‘Jurisprudence’ is the theory and philosophy of law. The concept of jurisprudence has been around for quite a long time. Both the Ancient Greeks and Romans considered the philosophy of law, and earlier societies probably did as well. The term itself is derived from a Latin phrase, juris prudentia, meaning “knowledge of the law.” Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists, hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions.
In ancient Indian vedic society, the law or Dharma, as followed by Hindus was interpreted by use of “Manu Smriti”– a set of poems which defined sin and the remedies. They were said to be written between 200 BC - 200 AD. In fact, these were not codes of law but norms related to social obligations and ritual requirements of the era. Modern jurisprudence began in the 18th century and was focused on the first principles of the natural law, civil law, and the law of nations.
Jurisprudence is regarded primarily as a discipline in how to think for oneself and not something to know. Its value lies in the analysis from which conclusions may be drawn and not the formulation of any final conclusion. The traditional classification of approaches into analytical, historical, ethical and sociological has been rejected. The new approaches are the empirical and a priori approaches. One of the tasks of jurisprudence is to construct and elucidate concepts serving to render the complexities of law more manageable and more rational. In this way, theory can help to improve practice.
There is no unanimity of opinion regarding the scope of jurisprudence. Different authorities attribute different meanings and varying premises to law and that causes difference of opinions with regard to the exact limits of the field covered by jurisprudence. Jurisprudence has been so defined as to cover moral and religious precepts also and that has created confusion.
Jurisprudence can teach the people to look, if not forward, at least sideways and around them and realize that answers to new legal problems must be found by a consideration of the present social needs and not in the wisdom of the past. A study of jurisprudence helps legislators by providing them a precise and unambiguous terminology. Jurisprudence helps the judges and the lawyers in ascertaining the true meanings of the laws passed by the legislatures by providing the rules of interpretation. 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. The study of jurisprudence enlightens students and helps them in adjusting themselves in society without causing injuries to the interests of other citizens.
In this book we have covered topics like Nature and scope of jurisprudence, classification of law, schools of jurisprudence, State and Sovereignty in Chapter I, the sources of law, legislation, precedent, custom etc., in Chapter II, Persons, legal rights etc., in Chapter III, the Law of obligations, liability etc., in Chapter IV, and Ownership, Possesison, Law of property and the administration of justice under Chapter V. This book provides a short cut to the students of the 3/5 year law degree course to enable them to get a broad understanding of the topics that would be covered under the revised syllabus with effect from the academic year 2009-2010.
We owe our gratitude to Mr. D. Durga Prasad, LL.B, FCS, for his personal attention, inputs and technical support. Our thanks are also due to Mr. M. Venkateswarlu for his wholehearted and efficient secretarial support in bringing out this Book.