Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (5th edition)

ISBN : 9780198806011

Raymond Wacks
424 ページ
171 x 246 mm
  • An extremely readable and interesting account for all law students, offering the ideal support for a legal theory module, as well as providing valuable context for the study of law in general
  • Written by an experienced academic and author, the text explains complex ideas with clarity, without avoiding the subtleties of the subject
  • Exposes students to a broad range of key theorists and concepts, along with issues such as punishment and rights which are treated thematically
  • Features pithy extracts and extensive further reading to introduce and explain the central scholarly works, ideas, and commentaries which shape legal theory, providing the ideal base for further study
  • Self-test questions appear at the end of chapters and multiple-choice questions are hosted online to help students test their command of jurisprudence

New to this Edition:

  • Includes expanded chapters on rights, obedience to law, theories of justice, and feminist theories
  • Discussions of the rule of law, global justice, virtue ethics, human and animal rights, the economic analysis of law, and postmodernist theories have been revised
  • Suggested further reading lists and questions at the end of each chapter have been updated to reflect changes in the chapters

Written with students in mind, Professor Raymond Wacks brings legal theory to life through his lucid and entertaining style. The author has crafted a manageable guide, balancing concise introductions to the key theorists and core issues such as punishment and rights without ignoring the subtleties of the subject.
Seminal quotes from leading scholars are included to help students recognise the impact of their work, while extensive further reading suggestions at the end of each chapter invite students to explore the broad range of literature available on central topics. Each chapter concludes with a series of critical questions designed to encourage reader to think analytically about the law and the key debates which surround it.
This book is accompanied by online resources which includes multiple-choice questions with instant feedback to give students the chance to test their understanding.


1: What's it all about?
2: Natural law and morality
3: Classical legal positivism
4: Modern legal positivism
5: Law and moral legitimacy
6: Legal realism
7: Law and social theory
8: Historical and anthropological jurisprudence
9: Theories of justice
10: Rights
11: Why obey the law?
12: Why punish?
13: Critical legal theory
14: Feminist theory
15: Jurisprudence understood


Raymond Wacks, Emeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory, University of Hong Kong
Professor Raymond Wacks has taught jurisprudence around the world for over thirty years. He has published more than twenty books and numerous articles on legal philosophy, the right of privacy, and human and animal rights. His books have been translated into several languages including Arabic, Greek, Chinese, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, and Georgian.

"Wacks has a remarkable ability to convey difficult concepts and ideas without distorting their meaning." - Daniel Bansal, Lecturer in Law, Coventry University

"An admirably clear, extremely helpful, and accurate introduction to this formidable subject. The elegance of the writing and the breadth of knowledge - displayed here in such an easily accessible form - make it essential reading for every student of Jurisprudence." - Stephen Guest, Emeritus Professor of Legal Philosophy, University College London

"The plentiful discussion topics and Wacks' delightful style make this an impressive read." - William A. Edmundson, Regents' Professor of Law and of Philosophy, Georgia State University, Atlanta

"An excellent text which explains complex and difficult ideas in an accessible way." - Christopher Essert, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Ontario

"Wacks' writing style is both engaging and enjoyable." - The Student Law Journal

"A book like this cannot help but demonstrate the richness of the subject and how fundamental it is to the development and practice of law." - Tom Garbett, The Law Society Gazette

"Understanding Jurisprudence is a juristic gem that sparkles with insight and shines with clarity, shedding light on numerous challenging topics in a lucidly accessible style. It is an indispensable resource for student and scholar alike, and is a rarity-an academic text that is actually a pleasure to read!" - William MacNeil, The Honourable John Dowd Chair in Law, Dean & Head of the School of Law and Justice, Southern Cross University, Australia.