Table of Contents
What is Jurisprudence? || Its meaning, definition etc.
Jurisprudence involves the study of general theoretical questions about the nature of law and legal systems, about the justice of the law, the relation of ethics and the social nature of law.
Jurisprudence, as a philosophy of law, attempts to establish a relationship with social values and provides practical solutions through the fusion of fact, justice, and value. The people of this world have made some ideas and concepts about the nature of justice and law.
Jurisprudence as a science of law is mainly concerned with the regulation of human conduct according to the set values, needs, and goals of every society. As values, needs and goals are of a changing character, the nature of jurisprudence also changes to meet the needs of a particular society.
Why we study Jurisprudence:-
On a practical level, reading and participating in judicial discussions develops the ability to analyze and think critically and constructively about the law. Such skills are always useful in legal practice, especially when faced with novel questions within the law or when trying to formulate and advocate novel approaches to legal problems. So even what they do needs a “bottom line” justification for being able to find a reason to read legal theory.
On a professional level, jurisprudence is the way lawyers and judges demonstrate what they do and what their role is within society. This truth is reflected in the way in which jurisprudence is taught in law as part of the university education, where the law is to be learned not only as a trade (such as carpentry or fixing an automobile) but as an intellectual discovery. For those who believe that only contemplative living is worth living, and who spend most of their waking hours working within (or around) the legal system, There are strong reasons to think deeply about the nature and function of the law, the legal system, and the legal profession.
Finally, for some, jurisprudence is interesting and enjoyable in itself, whatever its other uses and benefits. There will always be some for whom learning is interesting and valuable in itself, even if it does not lead to more wealth, more self-awareness, or more social progress.
Meaning and definitions of Jurisprudence:-
The term “jurisprudence” has been used at different times, in different meanings. Sometimes it is used as a synonym for the word “law”, sometimes as a philosophy of law, and sometimes as a science of law. The current trend seems to prefer the term “legal theory” to the term “jurisprudence” The term “legal theory” was first introduced in 1945 by W. Freedman when his book on ‘Legal Theory’ appeared and has since become popular. The term “legal theory” is commonly used as an evaluation and conceptual study of the concept of law and the relation of morality and justice, which underlie law.
To understand the definition of meaning and jurisprudence, we must first look at its derivation.
Origin of term Jurisprudence:-
The word “Jurisprudence” is derived from the Latin word, “Jurisprudentia” which means ‘Knowledge of Law’. In the Latin language, ‘jure’or ‘juris’ means law and ‘prudentia’ means ‘skill’ or ‘knowledge’. Jurisprudence then indicates practical knowledge of the law and its application. The term is also given in dictionaries, for example, Murray’s New English Dictionary first means ‘knowledge or skill in law’. In this sense, the term is rarely used except in the case of jurisprudence as a synonym for law. Under French law, it refers to the body of judicial precedent, as distinguished from statutes and expert opinion, etc. In Germany, it is called “rechts philosophic” which is a philosophy of rights, which is of law in the abstract sense.
Definitions of Jurisprudence:-
“Jurisprudence” has been assigned different meanings by different authors. Thus, jurists have given various definitions of the term. However, a single definition cannot be called universally accepted. Perhaps the precise meaning of the term is not possible because as a method, jurisprudence relates to concepts that regulate human conduct according to the values, needs, and goals of every society. These values, needs, goals, etc., vary from time to time and from society to society at different times within the same society and therefore also in the meaning and scope of jurisprudence.
Austin defines jurisprudence’ as ‘Science of law which deals with the analysis of the concepts or its underlying principles’. For Austin, the appropriate subject of jurisprudence is positive law i.e., law as it is (existing law). For him, jurisprudence is not moral philosophy, rather it is a systematic study of substantive law as distinct from moral, ideal, or natural law.
Holland defines jurisprudence as ‘the formal science of positive law’. According to Holland, formal science is that which deals with the various relations that are regulated by legal rules than those that regulate those relations.
According to Salmond, jurisprudence can be defined in two senses (1) in the ‘Generic Sense’ jurisprudence can be defined as ‘Science of Civil Law’ and in the ‘specific sense’ jurisprudence can be defined as the science of the first principle of civil law.
Gray has defined jurisprudence as a science of law i.e., systematic arrangement of rules followed by courts and principles underlying them. For Gray, jurisprudence is of three kinds-first particular jurisprudence or the science of the law of a particular community; second comparative jurisprudence or the comparison of the law of two or more communities; third, general jurisprudence or the comparison of all legal systems of the world.
From the definitions discussed above, we can say that Austin’s definition is relatively more correct. Austin has broadened the scope of jurisprudence by classifying it into at least two categories, ‘General’ and ‘Particular’, and pointing out that jurisprudence involves the study of principles common to all States and also the analysis of these principles in a specific determined nation.