MEANING NATURE AND SCOPE OF JURISPRUDENCE
What is Jurisprudence?
There is no universal or uniform definition of Jurisprudence since people have different ideologies and notions throughout the world. It is a very vast subject.
When an author talks about political conditions of his society, it reflects that condition of law prevailing at that time in that particular society. It is believed that Romans were the first who started to study what is law.
Jurisprudence– Latin word ‘Jurisprudentia’– Knowledge of Law or Skill in Law.
-Most of our law has been taken from Common Law System.
-Bentham is known as Father of Jurisprudence. Austin took his work further.
Bentham was the first one to analyse what is law. He divided his study into two parts:
- Examination of Law as it is- Expositorial Approach– Command of Sovereign.
- Examination of Law as it ought to be- Censorial Approach– Morality of Law.
However, Austin stuck to the idea that law is command of sovereign. The structure of English Legal System remained with the formal analysis of law (Expositorial) and never became what it ought to be (Censorial).
- Stone also tried to define Jurisprudence. He said that it is a lawyer’s extraversion. He further said that it is a lawyer’s examination of the percept, ideas and techniques of law in the light derived from present knowledge in disciplines other than the law.
Thus, we see that there can be no goodness or badness in law. Law is made by the State so there could be nothing good or bad about it. Jurisprudence is nothing but the science of law.
Austin– He said that “Science of Jurisprudence is concerned with Positive Laws that is laws strictly so called. It has nothing to do with the goodness or badness of law.
This has two aspects attached to it:
- General Jurisprudence– It includes such subjects or ends of law as are common to all system.
- Particular Jurisprudence– It is the science of any actual system of law or any portion of it.
Basically, in essence they are same but in scope they are different.
Salmond’s Criticism of Austin
He said that for a concept to fall within the category of ‘General Jurisprudence’, it should be common in various systems of law. This is not always true as there could be concepts that fall in neither of the two categories.
Holland’s Criticism of Austin
He said that it is only the material which is particular and not the science itself.
Holland’s Definition– Jurisprudence means the formal science of positive laws. It is an analytical science rather than a material science.
- He defined the term positive law. He said that Positive Law means the general rule of external human action enforced by a sovereign political authority.
- We can see that, he simply added the word ‘formal’ in Austin’s definition. Formal here means that we study only the form and not the essence. We study only the external features and do not go into the intricacies of the subject. According to him, how positive law is applied and how it is particular is not the concern of Jurisprudence.
- The reason for using the word ‘Formal Science’is that it describes only the form or the external sight of the subject and not its internal contents. According to Holland, Jurisprudence is not concerned with the actual material contents of law but only with its fundamental conceptions. Therefore, Jurisprudence is a Formal Science.
- This definition has been criticized by Gray and Dr. Jenks. According to them, Jurisprudence is a formal science because it is concerned with the form, conditions, social life, human relations that have grown up in the society and to which society attaches legal significance.
- Holland said that Jurisprudence is a science because it is a systematized and properly co-ordinated knowledge of the subject of intellectual enquiry. The term positive law confines the enquiry to these social relations which are regulated by the rules imposed by the States and enforced by the Courts of law. Therefore, it is a formal science of positive law.
- Formal as a prefix indicates that the science deals only with thepurposes, methods and ideason the basis of the legal system as distinct from material science which deals only with the concrete details of law.
- This definition has been criticized on the ground that this definition is concerned only with the form and not the intricacies.
Salmond– He said that Jurisprudence is Science of Law. By law he meant law of the land or civil law. He divided Jurisprudence into two parts:
- Generic– This includes the entire body of legal doctrines.
- Specific– This deals with the particular department or any portion of the doctrines.
‘Specific’ is further divided into three parts:
- Analytical, Expository or Systematic– It deals with the contents of an actual legal system existing at any time, past or the present.
- Historical– It is concerned with the legal history and its development
- Ethical– According to him, the purpose of any legislation is to set forth laws as it ought to be. It deals with the ‘ideal’ of the legal system and the purpose for which it exists.
Criticism of Salmond– Critics say that it is not an accurate definition. Salmond only gave the structure and failed to provide any clarity of thought.
Keeton- He considered Jurisprudence as the study and systematic arrangement of the general principles of law. According to him, Jurisprudence deals with the distinction between Public and Private Laws and considers the contents of principle departments of law.
Roscoe Pound– He described Jurisprudence as the science of lawusing the term ‘law’ in juridical sense as denoting the body of principles recognized or enforced by public and regular tribunals in the Administration of Justice.
Dias and Hughes– They believed Jurisprudence as any thought or writing about law rather than a technical exposition of a branch of law itself.
Conclusion- Thus, we can safely say that Jurisprudence is the study of fundamental legal principles.
