Reasoning by analogy in the law

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Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Farrar, J. H. (2009). Reasoning by analogy in the law. The judicial review, 9(3), 309-330.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 1801

© Copyright Judicial Commission of New South Wales, 2009.


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 recent theoretical discussions of analogy and the link between reasoning by analogy and judicial decision making, ending with an analysis of justification in terms of principle and policy.

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This document has been peer reviewed.