : 100 Years of U.P. Law, University of the Philippines College of Law, p. 20, retrieved October 9, 2017, The reality is that the College of Law can accommodate no more than 200 students per year level...when they receive the applications of an average of 2,500 applicants from all over the nation.
  23. ^ Admission rate refers to the proportion of admission offers in relation to the total number of applications.
  24. ^ "Law Aptitude Examination - UP College of Law". Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  25. ^ "University of the Philippines Law Center Brochure" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  26. ^ "UP Law is "back to normal"". UP Diliman Information Office. May 12, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  27. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019: Law". QS World University Rankings. June 8, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  28. ^ Office of the Librarian, University of the Philippines Law Library, May 2006.
  29. ^ a b Office of the College Secretary, University of the Philippines College of Law, May 2006.
  30. ^ AKR (February 4, 2011). "Historical marker unveiled at College of Law". University of the Philippines Diliman. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  31. ^ The U.P. Law Complex, last accessed August 2007.
  32. ^ Line-up of activities, University of the Philippines Law Center, September–October 2006.
  33. ^ "Resilient Campus Plan - UP Bonifacio Global City". UP Resilience Institute. April 12, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  34. ^ Dumlao-Abadilla, Doris (March 1, 2019). "Henry Sy donates P400M BGC building to UP". Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  35. ^ See List of University of the Philippines College of Law alumni
  36. ^ "Boston University Libraries". Boston University's Library Catalog. Boston University. Retrieved March 31, 2008.
  37. ^ "Bar Operations Commission". UP College of Law. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  38. ^ "University of the Philippines College of Law – Students". University of the Philippines College of Law. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2008.
  39. ^ "University of the Philippines College of Law – Fraternities and Sororities". University of the Philippines College of Law. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2017.

External links[edit]