Introduction à la théorie générale et à la philosophie du droit

Claude Du Pasquier

Claude Du Pasquier, Introduction à la théorie générale et à la philosophie du droit, Paris/Neuchâtel: Recueil Sirey/Éditions Delachaux & Niestlé, 1937.

Introduction/Historical Situation and Systematic Context

Before the Second World War, one can speak of a confusion in the domain of legal philosophy, indeed, in Germany as well as in France. In French-speaking countries, the so-called institutional theory of law and of the State has widely been adopted, lead by Maurice-Jean-Claude-Eugène Hauriou, and later by Georges Renard (see Albert Broderick (Ed.): The French Institutionalists – Maurice Hauriou, Georges Renard, Joseph T. Delos. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970). Concerning the interpretation and application of the legal order, the theory of François Gény have had considerable success.

Content, Abstracts/Conclusions, Insights, Evidence

As a representative of legal philosophy in Franch-speaking Switzerland, Claude Du Pasquier is not only embedded in this culture, but also tributes to his German-speaking colleagues Eugen Huber and Walther Burckhardt among others. He even adopts their theories widely, but with remarkable differences in detail and in argumentation: the legal order is situated within social and legal community, the system of the sources of the law enlarged, the application of the law taken into consideration, and so on…

In contrast there are parts where the author deals with logics, rather than with methodological questions, or determines the nature of law, including an extensively presented history of natural law theories. The considerable introduction to jurisprudence and legal philosophy resembles an accumulation of diverse and inconsistent contributions, held together only by the half-leather French binding between the antique book covers.

As a suggestion to read, in order to form a well informed judgment on this writing by Claude Du Pasquier, we have selected the final passage containing the conclusions. That is where the intrinsic system should appear, if ever. Not regarding the bibliographical references in the text and in the footnotes, the undercurrent and unconscious popular philosophy that characterises the argumentation is based on common sense realism, common sense pragmatic thoughts as well as on dogmatical distinctions and dualistic concepts in a remarkable degree. Dualism occurs to be the main philosophical ingredient for this potpourri in period legal thought. Nevertheless, it is instructive to read, anyway.

Further Information About the Author

Claude Du Pasquier, born on 2 April 1886 in Le Havre (France), died on 23 January 1953 in Neuchâtel, obtained in 1909 a doctorate from the University of Lausanne and in 1912 he passed the lawyer’s examinations. From 1911, he taught commercial law at the School for Commerce in Neuchâtel, in 1916 he handed in a habilitation thesis at the University of Neuchâtel, and from 1923 to 1953 he signed for a very long period of time as an ordinary professor responsible for the introduction to legal studies. Later, he was president of the same academic institution and between 1947 and 1953 he was also charged to lecture legal philosophy at the University of Geneva. Besides he persecuted a career as a judge and as a political representative of the liberals or radicals. Further, he also was a member of the Red Cross Committee and presided the Council for scientific research of his origin Canton.

He also followed up a career as an officer in the headquarters of the Swiss Army, and even achieved the ranks of a brigade and division commander.

Selected Works of the Same Author

Claude Du Pasquier: Modernisme judiciaire et jurisprudence suisse, in: Recueil de travaux offert par la Faculté de Droit de l’Université de Neuchâtel à la Société des Juristes, Neuchâtel: Paul Attinger, 1929; Idem: Vue d’ensemble sur les conceptions de l’État – La neu­tralité morale de l’État, in: Recueil de Travaux publié par la Faculté de l’Université de Neuchâtel à l’occasion du Centenaire de la Fondation de l’Académie 1838-1938, Paris: Recueil Sirey, 1938; Idem: Valeur et nature de l’enseignement juridique (Mémoires publiés par la Faculté de Droit de l’Université de Genève, vol. 7), Genève: Librairie de l’Université, 1950; Idem: La notion de justice sociale et son influence sur le droit suisse, in: Zeitschrift für schweizerisches Recht, Cente­narium 1852-1952, pp. 69 ss., Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1952; Idem: Essai sur la nature juridique du faux en écriture, Lausanne: A. Jaunin, 1909.


You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: DuPasquier Introduction.