What Makes a 'Leading' Case?

“What Makes a ‘Leading’ Case” (2010) 41 VUWLR 317.

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper Series Richardson Paper No. 49

23 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2013 Last revised: 21 Feb 2015

Ivor Richardson

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law (Deceased)

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

The theme developed in the paper is that what makes a leading case is not immediately apparent or able to be captured in a short definition. The crucial questions are how and why a case is seen to be or to have been particularly influential in settling an area of the law. Exploring these questions necessarily involves viewing the case in its historical context. Economic and behavioral implications and impacts should also be kept in mind.

The paper draws on empirical research involving retired judges, experienced lawyers, and judges' clerks and on specialist essays by senior academic lawyers produced for the 50th anniversary conference of the Court of Appeal in 2008. The research results show how much room there is for differing assessments of significance. The second half of the paper discusses a range of appeal cases explaining how and why the Court focused on particular matters of significance in deciding the cases.

Keywords: leading cases, decisions of the New Zealand Court of Appeal, empirical research

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Ivor, What Makes a 'Leading' Case? (2010). “What Makes a ‘Leading’ Case” (2010) 41 VUWLR 317.; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper Series Richardson Paper No. 49. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2267158

Ivor L. M. Richardson (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law (Deceased)

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