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Codification is predominant in countries that adhere to the legal system of civil law. Spain, a civil law country, introduced the practice of codification in the Philippines, which it had colonized that country. Among the codes which Spain enforced in the Philippines were the Spanish Civil Code and the Penal Code.

The practice of codification was retained during the period of American occupation, even though the United States was a common law jurisdiction. However, during the American era, judicial precedents of the Philippine Supreme Court were accepted as binding, a practice more attuned to common law jurisdictions. Eventually, the Philippine legal system emerged in such a way that while the practice of codification remained popular, the courts were not barred from employing methods of statutory construction in order to arrive at an interpretation of the codal provisions that would be binding in itself in Philippine law.

Beginning in the American era, there was an effort to revise the Spanish codes that had remained in force even after the end of Spanish occupation. A new Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1930, while a new Civil Code took effect in 1950.