A jurist (from medieval Latin) is someone who researches and studies jurisprudence (theory of law).[1] Such a person can work as an academic, legal writer or law lecturer. In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in many other Commonwealth countries, the word jurist sometimes refers to a barrister, whereas in the United States of America and Canada it often refers to a judge.[2]

Thus a jurist, someone who studies, analyses and comments on law,[3] stands in contrast with a lawyer, someone who applies law on behalf of clients and thinks about it in practical terms.[4]

There is a fundamental difference between the work of a lawyer and that of a jurist.[5] Many legal scholars and authors have explained that a person may be both a lawyer and a jurist, but a jurist is not necessarily a lawyer, nor a lawyer necessarily a jurist. Both must possess an acquaintance with the term "law". The work of the jurist is the study, analysis and arrangement of the law—work which can be done wholly in the seclusion of the library. The work of the lawyer is the satisfaction of the wishes of particular human beings for legal assistance—work which requires dealing to some extent therefore with people in the office, in the court room, or in the market-place.

The term jurist has another sense, which is wider, synonymous with legal professional, i.e. anyone professionally involved with law and justice.[1] In some other European languages, a word resembling jurist (such as Italian giurista, German Jurist, Norwegian/Danish/Swedish jurist, French juriste, Spanish and Portuguese jurista, Russian юрист etc.) is used in this major sense.

Sarcofago avvocato Valerius Petrnianus-optimized
Detail from the sarcophagus of Roman jurist Valerio Petroniano (315–320 AD)

Notable jurists

This is a sequential classification of some notable jurists.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Jurist". Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009.
  2. ^ Garner, Bryan A. (2009). Black's law dictionary (9th ed.). St. Paul, Minn.: West. pp. Jurisprudence entry. ISBN 0314199497.
  3. ^ Vieto Piergiovanni (2000). Comparative Studies in Continental and Anglo-American Legal History. Germany: Duncker & Humblot. p. 236. ISBN 978-3428097562.
  4. ^ Cusack, Warren (2015). Literature and the Law of Nations. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198719342.
  5. ^ Melville Madison Bigelow, Centralization and the Law: Scientific Legal Education (1906), p. 219.

External links

  • Media related to Jurists at Wikimedia Commons
David J. Porter (judge)

David James Porter (born March 8, 1966) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Decretum Gratiani

The Decretum Gratiani, also known as the Concordia discordantium canonum or Concordantia discordantium canonum or simply as the Decretum, is a collection of Canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici. It was used by canonists of the Roman Catholic Church until Pentecost (May 19) 1918, when a revised Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici) promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on 27 May 1917 obtained legal force.


A faqīh (plural Fuqahā, Arabic: فقيه, pl. فقهاء‎) is an Islamic jurist, an expert in fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic Law.


A fatwā (; Arabic: فتوى‎; plural fatāwā فتاوى) is a nonbinding legal opinion on a point of Islamic law (sharia) given by a qualified jurist in response to a question posed by a private individual, judge or government. A jurist issuing fatwas is called a mufti and the act of issuing fatwas is called iftāʾ. Fatwas have played an important role throughout Islamic history, taking on new forms in the modern era.Resembling jus respondendi in Roman law and rabbinic responsa, privately issued fatwas historically served to inform Muslim populations about Islam, advise courts on difficult points of Islamic law, and elaborate substantive law. In later times, public and political fatwas were issued to take a stand on doctrinal controversies, legitimize government policies or articulate grievances of the population. During the era of European colonialism, fatwas played a part in mobilizing resistance to foreign domination.Muftis acted as independent scholars in the classical legal system. Over the centuries, Sunni muftis were gradually incorporated into state bureaucracies, while Shia jurists progressively asserted an autonomous authority starting from the early modern era.In the modern era, fatwas have reflected changing political, social and economic circumstances, and addressed concerns arising in varied Muslim communities. The spread of codified state laws and Western-style legal education in the modern Muslim world has displaced muftis from their traditional role of clarifying and elaborating the laws applied in courts. Instead, modern fatwas have increasingly served to advise the general public on other aspects of sharia, particularly questions regarding religious rituals and everyday life. Modern public fatwas have addressed and sometimes sparked controversies in the Muslim world, and some fatwas in recent decades have gained worldwide notoriety. The legal methodology of modern ifta often diverges from pre-modern practice, particularly so in the West.Emergence of modern media and universal education has transformed the traditional institution of ifta in various ways. While the proliferation of contemporary fatwas attests to the importance of Islamic authenticity to many Muslims, little research has been done to determine how much these fatwas affect the beliefs or behavior of the Muslim public.

Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist

The Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, also called the Governance of the Jurist (Persian: ولایت فقیه‎, Vilayat-e Faqih; Arabic: ولاية الفقيه‎, Wilayat al-Faqih), is a post-Occultation theory in Shia Islam which holds that Islam gives a faqīh (Islamic jurist) custodianship over people. Ulama supporting the theory disagree over how encompassing custodianship should be. One interpretation – Limited Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist – holds that guardianship should be limited to non-litigious matters (al-omour al-hesbiah) including religious endowments (Waqf) judicial matters and the property for which no specific person is responsible. Another – Absolute Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist – maintains that Guardianship should include all issues for which ruler in the absence of Imams have responsibility, including governance of the country.

