• Mr. Lakshay Diwan

Nature and Scope of jurisprudence

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

The article highlight the nature and ambit of jurisprudence, its interrelation with other sciences like sociology, economics etc. and significance.


Nature of Jurisprudence

Law can never be static. Law has to keep changing according to the developments in society. In the same manner, the scope of the law also cannot be static.


The views of Austin and Salmond on the study and nature of law, wherein, Austin says that law is the aggregate of the rules set by men as political superiors or sovereign to men as politically subject. According to him, Law is the command of the sovereign. He further said that there are three elements in law. But, Salmond defined law as the body of principles and applied by the State in the administration of justice.


The other jurist, have separate opinions as well like Holland regarded jurisprudence as the formal science of favourable laws. He called the law an analytical science and not a material science. Hans Kelsen created the ‘pure theory of law’. Kelsen states that law is a ‘normative science’. In Kelson’s law definition, the law does not seek to describe what must occur, but rather only defines certain rules to abide by. Leon Duguit states that law as “essentially and exclusively as a social fact.” Roscoe Pound studied the term law and thus came up with his own law definition. He considered the law to be predominantly a tool of social engineering. Julius Stone states "Jurisprudence is the lawyer's extraversion. It is the lawyer's examination of the precepts, ideals and techniques of the law in the light derived from present knowledge in disciplines other than the law. Further, According to John Chipman Gray " jurisprudence is the science of law, the statement and systematic arrangement of the rules followed by the Court and the principle involved in those rules." and Also, H.L.A Hart considered law as “A legal system consists of primary and secondary rules. These rules explain the nature of law and provides key to the science of jurisprudence. He viewed Jurisprudence as a science of law in a border perspective by co-relating law and morality.”


At Last from the various definitions of law, its nature can be deduced as follows

  • Law is a Social and a Normative Science- The primary aim of the law is to regulate human conduct. It has been introduced to maintain order in the society. Thus, law is essentially a social science and is normative in nature since it lays down rules for human conduct.

  • Law is Dynamic in nature- An essential element of law is its dynamic nature. According to the Supreme Court of India, “Greatest virtue of Law is its Adaptability and Flexibility.” (Balbir Kaur and Anr. v. Steel Authority of India & Ors., (2000) 6 SCC 493.)

  • Law is Territorial in nature- The enforcement of a law is limited to the territory of a State. Different states around the world have their own legal system and laws. An act which is a crime in State A might be considered to be righteous in State A might be considered to be righteous in State B. Modern legal systems have introduced the concept of extra-territorial law whereby certain laws may be enforced even outside the territory of the Sate. The concept of extra-territorial laws has been recognized by the Indian Legal System as well.(Mobarik Ali Ahmed v. State of Bombay, AIR 1957 SC 857)



Relation of Jurisprudence with other social sciences

Jurisprudence is studying law regulating the conduct of people and individuals live and forming societies. Therefore, law is a crucial social phenomenon which is making jurisprudence as a science. However, there are several other sciences, like Ethics, politics, Sociology, Psychology etc. Now, it's logical that these sciences should be interlinked with one another at some point. Moreover, these social sciences couldn't be studied in isolation. In other words, none of those sciences are often understand with having a good knowledge of others. Jurisprudence, being a science is, in fact, related with other social sciences.

  • Jurisprudence and Sociology

Jurisprudence is that the study of law and sociology is that the study of society and it's also discusses law but from a special stand-point. Therefore, there's a link between jurisprudence and sociology. Jurisprudence cares with legal rules that really exists, however, sociology is studying the effectiveness of these legal rules and their impacts on society.

  • Jurisprudence and Politics

Politics studies the principles responsible for the governmental organization. Whereas, jurisprudence is analysing those principles. Moreover, during a political society there exist rules for the regulation of person conduct which are the subject-matter of jurisprudence. Hence, there is a close connection between the two.

  • Jurisprudence and Ethics

Ethics is the science of human conduct. It projects a perfect human behavior, within the light of which it suggests a course of conduct for people living in societies. Whereas, jurisprudence is discussing the imperative rules, actually existing within the societies. However, those rules also are connected with the behaviour of citizenry in societies. Therefore, both of the science are interrelated. Due to the close relationship and interdependency of those sciences, there emerged a branch of jurisprudence referred to as Ethical Jurisprudence, discussing the perfect human behavior or which is that the study of law as it ought to be.

