Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

62 Emory L.J. 1459 (2013)


Among the most prevalent justifications for deference to judicial precedent is the protection of reliance interests. The theory is that when judicial pronouncements have engendered significant reliance, there should be a meaningful presumption against adjudicative change. Yet there remains a fundamental question as to why reliance on precedent warrants judicial protection in the first place.

This Article explores the dynamics and implications of precedential reliance. It contends that the case for protecting reliance on precedent is uncertain. There are several reasons why reliance might potentially be worth protecting, but all are subject to serious limitations or challenges. To bolster the doctrine of stare decisis while the status of precedential reliance continues to be worked out, the Article suggests a conceptual move away from backwardlooking reliance and toward the forward-looking interest in managing the disruptive impacts of adjudicative change for society at large.


Reprinted with permission of Emory Law Journal.

Included in

Legal History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.