Becoming a law graduate is not an easy thing. You have to work on tons of things to get your hands on the law and its different provisions. The field of law is a vast field as every country has its own set of laws and regulations. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult for the researchers to conduct law research. It is because there are many types of legal methodologies. Students just do not know what type of research they have to do.
Doctrinal research is also a type of legal research methodology. Also, this type will be the epicentre of our today’s discussion. There will be a mention of a brief history of this methodology along with its introduction. In the end, there will be a mention of its advantages and disadvantages. So, let’s start our discussion with the introduction of doctrinal research.
What is doctrinal research and its purpose?
According Law essay writing firm, different law researchers and experts have many definitions of this research. Before defining, let’s look at the history of this word. The word doctrinal is derived from the Latin word “doctrine.” So, let’s start by defining the doctrine first. The word doctrine means to instruct, read or understand a legal principle. It is also called a legal principle that most people adhere to. For example, an employee who shows disloyalty to the company must forfeit all his compensation. It is a very common law doctrine that is still in use.
As described earlier, many law researchers have defined doctrinal research differently. Now, let’s look at the definition given by each researcher. The first definition is from Dr. S.R. Myneni. According to him, “research that has been done on the basis of a legal proposition by way of analysing the existing statutory is doctrinal research.”
Ian Ian Dobinson and Francis Johns define this research as follows. “Doctrinal legal research is the research which asks what the law is in a particular area. It is concerned with applying and developing a legal doctrine in that area.”
Paul Chynoweth states that doctrinal research is the formulation of legal doctrines by analysing the legal rules. He ascertains that legal doctrines clarify the legal ambiguities within a law. He also states that doctrinal research puts ambiguities in a logical manner and structure.
Based on the above-given definitions, doctrinal research is an analytical study of the existing laws. In simple words, you can say that it is a theory-testing research. Through this research, the researcher also seeks whether the doctrine is still valid or not.
Purpose of Doctrinal Research
After reading the above discussion, you must have an idea about what this research is. Now, let’s talk about the purpose of this research. The purpose basically tells why this research is important. Hence, below are some of the points that highlight its purpose.
- The primary purpose of this research is to construct new legal doctrines and test them. Those new doctrines act as knowledge added to the existing legal knowledge.
- It also helps in maintaining the continuity, consistency and certainty of law.
- It aims at resolving the day-to-day client matters. The reason behind this is that it is more manageable, and outcomes are more predictable. This predictability comes due to the established sources, i.e., doctrines.
- Its purpose is also to advise courts and clients about applying the doctrine to specific cases. It also examines the judicial opinions of different courts. If there is any conflict between the opinions, it suggests the solutions to those conflicts.
- It is also aimed at providing the tools needed to make decisions about complex issues. Mostly, the lawyers, judges and other legal bodies benefit from such tools.
- One of the primary purposes of doctrinal research is to develop a theory of how laws fit together. It means it conducts historical and comparative inquiries.
Steps involved in doctrinal research
The above information is all introductory information about this research. Still, you do not know how to perform this particular type of legal research. So, in this section, you will find a description of all the steps involved in this research. Let’s talk about them one by one.
- The first step in doctrinal research involves the setting of the proposition. You can choose any legal provision for this purpose.
- After setting the proposition, the next step is to identify the legal issues. Those will be the issues you will address in your research.
- The third step involves the analysis of the issues. You do this with a view of searching for the law.
- The fourth step is the most important one, and it involves reading the literature. You go through different materials, including legal dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and textbooks.
- In your reading, you locate the primary legislation as the next step.
- The last step involves synthesis of all the issues in a context. It also includes concluding the doctrinal research.
Advantages and disadvantages of doctrinal research
Like every other thing, doctrinal research has its advantages and disadvantages. A brief description of those pros and cons is as follows;
- It forms the base of any legal research in law studies.
- It gives judges, lawyer, and other legal bodies the flexibility to approach law from different perspectives.
- It also allows making independent interpretations based on the research.
- The biggest hurdle in conducting doctrinal research is the availability of the right type of legal data. The researcher must be competent enough to find reliable data.
- As researchers operate on secret paradigms, the funding providers may criticize this legal research.
- The research outcomes could possibly be too theoretical, trivial, technical, or conservative. This is a major shortcoming of this research.
The objective of doctrinal research is the same as social research, i.e., social engineering through law. This research methodology is the best approach to tackling complex legal problems. You can follow the steps mentioned above to solve those problems. Although there are disadvantages to this method, you can still use it for many purposes. Those purposes are listed above in this article.