Journal of Law and Society
Vol. 41, Issue 4 (December 2014)
Abstract: This article seeks to question the two dominant conceptions of ‘landmark’ or ‘leading’ cases in English legal scholarship, using the House of Lords decision in Salomon v. Salomon Co Ltd. – the most famous case in corporate law – as a case study. It argues that neither the first dominant conception of ‘leading’ or ‘landmark’ cases, characterized by the analysis of the intrinsic merits of a case, nor the second, which looks at the historical contexts in which cases were decided, appears sufficient by itself to determine whether a case is landmark or canonical. Rather, we have to look at how the canonicity of a case is constructed by subsequent courts. The article seeks to advance the debate concerning the formation of landmark cases and aims to challenge certain prevailing views on the canonicity of corporate law's arguably most significant case.
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