This course will examine in depth how lawyers and judges use law to reach conclusions, with the aim of demystifying legal reasoning. Students will examine different theories of legal reasoning including the classic work of Karl Llewellyn, a leading exponent of legal realism, and the more recent exploration by Larry Alexander and Emily Sherwin. Students will also examine Ronald Dworkin's theory that there is `one right answer' to every case that comes before a judge. These different theories will be considered through an analysis of various decisions of the High Court of Australia. This course requires students to have a common law background.

Semester long - 1 day/week
Next course:
4 August 202127 October 2021 (see all)
Professor James Allan
UQ St Lucia (view map)
Enrolment options: 

Who is the course designed for

Our CPD courses are available to professionals interested in contemporary legal issues.

Whether you're looking to acquire CPD points, expand your knowledge in a specific area of the law, or gain a general understanding of legal issues impacting your profession, our courses will equip you to go further in every possible future.

Style of learning

Our courses are delivered in collaborative, seminar-style teaching environments, in the award-winning Forgan Smith building.

Our CPD participants benefit from small class sizes which encourage group discussion and debate, and 1-on-1 access to industry experts and leading researchers.


This course is delivered at UQ St Lucia campus.

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Enrolment options

Register for Continuing Professional Development

Enrol as CPD

 Enrol as a part of a Masters degree program

This course is available as an option in our enhanced Masters of Laws program for qualified legal practitioners.  


Upcoming sessions

4 August 2021 9:00am27 October 2021 5:00pm
Professor James Allan

CPD enrolment closes two weeks prior to the course start date.

No entry requirements apply, you are not required to submit assessment and your course participation cannot be used as academic credit towards a degree qualification.

Our courses count toward Queensland Law Society Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points if you can demonstrate relevance to your legal practice.

Professor James Allan holds the oldest named chair at The University of Queensland. Before arriving in Australia in February of 2005 he spent 11 years teaching law in New Zealand at the University of Otago and before that lectured law in Hong Kong. Professor Allan is a native born Canadian who practised law in a large Toronto law firm and at the Bar in London before shifting to teaching law. He has had sabbaticals at the Cornell Law School, at the Dalhousie Law School in Canada as the Bertha Wilson Visiting Professor in Human Rights, and at the University of San Diego School of Law.