Scope of Jurisprudence– After reading all the above mentioned definitions, we would find that Austin was the only one who tried to limit the scope of jurisprudence. He tried to segregate morals and theology from the study of jurisprudence.
However, the study of jurisprudence cannot be circumscribed because it includes all human conduct in the State and the Society.
Approaches to the study of Jurisprudence- There are two ways
1. Empirical– Facts to Generalization.
- A Priori– Start with Generalization in light of which the facts are examined.
Significance and Utility of the Study of Jurisprudence
- This subject has its own intrinsic interest and value because this is a subject of serious scholarship and research; researchers in Jurisprudence contribute to the development of society by having repercussions in the whole legal, political and social school of thoughts. One of the tasks of this subject is to construct and elucidate concepts serving to render the complexities of law more manageable and more rational. It is the belief of this subject that the theory can help to improve practice.
- Jurisprudence also has an educational value. It helps in the logical analysis of the legal concepts and it sharpens the logical techniques of the lawyer. The study of jurisprudence helps to combat the lawyer’s occupational view of formalism which leads to excessive concentration on legal rules for their own sake and disregard of the social function of the law.
3. The study of jurisprudence helps to put law in its proper context by considering the needs of the society and by taking note of the advances in related and relevant disciplines.
4. Jurisprudence can teach the people to look if not forward, at least sideways and around them and realize that answers to a new legal problem must be found by a consideration of present social needs and not in the wisdom of the past.
- Jurisprudence is the eye of law and the grammar of law because it throws light on basic ideas and fundamental principles of law. Therefore, by understanding the nature of law, its concepts and distinctions, a lawyer can find out the actual rule of law. It also helps in knowing the language, grammar, the basis of treatment and assumptions upon which the subject rests. Therefore, some logical training is necessary for a lawyer which he can find from the study of Jurisprudence.
6. It trains the critical faculties of the mind of the students so that they can dictate fallacies and use accurate legal terminology and expression.
- It helps a lawyer in his practical work. A lawyer always has to tackle new problems every day. This he can handle through his knowledge of Jurisprudence which trains his mind to find alternative legal channels of thought.
- Jurisprudence helps the judges and lawyers in ascertaining the true meaning of the laws passed by the legislators by providing the rules of interpretation. Therefore, the study of jurisprudence should not be confined to the study of positive laws but also must include normative study i.e. that study should deal with the improvement of law in the context of prevailing socio-economic and political philosophies of time, place and circumstances.
- Professor Dias said that ‘the study of jurisprudence is an opportunity for the lawyer to bring theory and life into focus, for it concerns human thought in relation to social existence’.
Relationship of Jurisprudence with other Social Sciences
- Sociology and Jurisprudence– There is a branch called asSociological Jurisprudence. This branch is based on social theories. It is essentially concerned with the influence of law on the society at large particularly when we talk about social welfare. The approach from sociological perspective towards law is different from a lawyer’s perspective. The study of sociology has helped Jurisprudence in its approach. Behind all legal aspects, there is always something social. However, Sociology of Law is different from Sociological Jurisprudence.
- Jurisprudence and Psychology– No human science can be described properly without a thorough knowledge of Human Mind. Hence, Psychology has a close connection with Jurisprudence. Relationship of Psychology and Law is established in the branch of Criminological Jurisprudence. Both psychology and jurisprudence are interested in solving questions such as motive behind a crime, criminal personality, reasons for crime etc.
3. Jurisprudence and Ethics– Ethics has been defined as the science of Human Conduct. It strives for ideal Human Behaviour. This is how Ethics and Jurisprudence are interconnected:
a. Ideal Moral Code– This could be found in relation to Natural Law.
b. Positive Moral Code– This could be found in relation to Law as the Command of the Sovereign.
c. Ethics is concerned with good human conduct in the light of public opinion.
d. Jurisprudence is related with Positive Morality in so far as law is the instrument to assert positive ethics.
- Jurisprudence believes that Legislations must be based on ethical principles. It is not to be divorced from Human principles.
- Ethics believes that No law is good unless it is based on sound principles of human value.
g. A Jurist should be adept in this science because unless he studies ethics, he won’t be able to criticize the law.
- However, Austin disagreed with this relationship.
- Jurisprudence and Economics– Economics studies man’s efforts in satisfying his wants and producing and distributing wealth. Both Jurisprudence and Economics are sciences and both aim to regulate lives of the people. Both of them try to develop the society and improve life of an individual. Karl Marx was a pioneer in this regard.
- Jurisprudence and History– History studies past events. Development of Law for administration of justice becomes sound if we know the history and background of legislations and the way law has evolved. The branch is known as Historical Jurisprudence.
6. Jurisprudence and Politics– In a politically organized society, there are regulations and laws which lay down authoritatively what a man may and may not do. Thus, there is a deep connected between politics and Jurisprudence.