Leading Case Law and Legal Definition

Leading case means

  • A judicial decision that first definitively settled an important legal rule or principle. Such important cases are used as guidance by lawyers and judges who face similar issues later. For example Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966) (creating the exclusionary rule for evidence improperly obtained from a suspect being interrogated while in police custody.
  • An important judicial precedent on a particular legal issue. For example Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) a landmark case decided by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion.
  • It could also refer to a reported case that is cited as the dispositive authority on an issue being litigated. In this sense it is termed as a ruling case.