Jurisprudential Doctrines on the Nature of Law and Impact on Contemporary Global Legal Systems

Akani, Nnamdi Kingsley


Law, like every other social concept, is not amenable to a straight-jacketed definition. This is because the concept has been defined by philosophers, jurists, scholars and commentators from variegated sets of backgrounds which reflect in the positions canvassed and claims made about law. It is not in dispute, and there seems to be an unusual unanimity among scholars, that law is a tool for the maintenance of law and order, peace and stability, as well as the regulation of the behavior and activities of human beings in the society. However, the controversy surrounding the meaning of law is one that has raged on from antiquity and even till today, the argument rages on. In the course of intellectual efforts to define law, several viewpoints have emerged. These viewpoints are what are known as the theories of law or schools of jurisprudence. Among these, natural law, legal positivism, realist theory, pure theory, sociological theory, historical theory and the economic law theory are the most prominent. The present paper seeks to expound the various jurisprudential doctrines or schools on what law truly is. In doing this, the paper presents the basic arguments or claims made by each school of jurisprudence regarding the notion of law, their major strengths and contributions to the Nigerian legal system and those of the contemporary world, as well as the major weak points of the theories. The paper argues that no one theory is self-sufficient; no single theory has been able to offer a satisfactory explication of the concept of law free from objections. There is no legal system that can survive by complete reliance on the views of a particular theory. It concludes that each theory has something to contribute to the development of the legal system and that the complete picture of law can only be achieved when the views, strengths and weaknesses of all the schools of jurisprudence are synthesized.

Keywords: Jurisprudential, Doctrines, Nature, Law, Impact, Contemporary, Global Legal Systems.

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/85-01

Publication date:May 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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