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Abstract

Reasoning by analogy is fundamental to Common Law method and yet until recently has received relatively little analysis except as part of the Doctrine of Precedent. In this article we shall attempt an analysis of the nature of analogy in general, its relationship to logic and its place in reasoning with cases, statutes and codes. We shall then review some theoretical discussions of analogy and the link between reasoning by analogy and justificatory reasoning, ending with an analysis of justification in terms of principle, policy and considerations of fairness underlying the Doctrine of Precedent. The analysis of justification provides some insights into what are ‘material’ resemblances for the purposes of reasoning by analogy in the law.

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