jurisprudence Resources

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The Three Main Aspects of Jurisprudence

The following three main aspects of jurisprudence have developed -

  • (a) Natural Law -
    arose as a theory with regard to the unchangeable laws of nature that all of our legal institutions should look to try to match, with notable theorists in this area of study including Lon Fuller. It is important to appreciate that this theory of jurisprudence is usually most effectively summarised by the maxim that 'an unjust law is not a true law' and is also most closely associated with morality and with the 'intentions of God'.

    This is because of the fact that natural law theory seeks to effectively identify a moral compass to guide the state's lawmaking power when it is execised for the good of society. But it is also necessary to look to recognise as to what is consiered morally right and wrong will clearly very distinctly from place to place and also in terms of time as society develops.

  • (b) Analytic Jurisprudence -
    is concerned with the inquisitive nature of academics carrying out their studies in this area - asking questions like 'What is law?'; 'What is the relationship between law and power/sociology?'; and, 'What is the relationship between law and morality?' - with notable theorists in this area of study including H. L. A. Hart and John Austin. Therefore, with this in mind, this area of legal theory looks to utilise a neutral point of view and descriptive language when looking to refer to aspects of legal systems by asking what something 'is' rather than what it ought to be.

    Consequently, this area of legal theory is clearly not concerned with the hyperthetical, only the reality of a given situation within a set of circumstances at a particular time in a particular place.

  • (c) Normative Jurisprudence -
    recognises what law ought to be in an ideal world and overlaps this idea with both moral and political philosophy, in relation to as to whether the law should be obey, why law-breakers should be punished, the use of regulation, and as to how the judiciary should reach its judgments with notable theorists in this area including John Rawls.

    Consequently, on this basis, it is to be appreciated that legal theory in this area is concerned with much more than merely analytical acpects, as the normative theories look to be more evaluative by asking the questions about what lies behind the law so as to gain a far greater understanding of what makes the law.