image description


What is the Jurisprudence?

Theory of law – Attempt to understand legal structures – Requires philosophical enquiries

Jurisprudence is the study of law. It is a type of science that explores the creation, application, and enforcement of laws. Jurisprudence is the study of theories and philosophies regarding law.

Why do we obey law?

Retribution – fear of punishment – safety

Meaning of Jurisprudence:

Jurisprudence is derived from the Latin terms ‘Juris’ meaning legal and prudentia meaning "knowledge". It is that science which deals with the "Knowledge of law".

Jurisprudentia (Latin Word), Juris (Law) + Prudencia (Knowledge) =Knowledge of law

Aspects of Jurisprudence

Jurisprudence has many aspects, with four types being the most common. The most prevalent form of jurisprudence is that it seeks to analyze, explain, classify, and criticize entire bodies of law, ranging from contract to tort to constitutional law.

Definition of Jurisprudence

It is very difficult to define term 'jurisprudence', However, several attempts were made in this context to define the term.  Some of the definitions of the term "jurisprudence" given by various eminent jurists as under


―Jurisprudence is the observation of things human and divine, knowledge of just and unjust.

John Austin - 

―Jurisprudence is the Philosophy of positive law.

Positive law means law made by sovereign. He was the first jurist to make jurisprudence as a science. There are two types of jurisprudence,

(1) General Jurisprudence & (2) Particular Jurisprudence.

(1) General Jurisprudence : - General Jurisprudence is the philosophy of positive law.

(2) Particular Jurisprudence:- 'particular jurisprudence is the science of any such system of positive law as now actually obtains or once actually obtained in a specifically determined nation or specifically determined nations.


             Austin's definition criticised by Salmond and Holland and other Jurists on the ground that it is not proper and appropriate to classify as the general Jurisprudence and Particular Jurisprudence.

Sir Thomas Erskine Holland: 

            An English Jurist Sir Holland defines, Jurisprudence as, " Jurisprudence is the formal science of positive law'"


" Jurisprudence is the science of the first principle of the civil law."
               Dean Roscoe Pound defines jurisprudence as " the science of law, using the term law in the juridical sense, as denoting the body of principles recognized or enforced by public and regular tribunals in the administration of justice".

Dr. K.C. Allen ―Jurisprudence is the scientific synthesis of the essential principles of law

Keetan ―Jurisprudence is the study and systemic arrangement of the general principles of law.

Keeton’s definition of jurisprudence seeks to explain the distinction between public and private law.

H.L.A.Hart  Jurisprudence is the scientific study of Union of rules Primary and Secondary Rules.



Bentham There are two types of jurisprudence (1)Expository/ Expositorial (What the law is)

(2)Evaluative/Censorial (What the law ought to be)


Austin There are two types of jurisprudence, (1) General Jurisprudence & (2) Particular



Salmond There are two types of jurisprudence (1) Generic Jurisprudence and (2) Specific



Linkage between Jurisprudence and other sciences

1. Sociology and Jurisprudence

 The sociological approach to Jurisprudence is easily the most important relation between Jurisprudence and other sciences. The reason why it is so important is that the sociological approach is much more concerned in the working of law rather than its fundamentals and basics.

Sociological jurists want to know the effect of law in our society and how law and society work together. Sociological Jurisprudence sees the law as an institution.

2. Economics and Jurisprudence

Economic studies focus on wealth and its distribution in society with the aim to regulate the lives of people of a State.  Similarly, the law also focuses on regulating the lives of the people through rules and regulations. Initially, the relationship between Jurisprudence and Economics was ignored for a long time until jurists realised the importance of economics in law. Both of them try to develop the society and improve the life of an individual. Karl Marx was a pioneer in this regard.

3. History and Jurisprudence

Historical Jurisprudence mainly forms a significant part of legal history as a subject. Law has been around for centuries, and as we know Jurisprudence is the study of law so if we don’t trace back the origin and development of laws, then we are missing out on a theoretical aspect of Jurisprudence.

  1. 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.

History studies past events. Development of Law for the administration of justice becomes sound if we know the history and background of legislation and the way law has evolved. The branch is known as Historical Jurisprudence.

4. Ethics and Jurisprudence

Ethics talks about the fact that how the law should be in an ideal state. Ethical Jurisprudence is focused on the fact of how law can be used as an instrument to affirm positive ethics.

Schools of Jurisprudence

There are many schools of jurisprudence which concentrate on the nature and function of law. For our practical purpose we shall confine ourselves to the treatment of the most important schools. Hence, in this material the following schools shall be discussed briefly.

Natural Law School:  the oldest school of jurisprudence, it upholds that beyond, and superior to the law made by man are certain higher principles, the principles of natural law. These principles are immutable and eternal. With regard to the highest matter man-made law should be in accord with the principles of natural law. And to the extent that man-made law conflicts with natural law, it lacks validity: it is not a valid, binding law at all.

Legal Positivism:  also called Analytical School of jurisprudence, it holds that there is no higher law than that created by governments, legitimate or self imposing, and that such law must be obeyed, even if it appears unjust or otherwise at odds with the “natural” law. Unlike the natural law theory, this one treats law and other values, such as, morality and religion separately.

Historical School: this school of jurisprudence views law as an evolutionary process and concentrates on the origin and history of the legal system.  The law of a nation, like its language, originates in the popular spirit, the common conviction of right, and has already attained a fixed character, peculiar to that people, before the earliest time to which authentic history extends. In this prehistoric period the laws, language, manners and political constitution of a people are inseparably united and they are the particular faculties and tendencies of an individual people bound together by their kindred consciousness of inward necessity.

Sociological School: Unlike the Historical School that conceives a nation’s law as tied to the primitive consciousness of its people, sociological conception of law locate the law in the present-day institutions of its society. The proponents of sociological jurisprudence seek to view law within a broad social context rather than as an isolated phenomenon distinct from and independent of other means of social control. The sociological questions in jurisprudence are concerned with the actual effects of the law upon the complex of attitudes, behaviour, organization, environment, skills, and powers involved in the maintenance of a particular society. They are also concerned with the practical improvement of the legal system and feel that this can be achieved only if legislation and court adjudications take into account the findings of other branches of learning, particularly the social sciences. 

Legal Realism conceives law as judge made and by doing so it puts the court at the center. It contends that positive law cannot be applied in the abstract; rather, judges should take into account the specific circumstances of each case, as well as economic and sociological realities. In other words, the law should not be static, it must adapt to various social and economic realities. This theory emphasizes the role of the judge that is it emphasizes that law is made not found, and considers judges as the true law makers.


image description