Explain What Is Meant by ‘Mechanical Jurisprudence’, and Discuss Hart’s Objections Towards It.
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Explain what is meant by ‘mechanical jurisprudence’, and discuss Hart’s objections towards it.
The term mechanical jurisprudence was coined by Roscoe pound in his article in 1908. It is the concept that judges apply law rigidly according to precedent and legislation without thought of consequences. In this it is argued that every eventuality that comes before the law is legislated for in advance, it is just for the judges to apply the relevant law. This concept would insinuate that every case that comes before the courts has been legislated for in advance, leaving virtually no room for judicial discretion. Hart has shed some academic light on the matter. In “The Concept of Law” he explains that there are two handicaps whenever we seek to…show more content… All three of these cases, if mechanical jurisprudence were to have been applied, would have been dealt with in the same way. This presence of ‘open texture’ makes it difficult to believe that the judiciary applies its trade in systematic and a mechanistic way, when the law is so general and vague. Open texture and our relative indeterminacy of aim when legislating leaves room for judicial discretion and breadth in the law.
Hart goes on to write of the importance of being able to settle cases in the courts rather than legislating in advance. He refers to Von JHerring’s ‘heaven of legal concepts’, Hart explains this concept “this is reached when a general term is given the same meaning not only in every application of a single rule, but whenever it appears in the legal system.” This would appear to be the polar opposite of ‘open texture’ and would be prevalent in a legal system of mechanical jurisprudence. He explains that this would allow for a greater measure of certainty and predictability but at the expense of being unable to exclude cases which we may wish to exclude. “The rigidity of our classifications will thus war with our aims in having or maintaining the rule.” Thus the concept of mechanical jurisprudence would hinder the courts ability to take into account things such as equity and the pursuit of social aims, in the pursuit of a clear and rigid