Jurisprudence – Meaning, Definition and Kinds

Jurisprudence Meaning:

Jurisprudence is derived from a Latin word ‘jurisprudential’ which means ‘knowledge or skill of law’. The Latin word ‘Juris’ means ‘law’ and ‘prudential’ means ‘skill or knowledge’.

Thus, Jurisprudence signifies knowledge of the law and its application. Jurisprudence may be considered to be the study and systematic arrangement of general principles of law. Jurisprudence is that science which imparts to us knowledge about ‘law’.

Read more here: Law and its types

Definition of Jurisprudence in Law:

There are certain definition of jurisprudence by different jurists which are as follow;

According to John Salmond;

John Salmond definition of jurisprudence is in two senses. In a wide sense, it means “The science of civil law (laws of the land)” and in a narrow sense, it is limited to ONLY basic principles of law “the science of the first principles of civil law”.

According to John Austin;

John Austin definition of jurisprudence is “Philosophy of Positive Law”. By Positive Law, he meant ‘jus positivism‘ which is a law laid down by a political superior for commanding obedience from his subjects.

According to Professor Gray;

“It is the science of law, the statement and systematic arrangement of the rules followed by the courts and the principles involved in those rules”.

According to Ulpian;

Ulpian jurisprudence is “the observation of things, human and divine, the knowledge of the just and unjust”.

According to Allen;

“the scientific synthesis of the essential principles of law”.

According to Keeton;

“jurisprudence is the study and systematic arrangement of the general principles of law”.

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Kinds of Jurisprudence:

Jurisprudence can be divided into three kinds:

  1. Analytical Jurisprudence
  2. Historical Jurisprudence
  3. Ethical Jurisprudence

Analytical Jurisprudence:

Analytical Jurisprudence is dealing with the dogmas or exposition of the abstract principles of law as it exists at present or existed in the past.

It is a way of legal study that concentrates on the logical structure of law – the meanings and uses of the concepts, and the terms and modes of its operation.

Characteristics and Scope of Analytical Jurisprudence:

  • It analyses the basic principles of the existing civil law.
  • It examines the relations between civil law and other forms of law.
  • It ignores the historical ethical aspects of the study of civil law.
  • It is the study of the source of law.
  • It treats the rights, their kinds and classes, their creation, transfer and extinction.
  • It deals with legal liability, its kinds extent and incidence.
  • It investigates such legal concepts as property, possession, trust, contracts, person, acts, intention, motive etc.
  • It investigates such legal concepts, the theory of legislation precedent and custom.

Historical Jurisprudence:

Historical jurisprudence is concerning the historical evolution of the principles of law, i.e., the past stages of the law.

It is the branch of legal philosophy concern with the history of the first principles and conceptions of a legal system, dealing with:

i). The general principles governing the origin and development of law, and

ii). The origin and development of the legal system’s first principles.

Characteristics and Scope of Historical Jurisprudence:

  • It concerns itself with the scientific study of the origin and development of the principles law.
  • It deals with the study of the Evolution of fundamental legal conceptions in early society.

Ethical Jurisprudence:

It is dealing with the principles of law, not as they are or had been in the past, but as they ought to be in an ideal State.

It is the branch of legal philosophy concerned with the law from view point of its ethical significance and adequacy.

Characteristics and scope of ethical jurisprudence:

  • It deals with the law as it ought to be in an ideal state.
  • It aims at bringing the principles of the law to such a form in which attainment of justice may best be achieved.
  • Its study brings together moral and legal philosophy.

Importance of Jurisprudence/utility of Jurisprudence:

There are certain importance of studying of jurisprudence which are as follows:

Grammar of law:

Jurisprudence is the grammar of law.

Eye of law:

It is often said to be the eye of law.

Fundamental Principle:

The jurisprudence is the fundamental principles of law the knowledge of which is essential for the practical work of the registrar and the advocate and which are adopted by the society, to adjust the relation between man and man.

Great Educational Value:

It also has great educational value. The logical analysis of legal concepts can widen the outlook of lawyers and sharpens their logical techniques.

Helps in Legislation:

It helps the legislation by providing them with precise and unambiguous terminology relieving them of botheration of defining, again and again, a certain expression such as right, duty, possession and liability etc.

Helps Judges and lawyers, in ascertaining true meaning of law:

It helps judges and lawyers in ascertaining the true meaning of law are passed by the legislatures by providing the rules of interpretation.

Provides Logical Training for a Lawyer:

It teaches the lawyers and legislature the correct use of legal terms.

Conclusion:

To conclude that Jurisprudence is the study of fundamental legal principles. Jurisprudence is systematic and formulated knowledge and is the science of human law. Jurisprudence as its importance and utility helps to interpret the law.

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