Home Legal Advice Professor Nigam Nuggehalli on Why to Study Jurisprudence – Lawctopus

Professor Nigam Nuggehalli on Why to Study Jurisprudence – Lawctopus


Letters to regulation college students #24 ‘why should you study jurisprudence?’

My expensive regulation college students

It is that point of the 12 months when you’ll research jurisprudence or the philosophy of regulation. It can also be round this time that i’m requested the inevitable query: why is jurisprudence a compulsory course within the curriculum? I doubt if the philosophy of medication is obligatory in medical colleges or if the philosophy of engineering is obligatory in engineering colleges. If so, why ought to regulation college students alone undergo the ignominy of finding out the philosophy of regulation under compulsion?

I used to reply this query by waxing eloquent about philosophy, the love of knowledge and the way fascinating it could be for college students to know the true nature of something – the celebs, the oceans, the earth and, after all, the regulation. But this sort of reply solely energizes these regulation college students who take pleasure in studying Lord Denning. The extra arduous nosed ones change into much more arduous nosed after listening to this reply. i’ve now a fair higher cause for you, one which I ought to have emphasised proper from the start.

You will agree with me that the way by which our judges make their selections is of immense sensible worth. This is much more essential once we think about the judicial operate relatively than any specific judicial establishment. Considered broadly, the judicial operate is exercised in varied  contexts, like that exercised by a authorities official in granting or cancelling licenses or an unbiased director on the company board and even that of a decide in an inter collegiate trend contest.

Here’s the fascinating query: what sort of requirements do individuals apply once they carry out the judicial operate? Contrary to what many college students imagine, there isn’t any clear reply to this query. HLA Hart, the primary sensible authorized thinker you’ll research in your course, thought that the requirements that judges apply are equipped by lawmakers (for instance, the parliament). The algorithm emanating from the lawmakers might not match all of the conditions that judges think about, by which instances judges use their discretion to fill within the gaps within the regulation. So far, in my experience, most college students intuitively agree with this evaluation.

Ronald Dworkin, one other sensible authorized thinker you’ll research on this course, challenged Hart.  He mentioned a well-known New York case referred to as Riggs v Palmer. An individual killed his grandfather and because it so occurred, was entitled to inherit his grandfather’s property after his dying. The court docket disallowed the inheritance on the precept that an individual shouldn’t profit from his own wrongs. In one other case, Henningsen v Bloomfield Motors, a maker of cars tried to depend on an exclusionary contract clause that restricted claims from automobile homeowners if the automobiles turned out to be defective. The court docket denied the impact of such exclusionary clauses on the premise of the precept that manufactures of cars had particular duties of care in direction of their prospects.

Dworkin argued that the ideas in play in these two instances didn’t appear to be the foundations described by Hart.  The judges actually thought they had been applying binding authorized ideas, and never exercising discretion when the foundations run out. But what place did these authorized requirements come from, in the event that they weren’t established in any statute or precedent? This isn’t a query to be thought-about as a pleasant puzzle on wet evenings (why are sunsets so stunning?) however has essential implications for our lives. Judges positive individuals and ship individuals to jail. We higher have a deal with on the requirements that they purport to use.

Dworkin’s problem to Hart has not been answered satisfactorily but. So, while you research the character and origin of authorized requirements within the jurisprudence course, please keep in mind you might be coming into a stay debate, not a mausoleum. Your inquiry into the character of authorized requirements will take you far into the position of the regulation and the relevance of state coercion. If you research jurisprudence with an open thoughts and with diligence, you’ll come out of this course with a renewed interest within the relationship between state, society, politics and justice. You would have been uncovered to a few of the finest writing within the regulation, and you’ll study to understand why legal professionals, nevertheless arduous nosed they may think about themselves to be, are literally philosophers at heart.

Nigam Nuggehalli


School of Law

BML Munjal University

Note: This letter has been reproduced after taking Professor Nuggehalli’s consent.

To learn extra from the sequence on ‘Letter to Law Students’, you possibly can try Professor Nigam Nuggehalli’s LinkedIn page here.  You may learn extra about Professor Nigam Nuggehalli here

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