There is no universal or uniform definition of Jurisprudence as LAW is the subject matter of Jurisprudence & there is no universal definition of ‘law’. As regions, countries, religions changes, the law is changed. Law is not same everywhere. Another reason is people having different opinions, ideologies & beliefs.

Jurisprudence is the study and knowledge of various lawsJurisprudence is a very vast subject & is derived from the Latin word JURISPRUDENTIA, Which is composed of two words : Juris & Prudentia. Juris means Law & Prudentia means knowledge. Hence jurisprudence means knowledge of law.
Jurisprudence signifies knowledge of law & its application which covers body of legal principles in the world.

Jeremy Bentham is known as the Father of Jurisprudence. He was British philosopher, jurist & Social reformer.
He was the first who distinguished his study [what is law?] into two words:

  1. LAW as it is – Expositorial Approach [command of sovereign/state]
  2. Law it ought to be – Censorial Approach [morality of law]
Various Definitions of Jurisprudence by various Jurists.:
  1. Salmond : science of first principles of civil law.
  2. John Austin : philosophy of positive law.
  3. Holland : formal science of positive law.
  4. Julius Stone : Jurisprudence is the lawyer’s extraversion .
  5. Herald J. Laski : Jurisprudence is the Eye of Law or Grammar of law.
  6. Hans Kelson : Pure theory of Law.
  7. Volkgeist Theory of Savingny : customs & historical approach
  8. Henry Maine:
  9. Roscoe Pound: Sociological school of Jurisprudence.
Doctrine of Utilitarianism:

Bentham is regarded as the founder of Doctrine of utilitarianism, which means How much pleasure or pain does the law bring?

man is basically a pleasure seeker, he was always in favour of ‘Laissez Faire’, which means minimum interference of law in the economic life of citizen.

John Austin’s theory of Jurisprudence (LEGAL POSITIVISM) :  John Austin was eminent British jurist, he was professor of Jurisprudence at University of London. Austin defines Jurisprudence as a Philosophy of positive law.
Here Positive law means the ‘command of sovereign’.  However Austin favored the ‘command of sovereign’ concept of Bentham, but he opposed the censorial approach of Bentham.
Austin developed the theory of ‘Legal Positivism’. He separates ‘Moral Rule’ from ‘Positive law

The three basic points of Austin’s theory of law are:-
  1. The law of command is issued by the non-commanded commander –‘The Sovereign
    It is the state which enforces law.
  2. Commands are back(supported) by Threats of sanctions.
  3. A sovereign is one who is habitually ‘obeyed’ (respected)

According to Austin : Jurisprudence is the philosophy of positive law , philosophy of actual law . Austin refers to principles, notions & distinctions being found in various law arrangements.

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