The term “jurisprudence” is derived from the Latin words, juris prudential, which means knowledge of law. It is the science, study, and theory of law. It includes principles behind law that make the law.
It is the science of actual or positive law. This science is a formal, or analytical, rather than a material, one.
Forms of Jurisprudence
Four types of the most common Legal philosophy are;
- The first and the most prevalent form of jurisprudence seeks to analyze, explain, classify, and criticize entire bodies of law. Law school textbooks and legal encyclopedias represent this type of scholarship.
- The second type of jurisprudence compares and contrasts law with other fields of knowledge such as literature, economics, religion, and the social sciences.
- The third type of jurisprudence seeks to reveal the historical, moral, and cultural basis of a particular legal concept.
- The fourth body of jurisprudence focuses on finding the answer to such abstract questions as What is law? How do judges (properly) decide cases?
Schools of Jurisprudence
Four primary schools of thought in general jurisprudence are;
- Natural law is the idea that there are rational objective limits to the power of legislative rulers. The foundations of law are accessible through reason and it is from these laws of nature that human-created laws gain whatever force they have
- Legal positivism, by contrast to natural law, holds that there is no necessary connection between law and morality and that the force of law comes from some basic social facts. Legal positivists differ on what those facts are.
- Legal realism is a third theory of jurisprudence which argues that the real world practice of law is what determines what law is; the law has the force that it does because of what legislators, lawyers and judges do with it.
- Critical legal studies are a younger theory of jurisprudence that has developed since the 1970s. It is primarily a negative thesis that holds that the law is largely contradictory, and can be best analyzed as an expression of the policy goals of the dominant social group.