Path Dependence in the Law: The Course and Pattern of Change in a Common Law Legal System, 86 IOWA LAW REVIEW 601 (2001)
In a system of law that adheres to the doctrine of stare decisis, it is impossible to understand the law as it is today without understanding the law as it has been in the past. Reliance upon binding precedents leads courts to begin every new case with an examination of the past. The resolutions that arise in turn form a foundation for future cases. The doctrine of stare decisis thus creates a seamless web connecting the past to the present and future.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Hathaway, Oona A., "Path Dependence in the Law: The Course and Pattern of Change in a Common Law Legal System" (2001). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 840.