Droit et Société selon les juristes : 3 générations, 3 professions, 3 perspectives

Droit et Société selon les juristes : 3 générations, 3 professions, 3 perspectives

Les juristes sont-ils conscients des implications sociales et politiques du droit qu'ils appliquent ? 


D'après certains professeurs de sociologie du droit, absolument pas. Cependant, une enquête a été menée par Isaure Simonin auprès de 3 juristes d'âges et de professions différents : un juge de 76 ans, une juriste de 47 ans et un avocat pénaliste de 26 ans.


Le constat qui ressort de cette étude est tout autre : nombreux sont les facteurs qui influent sur la conscience sociale et politique du juriste et sur sa pratique. Et nous allons dans le sens de plus de contextualisation sociale, historique et politique du droit parmi les plus jeunes juristes.




As a student in a Sociology of Law class, I was taught about the ideal type of the jurist’s conception of the law. Said classic jurist would consider the law to be universal, fair and static. He or she would also reckon that the legal field is independent from that of society, and care about the rule rather than about its actual impact.


The idea that jurists would have strong repugnance to consider social realities and even more repugnance to take into account exterior sociological works peaked my curiosity. I realized that most current judges and lawyers had probably never had a single sociology course in their whole life, although this subject is to my mind necessary to anyone in the legal field. Does this imply that jurists are insensitive to the social and political roots underpinning law and legal practice?


The take actual French jurists have on the legal system they evolve in, as well as their vision of the relationship between law and society, became a question of great interest to me. I decided to research this topic by interviewing three different actors of the legal field, belonging to three different academic trainings and generations. My research hypothesis was indeed that French jurists’ take on the legal system varied according to profession, generation and academic training. The jurists I interviewed were:


  • A male judge aged 76, with a classic legal training ;
  • A female jurist aged 47, of classic legal training, but having studied the law through other lenses on some occasions ;
  • A male lawyer aged 26, trained at Sciences Po.


How does a French jurist’s take on the legal system he or she evolves in, vary according to training, profession and generation? I would argue that the oldest and most exclusively legally trained jurists would tend to have a very procedural view of justice, and consider the legal field as autonomous from other social or political realities. The youngest a jurist is however, and the most he or she is trained to disciplines other than law, or to observe law through other lenses of analysis, the most likely he or she is to hold a more substantive view of justice and see the legal profession as a strongly political one.


In other words, I would argue that there is a shift towards substantive and social justice among the young generation of jurists. To make this point, I will first assess the three jurists’ attitudes towards the social and political functions & underpinnings of the French legal system.  Based on these conclusions, I will argue that the evolution of the French education and academic system paves the way for jurists’ attitudes to shift to a substantive and more socially and politically aware view of the justice system.



Consultez l'intégralité de l'étude ici


Isaure Simonin