An Introduction to Jurisprudence: Complete Guide

October 23, 2023

Jurisprudence is the study that deals with the fundamental principles and various concepts of law. It guides a person to understand the deeper meaning of law. The word jurisprudence is derived from the Latin term “Jurisprudentia” which means “knowledge of the law”. Basically ‘Jure’ means law and ‘prudentia’ means knowledge. Thus, the meaning of the entire word signifies a practical knowledge of law and its various applications.

The aim of Jurisprudence is to help a layman understand the deeper meaning of the law. Jurisprudence is a crucial part of the law which is entirely based on theories and various analyses. Jurisprudence focuses on the relationship of law with society, social science, and so on.

WHAT IS JURISPRUDENCE?

Jurisprudence means the study of law that takes place in a logical and philosophical manner. Jurisprudence analyses the nature of law, legal systems, legal rules, legal concepts, and legal institutions and creates a way to understand the social, political as well and cultural arenas where law operates. It is a vast field that consists of a range of perspectives which includes natural law, legal realism, critical legal studies, and so on. The study of jurisprudence helps scholars and practitioners to develop a deeper understanding of law and its importance in shaping society.

HISTORY OF JURISPRUDENCE

Jurisprudence began in the Roman Times with the Romans scrutinizing the importance of the law and the nature of the law. Although it had a restrictive approach as the ideas of law and ethics were blurred. After the fall of the Roman Empire, their set of ideas regarding jurisprudence vanished and the Christian State emerged. With the rise of Christian Rule, the concept of secularism arose. Several hypotheses and concepts were proposed by renowned personalities.

Gradually, the possibility of positive law and positive methodologies took over whereby the limits of the law were divided. With the evolution of ideologies, several jurists presented their own interpretations of jurisprudence.

In natural law, Jurisprudence was co-related with rights based on morals and divine law. In the analytical school, the law was considered as Command of Sovereignty. Every jurist had their own take on jurisprudence which we are about to discuss in the next topic.

DEFINITION BY DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHERS

There were many different meanings that were assigned to the term Jurisprudence by several philosophers. However, no single definition was universally possible to accept as Jurisprudence deals with concepts that regulate human behavior in accordance with the conduct, values, needs, and goals of every societal dimension which keeps on changing from time to time.

Nonetheless, in order to understand the concept of jurisprudence in a better way, it becomes essential to examine some of the definitions by famous philosophers.

1. John Austin’s Remark on Jurisprudence

John Austin was the founder of the Analytical School of Jurisprudence and was also considered as the Father of English Jurisprudence. He was the first jurist to term jurisprudence as a “Science of Law” which deals with the analysis of various concepts or their underlying principles. Austin considered the subject of jurisprudence as positive law. His ideology revolved around the notion that jurisprudence is not a moral philosophy but rather a systematically aligned study of actual law as distinguished from moral or natural law.

2.  Holland’s Remark on Jurisprudence

Holland defined jurisprudence as “the formal science of positive law”. According to Holland, formal science is the arena that deals with several relations that are regulated by legal rules rather than with the rules themselves that guide these relations. Thus, for Holland jurisprudence was a formal science and not a material science. Just like Austin, Holland also considered jurisprudence as a positive law.

3. Salmond’s Remark on Jurisprudence

According to Salmond’s point of view, Jurisprudence can be divided into two senses, the generic sense which is defined as the “Science of Civil Law” and the specific sense which can be defined as the “Science of the First Principle of Civil Law”. For Salmond, jurisprudence in the specific sense includes theoretical jurisprudence so it doesn’t deal with concrete details but rather deals with fundamental principles and conceptions.

IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY OF JURISPRUDENCE

One of the most crucial importance of the study of Jurisprudence is its fundamental value. Jurisprudence mainly consists of research and the method to construct and clarify the basic concepts of law. Jurisprudence has nothing to do with the creation of new laws, rather its main focus stays on the existing laws that are present in the system. The theories and analysis can help the lawyers in making their fundamentals strong.

Jurisprudence can also be a guiding light for the students. It has a major scholastic value in the life of students. The impact of jurisprudence is not just limited to primary legal rules, rather it also talks about the social impact of the same laws.

Jurisprudence is an amalgamation of logical and theoretical analysis of legal concepts. Thus, it escalates the analytical methods and techniques of a student which helps him/her to grow strong with the legal fundamentals.

