It has, therefore, rightly been said that without knowledge of jurisprudence no lawyer, howsoever practically eminent, can really measure the meaning of the assumption upon which his subject rests. Jurisprudence is the eye of law. It stands towards actual system in a relation like that of grammar to a particular language.
Jurisprudence teaches the lawyer and legislator the correct use of legal terms by providing a precise and unambiguous terminology, which is so essential for their task of pleading and legislation. It also brings about homogeneity and accuracy in legal phraseology.
Jurisprudence, as said above, develops one’s critical faculties and trains the mind so as to discover legal fallacies which would otherwise remain unnoticed.
Jurisprudence, as it involves the study of those fundamental principles which are common to all systems of law, greatly helps in study of a particular system of law.
Its study is of immense advantage in the closely allied science of legislation which deals with what the law should be.
It is^ also of assistance to a moralist inasmuch as in progressive societies the law marks the stages of moral growth by crystallizing moral ideals. It grows as the people grow and develop with the people.
Important Definitions of Jurisprudence:
The word “Jurisprudence” is derived from its Latin equivalent, “Jurisprudent” meaning knowledge of law ‘Juris’ denotes law and ‘prudential’ knowledge.
According to Salrpond, if we use the term ‘science’ in its widest permissible sense, as including the systematized knowledge of any subject of intellectual inquiry, Jurisprudence may be defined as “the science of civil law.”
It is a science as distinguished from arts and connotes in its wide sense all those subjects which directly or indirectly treat of the science of law. It is a study not of the law of one particular country but of the general notion of law itself.
Every law is based on certain fundamental principles and those principles are common to ail legal systems. Jurisprudence thus confines itself to a systematic and scientific study of the existing rules of law.
The celebrated Roman juris-consult Ulpian defines jurisprudence as the “knowledge of things human and define, the science of the just and the unjust.” This definition is vague and indefinite and characterizes the notation of law that prevailed in the beginning of Roman civilization.
It is more akin to the ancient Hindu concept of jurisprudence, which was permeated by the central idea of dharma that applied equally to the king and the subject without any distinction. According to Jaimini, “that which is signified by a command and leads to a benefit is called dharma”
Cicero defines jurisprudence as,
“the philosophical aspect of the knowledge of law.”
It is defined in the Oxford English dictionary as,
“knowledge or skill in law; the science which treats of human laws (written or unwritten) in general; the philosophy of law; a system or body of law.”
Holland defines it as “the formal science of positive law.” It is wrongly applied to actual system of law, or to current views of laws, or to suggestions for its amendment, but is the name of a science. The science is a formal, or analytical rather than material one. It is the science of actual or positive law.
Holland elucidates his statement that jurisprudence is a formal or analytical science as opposed to a material one by observing that it deals rather with the various relations which are regulated by legal rules than with the rules themselves which regulate those relations.
It is not the material science of those portions of the law which various nations have in common, but the formal science of those relations of mankind which are generally recognised as having legal consequences.
According to Gray, jurisprudence is the science of law, the statement and systematic arrangement of the rules followed by the courts and the principles involved in those rules.
It will appear from the above definitions that although Salmond, Holland and Gray define jurisprudence as the science of law, Prof. Gray adopts a different meaning with regard to the term ‘law’. He associates the term ‘Jurisprudence’ with a scientific statement and arrangement of the rules followed by the Courts and of the principles involved in those rules.
Salmond deals with the theoretical or general jurisprudence and calls it as the science of the first principles of the civil law. To the same effect are the observations of Holland, who calls jurisprudence as a science which is formal or analytical rather than a material one. According to him, it is the science of actual or positive law and is wrongly divided into ‘general’ and ‘particular’ or into ‘philosophical’ and ‘historical’.
Modern writer’s are agreed that the term ‘jurisprudence’ docs not merely connote knowledge of law; it covers a field much wider than this. According to Allen, it is the scientific synthesis of the essential principles of law.
To Paton it is a particular method of study, not of the law of one country but of the general notion of law itself. It is, according to him, a study relating to law. And, according to Professor Kecton, it is a study and systematic arrangement of the general principles of law, understanding the phrase “the general principles of law” in its widest sense.
Jurisprudence may be studied under three heads, viz.:
1. Analytical Jurisprudence:
The purpose of this brunch of study is to analyze and dissect the law of the land as it exists today. This analysis as to the first principles of the law is done without reference to their historical origin or their ethical significance.
Under this head it examines the relations of civil law with other forms of law; analyses the various constituent ideas of which the complex idea of law is made up, e.g., those of the Slate, sovereignty and administration of justice; investigates the theory of legislation, judicial precedents and customary law; inquires into the scientific arrangement of the law; deals with the conception of legal rights and legal liability: and examines such legal conceptions as property, possession, obligations, contracts, trusts, personality, intention, motive, negligence, etc., which by reason of theoretical interest deserve special attention.
2. Historical Jurisprudence:
It constitutes the general portion of legal history and, as Salmond observes, bears the same relation to legal history at large as analytical jurisprudence bears to the systematic exposition of the legal system.
It deals with the general principles governing the origin and development of law as also the origin and development of legal conceptions and principles found in the philosophy of law. It may comprise the study of Roman law and its influence on the law of the present day as also the study of its modern equivalent International Law.
Historical jurisprudence differs from analytical jurisprudence inasmuch as it does not accept the latter’s conception of law according to which law is a product of conscious or determinate human will but holds that law is found and not made.
In accordance with this view, it traces the growth of law from its origin with a view to finding out the origin of our legal concepts and the general course of their evolution.
Further, according to historical jurisprudence, law is antecedent to the State but the analytical school holds that there can be no law without a sovereign, and the hallmark of law is its enforcement by the sovereign. The historical school lays emphasis on custom; while according to the analytical school custom is not law until adopted by a judicial decision or slatutised.
3. Ethical Jurisprudence:
It deals with law not as it is or has been, but as it ought to be. It is concerned with the purpose for which the exists and manner in which such purpose is fulfilled. Salmond observes that ethical jurisprudence is the meeting point and common ground of moral and legal philosophy—of ethics and jurisprudence.
Ethical jurisprudence has for as its object the conception of justice, the relation between law and justice, the manner in which law fulfils its purpose of maintaining justice and the ethical significance and validity of these legal conceptions and principles which are fundamental in their nature as to be the proper subject-matter of analytical jurisprudence.
4. Sociological Jurisprudence:
There is yet another method of the study of jurisprudence, which is termed as sociological Jurisprudence. Sociology is the study of man in society. A sociologist considers law as a social phenomenon. The object of sociological jurisprudence is “to work upon jurisprudence with reference to the adjustment of relations and ordering of conduct which is involved in group life.”
Scope of Study:
The present study is mainly confined to the analytical aspect of jurisprudence although in consonance with the modern developments it will not altogether be divorced from ethical and historical aspect of jurisprudence.
If the latter two aspects are altogether excluded, the science of jurisprudence will again be open to the objection of lying in “the formalistic vacuum of the sanctuary of the Stale barring the road to all contacts with the life of society.”
In the absence of ethical implications of the law, analytical jurisprudence would be reduced to “a system of rather arid formalism”, while “the total disregard to historical origins and development would be inconsistent with the adequate explanation of those principles and conceptions with which it is the business of this science to deal.”