Jurisprudence - Meaning, Definition and Branches of Jurisprudence

Mon, 02/27/2012 - 10:21 -- Umar Farooq

Meaning of Jurisprudence

Where there is a systemize branch of knowledge its science comes into existence, since law is a systemized branch of knowledge, it is a science. The name of the science is Jurisprudence. This word has its roots in the Latin word "Jurisprudentia". Juris means law and prudentia meaning knowledge. Thus jurisprudence is knowledge of law or skill in law. It is the `science of legal principles and philosophy of law which includes the entire, system of legal doctrine.

Definitions of Jurisprudence

Austin Jurisprudence Definition

In the words of Austin Jurisprudence is concerned with positive law i.e. "positivism" which means that laws are commands. The second meaning is that the, law as "it is" actually laid down has to be kept separate from the law that "ought to be".

Salmond Jurisprudence Definition

According to Salmond Jurisprudence is the science of law", here law stands for law of land. In this sense it has three kinds i.e.

  • Systematic jurisprudence. Existing actual legal system in past or in present.
  • Legal History. Process of historical development.
  • Legislation. To set forth law, as it ought to be.

Jurisprudence is the science of legal principles and philosophy of law, which indicates the entire system of legal doctrine. In short it is the study of the structure of legal system, while jurist means a legal scholar, one who is versed in law.

Branches of Jurisprudence

According to Austin there are two branches of jurisprudence

  1. General and
  2. Particular Jurisprudence

General jurisprudence relates with the subjects of law as are common to all systems of law. This field of law is a wider one. Particular jurisprudence is confined only to study of any actual system of law, it talks about it special or particular system of law. In both essence is the same but they differ from each other in their scope. This classification by Austin has been criticized by many jurists as being unscientific. Professor Holland says that it is vague to think of general jurisprudence. According to Holland science is science and it cannot be classified as general or particular.