This course is aimed at introducing the students to the main important concepts and principles of the theory of state and law (TSL) as a legal discipline. The fundamental nature of TSL as a juridical science the mastery of which is necessary for all legal branch sciences as well as special legal sciences, is explained. The interaction between the two key concepts of TSL, the state and the law will be clarified. A number of major theories (schools of thought) that describe the origin / emergence and nature of the state and the law are analyzed including natural law and contractual theory, libertarian juridical theory, positivist theory, economic theory, psychological theory and others. The course in particular provides a systematic description of TSL and presents its conceptual definition. It discusses the main characteristics and typology of the state, its forms, functions, mechanisms as well as its place within the political and non-political systems of society.

The course further deals with the law in the system of social regulators; it explains the nature, content, form, sources, structure, realization, application and interpretation of the law and legal norms. The dichotomy of the law as ius and the law as lex (leges) is reviewed. Students will get familiar with such key notions as lawful behavior, violation of the law, legal responsibility, and legal awareness and culture. The differences between Western and non-Western conceptions of the legal theory will be comparatively looked at, followed by a critical discussion of TSL as a legal science as understood in Kazakhstan and post-Soviet space. The main aim of the course would thus consist in providing the students with, first, a balanced perspective on this crucial discipline combining both theoretical and practical approaches, and second, with analytical tools to reflect critically on the major concepts of law pertinent for all legal disciplines.