The word “Jurisprudence’’ is derived from a Latin word jurisprudentia, which means “Knowledge of law” or the “skill in law”. Ulpian defines Jurisprudence as “the knowledge of things divine and human, the science of the just and unjust”. Jurisprudence is basically a study and knowledge of the law that explains its creation, enforcement, and purpose. There exist different schools of jurisprudence. Different main schools of Jurisprudence include: 1. Philosophical School, 2. Analytical School, 3. Historical School, 4. Sociological School, 5. Realist School. These schools do not represent different avenues of approach to a common goal, but rather different goals.
IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF SCHOOLS
Philosophical School: The Philosophical School is also known as Natural Law. It considers law of nature as the highest law which occupies an important place in the domains of politics, law, religion and ethics. The Natural was believed to have a divine origin in the ancient societies. The Medieval period, however, gave it a religious and super-natural basis and in the modern times it has a strong political and legal mooring. The greatest contribution of the natural law theory to the legal system is considered to be its ideology of a universal order governing all men and the inalienable rights of the individual. The notable jurists of this school are Thomas Hobbes and John Lockes.
Analytical School: The Analytical School of jurisprudence, which is also known as Imperative School, deals with law and it exists in the present form. The jurists of this school believe that the most important aspect of the law is its relation to the State. They consider law as a command emerging from the sovereign namely, the State. This school is generally termed as the Positive School of Jurisprudence. Austin and Bentham are the known prominent jurists belonging to this school.
Historical School: The Historical School of Jurisprudence is said to have emerged as a reaction to the legal theories propounded by the analytical positivists and natural law philosophers. It aims to deal with the general principles governing the origin and development of the law with the influences that affect the law. This school of jurisprudence does not attach importance to the relation of law to the state but gives primacy to the social institutions in which the law develops with itself.
Sociological School: The Sociological School of jurisprudence is said to have emerged as a result of the synthesis of various juristic thoughts and is mainly concerned with the relationship of law to other contemporary social institutions. This School is of the view that jurists should focus their attention on social purposes and interests served by law rather than on individuals and their abstract rights. This school treats law as an instrument of social progress. Eminent jurists belonging to this School include: Montesquieu and Rudolph Von Ihering.
Realist School: The Realist School of jurisprudence contends that law has emerged from the judges, therefore, law is what the courts do and what they say. Realists are of the view that judicial decisions are not based on abstract formal law but the human aspects of the judges and the lawyers also have an impact on the court’s decision. Karl Llewellyn and Oliver Windell Holmes are some of the prominent jurists belonging to this school.
These Schools of jurisprudence have proved to be very helpful in giving an idea as to how the law and the need for law emerged. They help us to understand the purpose of our own existence as well. Although the viewpoints of jurists belonging to these schools are quite different from each other, but all of them strive to achieve a common goal which is to govern the law of the land in such a way so as to serve the justice at largest possible level.