The idea of guardianship as rule was advanced by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in a series of lectures in 1970 and now forms the basis of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The constitution of Iran calls for a faqih, or Vali-ye faqih (Guardian Jurist), to serve as the Supreme Leader of the government. In the context of Iran, Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist is often referred to as "rule by the jurisprudent", or "rule of the Islamic jurist".


The Hanbali school (Arabic: المذهب الحنبلي‎) is one of the four traditional Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence (fiqh). It is named after the Iraqi scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855), and was institutionalized by his students. The Hanbali madhhab is the smallest of four major Sunni schools, the others being the Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi`i.Hanbali school derives Sharia predominantly from the Quran, the Hadiths (sayings and customs of Muhammad), and the views of Sahabah (Muhammad's companions). In cases where there is no clear answer in sacred texts of Islam, the Hanbali school does not accept jurist discretion or customs of a community as a sound basis to derive Islamic law, a method that Hanafi and Maliki Sunni fiqhs accept. Hanbali school is the strict traditionalist school of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam. It is found primarily in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where it is the official fiqh. Hanbali followers are the demographic majority in four emirates of UAE (Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Ajman). Large minorities of Hanbali followers are also found in Bahrain, Oman and Yemen and among Iraqi and Jordanian bedouins.The Hanbali school experienced a reformation in the Wahhabi-Salafist movement. Historically the school was small; during the 18th to early-20th century Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Al Saud greatly aided its propagation around the world by way of their interpretation of the school's teachings. As a result of this, the school's name has become a controversial one in certain quarters of the Islamic world due to the influence he is believed by some to have had upon these teachings, which cites Ibn Hanbal as a principal influence along with the thirteenth-century Hanbali reformer Ibn Taymiyyah. However, it has been argued by certain scholars that Ibn Hanbal's own beliefs actually played "no real part in the establishment of the central doctrines of Wahhabism," as there is evidence, according to the same authors, that "the older Hanbalite authorities had doctrinal concerns very different from those of the Wahhabis," as medieval Hanbali literature is rich in references to saints, grave visitation, miracles, and relics. Historically, the Hanbali school was treated as simply another valid interpretation of Islamic law, and many prominent medieval Sufis, such as Abdul Qadir Gilani, were Hanbali jurists and mystics at the same time.

Harry Dexter White

Harry Dexter White (October 9, 1892 – August 16, 1948) was a senior U.S. Treasury department official. Working closely with the Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., he helped set American financial policy toward the Allies of World War II while at the same time he passed numerous secrets to the Soviet Union, which was an American ally for part of the time and an adversary at other times. He was the senior American official at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference that established the postwar economic order. He dominated the conference and imposed his vision of post-war financial institutions over the objections of John Maynard Keynes, the British representative. At Bretton Woods, White was a major architect of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

White was accused in 1948 of spying for the Soviet Union, which he adamantly denied, and then suddenly died of a heart attack. Although he was never a Communist party member, his status as a Soviet informant was later confirmed by declassified FBI documents related to the interception and decoding of Soviet communications, known as the Venona Project.

James Thompson (jurist)

James Thompson (October 1, 1806 – January 28, 1874) was a politician and jurist from Pennsylvania.

Thompson was born in Middlesex Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania on October 1, 1806. After learning the printing trade, Thompson studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1829 and practiced as a lawyer in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Thompson served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1832–1834 and in 1855 and served as Speaker in 1834. He was a delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1838, and the presiding judge of the sixth judicial district court from 1838 until 1844, when he was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives. Thompson served in the Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Congresses, from March 4, 1845 until March 3, 1851. He was the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary during his second term. In the 31st Congress, Thompson became the first recorded Democratic Caucus Chairman and the first official chairman of any party caucus in either house of Congress.

Thompson did not run for reelection in 1850, but instead returned to practicing law. He became an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from 1857 to 1866, and served as chief justice of that court from 1866 to 1872. He returned to private practice until his death in Philadelphia on January 28, 1874. Thompson is interred in Woodlands Cemetery.

John Bond (jurist)

John Bond LL.D. (1612–1676) was an English jurist, Puritan clergyman, member of the Westminster Assembly, and Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

Louis Renault (jurist)

Louis Renault (21 May 1843 – 8 February 1918) was a French jurist and educator, the co-winner in 1907 (with Ernesto Teodoro Moneta) of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Renault was born at Autun. From 1868 to 1873 Renault was professor of Roman and commercial law at the University of Dijon. From 1873 until his death he was professor in the faculty of law at the University of Paris, where in 1881 he became professor of international law. In 1890 he was appointed jurisconsult of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a post created for him in which he scrutinized French foreign policy in the light of international law. He served at numerous conferences in this capacity, notably at the two Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907) and the London Naval Conference of 1908-09.

