chapter  2
22 Pages

Sociology, History and the ‘Internal’ Study of Law

ByMichael Lobban

Cotterrell places special emphasis on the need of the legal profession and legal system for legitimation. The claim that there is an important relationship between normative legal theory's concerns with unity or system in law, on the one hand, and legal professionalism and politics, on the other, provides a framework in which to consider, some influential currents of Anglo-American legal philosophy. Empirical legal theory sees law as a social institution that cannot be isolated and is best understood through application of the social sciences. Cotterrell identifies his dichotomy with Hans Kelsen's distinction between 'normative jurisprudence' and 'sociological jurisprudence'. Law and society studies thus echo the main themes in Cotterrell's challenge to normative legal theory. The late nineteenth-century promotion of legal science by legal theorists, when viewed from a certain angle, might be taken to confirm Cotterrell's argument that normative legal theory serves the legal profession by presenting law as an ordered system of principles and doctrines.