Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
An important judicial decision that is frequently regarded as having settled or determined the law upon all points involved in such controversies and thereby serves as a guide for subsequent decisions.
brown v. board of education of topeka, kansas, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954), which declared racial Segregation in public schools to be in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is an example of a leading case.
LEADING CASE. A case decided by a court in the last resort, which settles a particular point or question; the principles upon which it is decided are to be followed in future cases, which are similar to it. Collections of such cases have been made, with commentaries upon them by White, by Wallace and Hare, and others.