Legal Dogma

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Legal Dogma


the name of one of the branches of juridical science which consists in systematizing and making commentaries on the norms of the law in force, in providing interpretations of these norms, and in defining basic legal concepts. Thus legal dogma is the formal logical analysis of the law in force in order that the law be applied correctly and that the legislative process be improved. Legal dogma has a practical-applied significance, but on the whole it does not extend beyond the bounds of a descriptive science and does not pose the important questions of the social nature of law and its basic institutions, of the factors that gave rise to these institutions, and of the effectiveness of the operation of law. Historically, Roman jurisprudence and the process of the reception of Roman law played a significant part in the development of legal dogma.

Legal dogma was extensively developed in bourgeois jurisprudence, in fact attaining hypertrophied forms. Insofar as bourgeois law does not adequately reflect important social relationships, the study of bourgeois law exclusively on the formal logical plane leads to legal fetishism and the masking of the true social nature of the bourgeois system and of its law.

Marxism has always attached great importance to the struggle against legal fetishism and dogmatism. Socialist jurisprudence does not deny the essential place of the formal logical analysis and systematization of law, but it holds that such analysis and systematization of law should be carried out—in conjunction with concrete sociological, historical, and comparative methods of investigation—on the basis of the dialectical materials explanation of the essence, content, and goals of law.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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