Jurisprudence is a generic term denoting the science and philosophy of law. In this respect, the word “jurisprudence” is often used to distinguish studies focusing on aspects of legal form and method from investigations concentrating on the content of the law, i.e. substantive law issues. In the Scandinavian countries, the latter often are referred to as studies in legal dogmatics.
In the Scandinavian legal education, jurisprudence is a compulsory subject for most legal degrees. In the academic curricula, the discipline is referred to as the “General Theory of Law” (in Swedish, allmän rättslära). Not surprisingly, its content and objectives are often discussed. The argumentation at times has been intense, as advocates for the various theories articulate different opinions as to the true nature of law, along with accompanying convictions concerning what are, can and should be considered acceptable legal methods. In the international debate, however, the terminological distinction between jurisprudence and legal dogmatics is not always maintained. The word “jurisprudence” is sometimes apparently also used in a broader context as a synonym for “law”, covering studies of both kinds. Jurisprudence thus also corresponds to legal science (in Swedish, rättsvetenskap). It is in this sense that the title of this book should be understood. This 48th volume of the Scandinavian Studies in Law (Sc.St.L.) has been dedicated to honour Professor Jes Bjarup on the occasion of his retirement from the chair in Jurisprudence at the Stockholm University Law Faculty in January 2005.
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