Analytical Theory of Jurisprudence

Analytical Theory
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Analytical school of Jurisprudence is often referred to as ‘Austenian School’ or ‘Positivist School’. It is referred to as the positivist school because the exponents of the analytical school of jurisprudence are not concerned with the past or the future of law, but are only concerned with the law as it exists. It is popularly known as Austenian School because John Austin was the founder of this school. There are five schools of jurisprudence, but this article would be elucidating upon the analytical school of jurisprudence.


The key idea behind the analytical school to deal with law as it is, i.e., the way it is existing in its present form. In Analytical school, law is regarded as the direction of the Sovereign. This school differs from a priori approach. Analytical School tries to examine and study the principles of law as they truly exist in the legal system. The Analytical School of Jurisprudence believes that law originates from the state and makes an attempt to define the relation of law with state.

Principle of Analytical School of Law:

Analytical school attempts to distinguish between law as it is and law as it ought to be. Although, Austin does not deny the success of moral factors in the creation of law, he disregards morals in his theory. Analytical Jurists believe that law is the product of human will. Therefore, the common approach is that, law is made by ‘someone’. Analytical jurists have a rigid opinion against ethics. Analytical jurists only focus on the positive law. They are concerned only with what is the pure fact of law.

An insight about the Analytical school of jurisprudence:

Various names have been attached to the Analytical school. It is known as the Positive school because its adherents are unconcerned about the history or future of law, but as it currently exists. The Analytical school was dominant in England and therefore also came to be known as the English school. It is known as the Austinian school because it was founded by John Austin. This school takes the evolved legal system for granted and continues logically to analyze and classify its key principles in order to reveal their interrelationships. Analytical jurisprudence is the name given to this school because of its focus on the methodical investigation of legal principles. Analytical jurists’ initial interest is to comprehend the structural character of a legal system, and discussions about justice are not only unnecessary but also dangerously confusing for this aim. This approach to law is termed analytical.

The Analytical school views law as a sovereign’s mandate. It emphasized the importance of legislation as a source of law. The notion of law underpins the entire system. Analytical jurisprudence does not produce its premises, rather, the law provides them. Analytical jurisprudence’s role is to accept these premises and break them down into their ultimate atomic constituents in a well-organized legal framework. This school views law as a closed system of pure facts that excludes all norms and values.

Function of the Analytical school of jurisprudence:

The Analytical school’s fundamental objective is to provide legal principles in a clear and methodical manner that is relevant to a larger and more developed legal system. It begins with the real facts of law as they exist now. It tries to define those words, explains their meanings, and illustrates how they are related to one another. One of the goals of the Analytical school is to have a thorough knowledge of the underlying notions that underpin all legal thinking.

Significance of the Analytical school of Jurisprudence:

Analytical Jurisprudence’s significance stems from the fact that it provided clarity to legal reasoning. It gave us a vocabulary that was clear, precise, and scientific. It accomplished Austin’s goal of “clearing the heads and untying the knots.” It purposefully left out all external elements that aren’t covered by the law.


The different schools of thought in jurisprudence indicate distinct approaches in handling the subject. The Analytical school of jurisprudence highlighted the positive approach that needs to be adopted to address legal challenges. The school came with its own sets of pros and cons that the article highlighted, nevertheless one cannot ignore that the school had a lot to offer to society in general. At last It can be safely said that positivism forms the crux of the Analytical School of Jurisprudence. This school lays emphasis on legislation as the source of law. It made an attempt to bring about precision in legal thinking.

Author: Ibrahim Ibo

Department of Law and Land Administration,

Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU).

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