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A Student Manual on Jurisprudence.
By Eliud Kitime

Genre/Category: Philosophy
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A Student Manual on Jurisprudence. By Eliud Kitime
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The study of jurisprudence seeks to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, legal reasoning, legal systems, and legal institutions. Early jurisprudential studies focused on the first principles of the natural law, civil law, and the law of nations. Today, general jurisprudence addresses fundamental questions structuring our legal system, including: How do we know what the law is? What are the proper sources and purposes of law? What is the relationship between law and justice? What is the source of one’s duty to obey the law? A familiarity with jurisprudence provides students with an ability to analyse, explain, classify, and criticize schools of thought in law.

This manual contains various knowledge areas and topics to be covered according to the national legal training curriculum of Tanzania of 2010. It is prepared so as to provide general understanding on the jurisprudence specifically for students undertaking the course of jurisprudence and legal theories. It is conceptual and theoretical oriented manual.  It aims at imparting underlying conceptual knowledge. It is user friendly since it has been designed to attract attention and establish the strategies in studying jurisprudence with results desired. It uses simple language as well as ideas grasping nature. This can enable students to understand well jurisprudence. However this manual should not be used as final and conclusive reference during the pursuit of the course of jurisprudence. Hence students are needed to refer other literature cited and referred also in this manual for further clarification and extensive knowledge development.


Jurisprudence has been considered at various times and by different schools of thought as philosophy, history or science. It is concerned essentially with the nature and function of law. It deals with such questions as what is law, where does it come from. What does it do? And what are the means for doing it. This chapter deals with introduction issues of jurisprudence.

The English word is based on the Latin maxim jurisprudentia: juris is the genitive form of jus meaning law, and prudentia means prudence or knowledge. The word is first attested in English in 1628, at a time when the word prudence had the meaning of knowledge of or skill in a matter. The word may have come via the French jurisprudence, which is attested earlier. Hence jurisprudence is the knowledge or skills of the law.

Encyclopaedia America defined jurisprudence as functional study of concept that legal system develop and the social interest that the law protects. As the practical science jurisprudence is the practice of judging the same question in the same manner and thus forming precedents. It includes both the legal ordering of human relations and the body of legal institutions and materials by which the legal process is carried out.