Professor James Allan

Garrick Professor of Law

School of Law
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
+61 7 334 69236


Areas of interest are legal and moral philosophy, constitutional law and bills of rights.

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.

Professor Allan has published widely in the areas of legal philosophy and constitutional law, including in all the top English language legal philosophy journals in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, much the same being true of constitutional law journals as well. Professor Allan also has a sideline interest in bills of rights; he is opposed to them. Indeed he is delighted to have moved to a country without a national bill of rights. He has been actively involved in the efforts trying to stop one from being enacted here in Australia. Professor Allan’s latest book is The age of foolishness: a doubter's guide to constitutionalism in a modern democracy (published 2022). Professor Allan also writes widely for newspapers and weeklies, including The Australian, The Spectator Australia and Quadrant, and since arriving here in Australia he has given or participated in more than 80 lectures, debates and talks.

Research Interests

  • Human and Civil Rights
  • Courts, judges, and judicial independence
  • Federalism and Separation of Powers
  • Legal Theory and Jurisprudence


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • (2024) Doctor Philosophy

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Available Projects

  • Topics relating to legal philosophy and constitutional law

    • Legal philosophy related to H.L.A. Hart or Jeremy Waldron
    • Comparative constitutional law of the English-speaking developed world
    • Democracy and bills of rights

    For further information contact Professor James Allan, e:

View all Available Projects


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Allan, James (2020). A Humean take on religious freedom. Forgotten freedom no more: protecting religious liberty in Australia, analysis and perspectives. (pp. 133-142) edited by Robert Forsyth and Peter Kurti. Redland Bay, QLD, Australia: Connor Court Publishing.

  • Allan, James (2019). The administration of Australian universities: a national scandal? Or amiss in funderland?. Campus meltdown: the deepening crisis in Australian universities. (pp. 23-42) edited by William O. Coleman. Redland Bay, QLD, Australia: Connor Court Publishing.

  • Allan, James (2018). Human rights, doubts and democracy. Political and legal approaches to human rights. (pp. 113-130) edited by Tom Campbell and Kylie Bourne. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315179711

  • Allan, James (2018). Ronald Dworkin and free speech. Dignity in the legal and political philosophy of Ronald Dworkin. (pp. 300-312) edited by Salman Khurshid, Lokendra Malik and Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Allan, James (2017). The view from down under: freedom of the press in Canada. The unfulfilled promise of press freedom in Canada. (pp. 220-232) edited by Lisa Taylor and Cara-Marie O’Hagan. Toronto, ON Canada: University of Toronto Press.

  • Allan, James F. P. (2016). A professor's progress: John Smillie on Bills of Rights. The search for certainty: Essays in honour of John Smillie. (pp. 19-35) edited by Shelley Griffiths, Mark Henaghan and M.B. Rodriguez Ferrere. New Zealand: Thomson Reuters.

  • Allan, James (2016). Is talk of the quality of judging sometimes strained, feigned or not sustained?. Judicial independence: contemporary challenges, future directions. (pp. 64-75) edited by Rebecca Ananian-Welsh and Jonathan Crowe. Annandale, NSW, Australia: Federation Press.

  • Allan, James (2015). The activist judge – vanity of vanities. Judicial Activism: an interdisciplinary approach to the American and European experiences. (pp. 71-87) edited by Luis Pereira Coutinho, Massimo La Torre and Steven D. Smith. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-18549-1_6

  • Allan, James (2011). Reasonable disagreement and the diminution of democracy: Joseph's Morally laden understanding of 'The Rule of Law'. Modern challenges to the rule of law. (pp. 79-92) edited by Richard Ekins. Wellington, New Zealand: LexisNexis New Zealand.

  • Allan, James (2011). Statutory Bills of Rights: You read words in, you read words out, you take Parliament's clear intention and you shake it all about - Doin' the sankey hanky panky. The legal protection of Human Rights: Sceptical Essays. (pp. 108-126) edited by Tom Campbell, K. D. Ewing and Adam Tomkins. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606078.003.0006

  • Allan, James (2011). The curious concept of the 'living tree' (or non-locked-in) constitution. The challenge of originalism: Theories of constituional interpretation. (pp. 179-202) edited by Grant Huscroft and Bradley Miller. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139003926.010

  • Allan, James (2011). Utilitarianism and liberty. Jurisprudence of Liberty. (pp. 331-342) edited by Suri Ratnapala and Gabriel A Moens. Chatswood, NSW, Australia: Lexis Nexis Butterworths.

  • Allan, James F. P. (2010). Dialogues concerning natural religion. 100 great books of liberty: The essential introduction to the greatest idea of Western Civilisation. (pp. 33-36) edited by Chris Berg, John Roskam and Andrew Kemp. Ballan, VIC, Australia: Connor Court Publishing.

  • Allan, James F.P. (2009). How John Howard saved the constitution. The Howard era. (pp. 57-78) edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans. Balmain, NSW, Australia: Quadrant Books.

  • Allan, James F. P. (2009). Misgoverning universities. The Howard era. (pp. 456-468) edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans. Balmain, NSW, Australia: Quadrant Books.

  • Allan, James F. P. (2009). What's wrong about a statutory bill of rights. Don't leave us with the bill: The case against an Australian bill of rights. (pp. 83-95) edited by Julian Leeser and Ryan Haddrick. Barton, ACT, Australia: The Menzies Research Centre.

  • J Allan (2008). The Travails of Justice Waldron. Expounding the Constitution. (pp. 161-183) edited by G Huscroft. New York: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511511042.009

  • Allan, James (2006). Judicial appointments in New Zealand : If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done openly and directly. Appointing judges in an age of judicial power. (pp. 103-121) edited by Kate Malleson and Peter H. Russell. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

  • Allan, J. F. P. (2004). Interpreting Statutory Bills of Rights: The Deleterious Effects of 'Do the Right Thing' Thinking. The Statute: Making and Meaning. (pp. 285-298) edited by Bigwood, R.. Wellington: LexisNexis.

  • Allan, J. F. P. (2003). A defence of the status quo. Protecting Human Rights: Instruments and Institutions. (pp. 175-194) edited by T. Campbell, J. Goldsworthy and A. Stone. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

  • Allan, J. (2002). Rights, paternalism, constitutions and judges. Litigating rights: perspectives from domestic and international law. (pp. 29-46) edited by Grant Huscroft and Paul Rishworth. Oxford, United Kingdom: Hart Publishing.

  • James Allan (2001). The Effect of a Statutory Bill of Rights Where Parliament is Sovereign: The Lesson from New Zealand. Sceptical Essays on The Human Rights Act 1998. (pp. 375-390) edited by T Campbell, KD Ewing and A Tomkins. New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246687.001.0001

  • James Allan (1999). Lon Fuller's 'The Case of the Speluncean Explorers'. Rediscovering Fuller. (pp. 411-424) edited by W Witteveen and W van der Burg. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

  • James Allan (1998). A Post-Speluncean Dialogue. The Speluncean Case: Making Jurisprudence Seriously Enjoyable. (pp. 69-92) edited by James Allan. Little London, UK: Barry Rose Law Publisher.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Topics relating to legal philosophy and constitutional law

    • Legal philosophy related to H.L.A. Hart or Jeremy Waldron
    • Comparative constitutional law of the English-speaking developed world
    • Democracy and bills of rights

    For further information contact Professor James Allan, e: