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Understanding Jurisprudence

An Introduction to Legal Theory

Sixth Edition

Raymond Wacks

November 2020

ISBN: 9780198864677

424 pages

In Stock

Price: £37.99

The most student focussed guide to jurisprudence



Understanding Jurisprudence provides an illuminating and engaging introduction to the central questions of legal theory. It is the perfect starting point for those new to the subject.

  • 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 understanding of jurisprudence
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Expanded discussions of theories of justice, globalisation, and environmental protection
  • A new section dedicated to judicial review and democracy
  • Updated suggested further reading lists and self-test questions at the end of each chapter

About the Author(s)

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, Turkish, Chinese, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, and Georgian.

Table of Contents

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


"Understanding Jurisprudence is a solid, authoritative, and easy-to-read textbook which offers a comprehensive discussion of jurisprudence." - Dr Luca Siliquini-Cinelli, Lecturer in Law, University of Dundee

"This is an excellent book for law students which provides a well-structured and deep analysis of the major legal theories." - Professor Mauro Zamboni, Stockholm University

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

"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

Additional Resources

The sixth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is supported by online resources.
- The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks
A range of resources for this book are available online:
- Self-test questions with instant feedback
- Interactive flashcards of key glossary terms
- Guidance and advice on studying jurisprudence
- Links to useful websites
- Further reading suggestions

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