Jurisprudence also focuses on social values. It talks about equity and fairness. Jurisprudence deals with the basic fundamentals of the law and it is considered as the eye of law. It creates a bridge for people to understand the thoughts and divisions of law.

SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT IN JURISPRUDENCE 

The schools of thought in jurisprudence are the several theoretical approaches that aim to understand the nature, purpose, and functionality of society. These approaches vary in their fundamental assumptions about the law, the role of the state, and the relationship between law, morality, and society.

There are 5 schools of thought in jurisprudence. Let’s have a quick glance at all of them to understand the theories better.

  • Philosophical School

The Philosophical School aims at the theory of natural law. This school tries to find out the reason why a law is enacted and what are the consequences of such a law in our daily lives. They have faith that the purpose of the law is to enhance the nobility of humanity.

  • Historical School

The Historical School runs in a belief that law is a consequence of years of evolution of our society. The historical school believes that the sources of law are related to religious philosophies, customs, and, societal norms. Historical school is too past-oriented, nonetheless, it still states that the law must change with the people.

  • Analytical School

Analytical School is mostly about the theory of imperative law. It is related to the origin of Civil Law. Analytical School revolves around the concept of rights and duties. It also emphasizes legal models such as acts and contracts. Analytical School of the law runs by the ideology that the law should be codified and it must be governed by the state with the aim of benefitting people.

  • Sociological School 

Sociological School concentrates majorly on the function of law rather than its impalpable content. The sociological school had an aim to connect law with society and law can be adjusted according to the requirement of the society. Sociological schools are all about doctrines, legal institutions, law and justice, and other theoretical aspects of law.

  • Realist School

Technically, the Realist School is not a school of jurisprudence. The school is more based on tutoring of thoughts. The school focuses much more on the actions of the Court and what they create. Realist schools hardly make any logical assumptions from the general law.

BEST BOOKS TO KNOW MORE ABOUT JURISPRUDENCE

1.  Jurisprudence Explained by Hijam N.K. Singh

Hardcover book: "Jurisprudence Explained" by Hijam N.K. Singh

Jurisprudence Explained is particularly and specifically designed for students pursuing the three-year or five-year degree law course. It is one of the best books for reference as it covers nature of law, legal concepts like Duty, Rights, Wrongs, possession, and so on. It has got all relevant cases along with their reasonings too. This book is a perfect reference for students, lawyers, as well as judges.

2. Introduction to Jurisprudence by Avtar Singh & Prof. (Dr) Harpreet Kaur

Hardcover book: "Introduction to Jurisprudence" by Avtar Singh & Prof. (Dr) Harpreet Kaur

Introduction to Jurisprudence is a study of the principles of law. It has a phenomenal presentation of schools and theories of law along with their critical examination. The book covers basic understanding of concepts and keeps a check on the latest trends of Jurisprudence.

3. Lectures in Jurisprudence by N.K. Jayakumar

Hardcover book: "Lectures in Jurisprudence" by N.K. Jayakumar

Lectures in Jurisprudence by N.K. Jayakumar is definitely a go-to book for all the law aspirants and law students. The book has interesting references along with different dimension of law explained properly. The book is thoroughly revised and updated and every topic as well as principles have been covered in a great way.

 CONCLUSION

Thus, this blog showed us how jurisprudence plays a pivotal role in the development of legal systems as it provides a critical framework for understanding the law and its underlying principles. Jurisprudence paves the path through which we gain knowledge about the basic principles of law and the sources from which they are derived.

Moreover, jurisprudence is not just about theories, it also has a practical implication. It guides lawyers, judges, and policymakers in framing important legal decisions that are just and fair.

Overall, Jurisprudence is a marvellous and multifaceted field of study that has absolute importance in the vast dimension of law.

FAQS

1. What are the 4 types of jurisprudence?

 Ans:-  (a) Academic

(b) Comparative

(c) Ethical

(d) Philosophical

2. Who is known as the father of jurisprudence?

Ans:- Bentham is considered as the father of jurisprudence.

3. What does jurisprudence mean in common law?

 Ans:- Jurisprudence in common law is a body of unwritten laws based on judicial precedents. The concept is based mostly on institutionalized judgments and interpretations from the courts. Common law also illustrates the encouragement for the implementation of new legislation.

4. What is jurisprudence law in India?

Ans:- Jurisprudence is the study based on the science of law. The study is nit based on any particular statute or any rule but of law in general, its principles, and several concepts. The primary aim of the interpretation is to discover the real intention of the Legislature.

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