Is there a case for socialist jurisprudence?
The field of socialist law generally has incorporated two paradigms of study. The first focuses on the former Soviet Union, China and other "communist" nations and analyses how legal systems have developed in these nations and why they differ from Western ones. The second rejects the classification of the former U.S.S.R. (China, etc.) as representatives of the socialism envisioned by Marx and Engels and concentrates on a Marxist exploration of legal phenomena in capitalism. The first approach ignores he divergence between the socialism expatiated upon by Marx and the socialism which was (and is) functioning in these nations; the second disregards the problem of a regulatory system in post-capitalist society. Arguments that do address the regulatory problem in socialism often call for a re-definition of law (usually rights-based) which embodies socialist principles. Such a demand, however, is in conflict with Marx's original position (one that was expanded by E.B. Pashukanis) that law become unnecessary in such a society. The purpose of this thesis is to construct theoretically a regulatory system based on the writings of a selection of Marxist legal theorists (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stuchka, Reisner and Pashukanis), ascertain whether such a system might be considered law, and determine whether or not there is a legitimate claim for a "socialist jurisprudence". Both theoretical constructs and historical examples are used during the course of discussion. In addressing the lacuna in the two paradigms of this field, the results of the thesis indicate that there is a viable alternative to law which does not ignore the regulatory needs of society and is compatible with the Marxist critique of the legal order.