Renault was prominent as an arbitrator, his more famous cases including the Japanese House Tax case of 1905, the Casa Blanca Case of 1909, the Sarvarkar Case of 1911, the Carthage case of 1913, and the Manouba case of 1913. Among his writings are articles and monographs on the specialized topics of international law. Together with his friend and colleague C. Lyon-Caen, he produced several works on commercial law, including a compendium in two volumes, a treatise in eight volumes, and a manual that ran to many editions.

In 1879 Renault published his Introduction to the Study of International Law and in 1917 First Violations of International Law by Germany, concerning the invasion of Belgium and of Luxembourg in breach of Germany's treaty obligations.

Marcia Greenberger

Marcia D. Greenberger is an American women's rights attorney.She received her B.A. with honors and J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and then worked as a lawyer with the Washington, D.C., firm of Caplin and Drysdale. She co-founded the National Women's Law Center with Nancy Duff Campbell; they are now its co-presidents. The National Women's Law Center was founded by them to fight for gender equality in economic security, education, health, and jobs. It began when female administrative staff and law students at the Center for Law and Social Policy demanded that their pay be improved, that the center hire female lawyers, that they no longer be expected to serve coffee, and that the center create a women's program. Greenberger was hired in 1972 to start the program and Campbell joined her in 1978. In 1981, the two decided to turn the program into the separate National Women's Law Center.In 2015 Greenberger was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.She is married to Michael Greenberger.

Paul Butler (lawyer)

Paul Mulholland Butler (1905 – 1961) was a U.S. lawyer and, more significantly, chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1955 until 1960.

After being active in Indiana Democratic Party politics, Butler was named to the Democratic National Committee in 1952, when he was a staunch ally of Adlai Stevenson. He later became DNC chairman and used the post to articulate policy positions in opposition to the Eisenhower administration. Butler's liberal ideology was opposed by conservative and moderate Democrats.

Pierce Butler (justice)

Pierce Butler (March 17, 1866 – November 16, 1939) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1923 until his death in 1939. He is notable for being the first Justice from Minnesota, and for being a Democrat appointed by a Republican president, Warren G. Harding.

The Jurist (journal)

The Jurist: Studies in Church Law and Ministry is the only journal published in the United States devoted to the study and promotion of Catholic canon law or church law. It was initiated in 1940 to serve the academic and professional needs of Catholic church lawyers. The first issue appeared on January 6, 1941. Initial responses to the journal were favorable, as it was declared "We applaud its present performance and look forward to the improvement which its initial effort promises and which maturity will bring" and "the first issue warrants the belief that the scholars of the United States will make valuable contributions to the study of canon law.".Until 1976, the journal was a quarterly publication, but since then it has been issued twice yearly; beginning with volume 71, the journal has been published for the School of Canon Law of the Catholic University of America by the Catholic University of America Press. The editorial board consists of the faculty of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, the only such school in the United States, as well as Fr. Sean O. Sheridan, President of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. The journal is published in print form, but also forms part of the electronic collection Project MUSE.

Initially the journal focused largely on issues of Latin church law both in terms of its history, medieval and modern, and contemporary practice. However, within the past few decades since the Second Vatican Council, it has broadened its horizons and audience. For it also explores questions of interest to theologians, Eastern Catholic church lawyers, civil lawyers, diocesan planners and diocesan finance and personnel officials. Recent issues have contained the decisions of the Apostolic Signatura in Latin and English translation.

Previous editors included Jerome Daniel Hannan; Frederick R. McManus, who headed the journal from 1959-1989; James H. Provost; and Thomas J. Green. The editor is Kurt Martens.

Thomas Johnson (jurist)

Thomas Johnson (November 4, 1732 – October 26, 1819) was an 18th century American judge and politician. He participated in several ventures to support the Revolutionary War. Johnson was the first (non-Colonial) Governor of Maryland, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Johnson suffered from a myriad of health issues. He was the first person appointed to the Court after its original organization and staffing with six justices. Johnson's tenure on the Supreme Court lasted only 163 days, which (excluding any current Justices) makes him the shortest-serving Justice in U.S. history.

William Lee (English judge)

Sir William Lee (2 August 1688 – 8 April 1754) was a British jurist and politician.

William Paterson (judge)

William Paterson (December 24, 1745 – September 9, 1806) was a New Jersey statesman and a signer of the United States Constitution. He was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the second governor of New Jersey.

Born in County Antrim, Ireland, Paterson moved to the United States at a young age. After graduating from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and studying law under Richard Stockton, he was admitted to the bar in 1768. He helped write the 1776 Constitution of New Jersey and served as the New Jersey Attorney General from 1776 to 1783. He represented New Jersey at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, where he proposed the New Jersey Plan, which would have provided for equal representation among the states in Congress.

After the ratification of the Constitution, Paterson served in the United States Senate from 1789 to 1790, helping to draft the Judiciary Act of 1789. He resigned from the Senate to take office as Governor of New Jersey. In 1793, he accepted appointment by President George Washington to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He served on the court until his death in 1806.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.