Meaning and Importance of Jurisprudence | 14 Definitions of Jurisprudence


The term Jurisprudence derived from a Latin term ‘Jurisprudentia’. If we divide this word, we will get two different terms Juris and Prudentia. Juriprudentia=Juris+Prudentia.

Juris means law and the term prudential means science or knowledge of law. So, Jurisprudence means science of law or knowledge of law.

It is also known as Legal Theory.

Origin of Jurisprudence

The Romans first started jurisprudence as a separate branch of study. The Indian jurisprudence owes its origin to the concept of ‘Dharma’. So, from the concept of Dharma, it was introduced in India.

Why do we need law?

To understand jurisprudence, first we need to understand why do we need law. If there are no traffic rules, then there will be a haphazard in the road. Without any traffic law or rules, there will be accident in the road.

To control marital relationship, like after marriage or divorce, there are applications to be made, arguments to be made and courts need to give judgments. If nothing was there, people would have married and left according to their wish.

If there is no governing principle, one person will kill another person. Because of cognizable, non-cognizable, bailable, non-bailable, compoundable, non-compoundable theory, people fear to commit crime. These are the reasons we need law.

If we look at penal code section 299 and 300, there is two different punishment regarding one person killing another. Things to be considered here are whether the murder was cold-blooded or not, intentional or not, with extreme provocation or anger. It deals with these things.

Jurisprudence helps us to understand these particular things-

  • What is Law?
  • Why we need to study law?
  • Sources of Law
  • Approaches of Law
  • Theories of Law
  • Development of Law etc.

Important things about jurisprudence

  1. Jurisprudence is not derived from any authority. That’s why it is of universal in nature.
  2. It is a science of law. That’s why lawyers are called social engineers.
  3. It is not a set of rules and regulations or some code. That’s why there is no section or article in it.
  4. It is general and theoretical in nature.
  5. It is not the study of law itself but underlying basic concepts. It only gives basic concepts and based on these concepts a state can make law accordingly.

It is not for a state or a country or region. It is for the entire world.

It covers common topics like Ownership, Possession, Punishments, Property, Liability, Rights and Duties, Obligation, Morality, Justice etc. As it is for entire world, the main concept of these are same throughout the world but every nation or state based on its requirements makes modifications and changes.

Objects and importance of Jurisprudence

The importance of this subject is very much. Without it, we can’t think of law or the development of law and social norms. Here are the objects and importance of jurisprudence.

  1. Jurisprudence is developed by some of the biggest and best scholars and jurists in the world. It is an outcome of these Scholars’ efforts. This subject has its own intrinsic interest.
  2. It aims at fundamental principles and concepts of law.
  3. It gives a theoretical foundation of law.
  4. It helps lawyers to learn the technique of analytical skills in the profession.
  5. It describes all the legal terms and usages.
  6. It aims at progressive law.
  7. It deals with practicable concepts.
  8. It is considered to be the eye and grammar of the law.
  9. It sharpens a lawyer’s logic.
  10. It helps the judge as well as a lawyer to think progressively.

Definitions of Jurisprudence by different Scholars

Every scholar has a different view giving definitions of it. There is no universal definition of jurisprudence. Here are 14 definitions of jurisprudence by different Jurists.


According to Ulpian, Jurisprudence is an observation of things and it can be divine and human beings. It is a knowledge of just and unjust i.e. what is right and what is wrong.


According to Cicero, It is a philosophical aspect of knowledge of law.


The science of law and it has systematic arrangement which is enforced by the court for the purpose of administration of justice. According to Gray, Jurisprudence deals with those laws which are related to our external conducts.


Salmon agrees with Gray. According to Salmon, Jurisprudence deals with civil law and it is the first principle of civil law. He specifies it in two senses.

  1. Generic sense – it includes the entire body of legal doctrines. There are many doctrines. Some of these doctrines are related to civil law, criminal law, international law, maritime law, personal law, etc.
  2. Specific sense – Only a particular branch of such doctrine. According to him, It is Proper Jurisprudence.

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