  • Jurisprudence and Psychology

Psychology is that the ‘science of mind and behaviour’, whereas, jurisprudence is discussing law. Law is aimed to be followed by individuals, and individuals can only follow law if they shall follow. Therefore, intention is that the very basic element behind every law, and particularly in legal code the concept of malice aforethought has immense importance. Therefore, jurisprudence and psychology both are closely inter-related human sciences.

  • Jurisprudence and Economics

Economics is that the science of wealth and jurisprudence is that the science of law. Economics studies the assembly and distribution of wealth and law is liable for establishing a good distribution of wealth through rules. Moreover, studies show that economic factors are liable for the increasing rate of criminal activities, which again brings the 2 in close relation with one another. Furthermore, economics aims at improvement of the standards of human lives whereas, this might impossible if a peaceful environment isn't available which is feasible through the appliance of laws. Therefore, there's an in-depth relationship between the two.

  • Jurisprudence and History

History is that the scientific narration of the past events, whereas, jurisprudence is that the science of law. Law has not inherit existence overnight, as a matter of fact, it's developed through ages. History helps jurisprudence in digging out the origin and evolution of various legal rules. Owing to its importance, there developed a separate branch of jurisprudence, referred to as Historical Jurisprudence. Therefore, it's going to concluded that there's an in- depth relation between jurisprudence and history.

  • Jurisprudence and Sociology

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. Sociological Jurisprudence thinks that laws can be made, transformed and changed according to the needs of society. Basically, it means the law can be adjusted as per societal needs.



Scope of Jurisprudence

  • Jurisprudence may be a broad subject, and its utility can't be undermined. It has a far-reaching scope.

  • The researches in jurisprudence contribute to the development of society by having implications in the legal, political and social school of thoughts.

  • Jurisprudence also contains educational value. It aids within the logical analysis of the legal concepts, and it sharpens the logical techniques of lawyers.

  • The discipline of jurisprudence helps to understand the law in its proper context by considering the needs of the society and taking note of the advances in its related fields.

  • It can teach to look for answers to a new legal problem that can be found by a consideration of present social needs and not in the wisdom of the past.

  • Jurisprudence throws light on the basic ideas and fundamentals of law. It helps to know the character of the law, its concepts, utility, etc. It helps understand the law from the grass-root level during a logical way.

  • Austin was the sole 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 can't be circumscribed because it includes all human conduct within the State and therefore the Society.


Approaches to the study of Jurisprudence

There are two ways

  • 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 often a topic of great scholarship and research; researchers in Jurisprudence contribute to the event of society by having repercussions within the whole legal, political and social school of thoughts. one among the tasks of this subject is to construct and elucidate concepts serving to render the complexities of law more manageable and more rational. it's the assumption of this subject that the idea can help to enhance practice.

  • Jurisprudence also has an academic value. It helps within 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 results in excessive concentration on legal rules for his or her own sake and disrespect of the affair of the law.

  • The study of jurisprudence helps to place law in its proper context by considering the requirements of the society and by listening of the advances in related and relevant disciplines.

  • Jurisprudence can teach the people to seem if not forward, a minimum of sideways and around them and realize that answers to a replacement legal problem must be found by a consideration of present social needs and not within the wisdom of the past.

  • Jurisprudence is that the eye of law and therefore the grammar of law because it throws light on basic ideas and fundamental principles of law. Therefore, by understanding the character of law, its concepts and distinctions, a lawyer can determine the particular rule of law. It also helps in knowing the language, grammar, the idea of treatment and assumptions upon which the topic rests. Therefore, some logical training is important for a lawyer which he can find from the study of Jurisprudence.

  • It trains the critical faculties of the mind of the scholars in order that they will dictate fallacies and use accurate legal terminology and expression.

  • It helps a lawyer in his practical work. A lawyer always has got to tackle new problems a day. This he can handle through his knowledge of Jurisprudence which trains his mind to seek out alternative legal channels of thought.

  • Jurisprudence helps the judges and lawyers in ascertaining truth meaning of the laws gone by the legislators by providing the principles of interpretation. Therefore, the study of jurisprudence shouldn't be confined to the study of positive laws but also must include normative study i.e. that study should affect the development of law within the context of prevailing socio-economic and political philosophies of your 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’.

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