Sociology is the scientific study of law, and sociology of law is the scientific study of legal behavior. The mission of sociology of law is to predict and explain legal variation of every kind, including variation in what is defined as illegal, how cases enter legal systems and how cases are solved.
Sociology of law is of great importance to its participants in the legal system although it does not appear as a self contained system of rules and procedure. On the other hand, traditional legal scholarship holds that law is an autonomous discipline, standing alone and separate from other spheres of knowledge. The traditional perspective is more devoted to the more immediate questions of how legal systems ought to be structured and how cases ought to be handled. However, Martha Albertson Fineman , a feminist legal theorist, challenges the traditional notion that law is a neutral, objective, rational set of rules. She argues that certain groups have historically been unrepresented (or underrepresented) in law and this has led to biases.
The consequences of legal sociology are far reaching and even assume more importance as this principle grows. Its relevance can be categorized under;
Law And Concepts
As work in sociology of law has progressed, it has put into new perspective many of the most time honoured concepts held by legal scholars e.g. concept of discretion which refers to the latitude legal officials have in deciding cases. Discretion traditionally is seen to introduce a significant measure of unpredictability in the legal system and it is also supposed to be the cause of much deviation in legal processing. The traditional understanding is inaccurate and constitutes a myth about how legal systems operate.
It is undoubted that the sociology of law has significance in our understanding of any legal concept. It has a broader conceptual relevance and this is to be found in the alternative perspective that...