Purpose – Through semantic drift, reliance derived from Cicero’s religio informs English common law and ultimately percolates throughout modern U.S. law. Likewise, reliance merges with paradigm forming the reliance paradigm under the law’s paradigmatic umbrella. Legal reliance maintains a consistent, expanding path juxtaposed against its nascent history in business scholarship. Interorganizational relationship scholars identified this gap.
Methodology – Borrowing from Law, the qualitative methodology in this research includes qualitative doctrinal legal research in concert with systematic content analysis for judicial opinions. These nested methodologies provide the qualitative approach applicable to a judicial corpus. U.S. Supreme Court opinions from the ten years ending June 30, 2018 are used in the study. The research and methodology yield four antiquity reliance dimensions seven modern law dimensions. These dimensions are applied to a data set of 272 opinions containing 892 reliance instances.
Findings – The conclusions are that the four antiquity reliance dimensions are present in modern U.S. law. They inform seven primary modern law reliance manifestations. These primary manifestations include – reliance requires rational reasonable acts, reliance on legal prescriptions, reliance on precedent generating reliance interests, and reliance on a representation. Additionally, reliance from antiquity in modern U.S. law embodies paradigmatic elements classified under the overarching paradigm of law.
Research Delimitations – This research is limited to the U.S. even though common law exists elsewhere. The research is based on U.S. Supreme Court opinions; it lacks contextual application within the lower court or other legal documents. An inherent limitation includes the lack of formal legal training of the researcher.
Practical Implications – This research contains a detailed yet broad analysis of reliance identifying the nuances between rational reliance on statute, representation, or data from reliance on precedent and reliance interest. This research can be a foundational reference for business scholars’ further application of reliance within business scholarship. Furthermore, it identifies the daily impact legal reliance has on every citizen. One might consider how reliance applies within the law, realizing that the legal domain shares similarities with business, science, and medicine.
Originality/Value – The research outcomes are valuable to academics and practitioners, providing an in-depth analysis of legal reliance while presenting original concepts within qualitative business scholarship. Keywords: reliance, religio, relegere, religare, paradigm, reliance paradigm, reliance in law
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