Economic analysis of legal doctrine assumes, indeed its relevance largely depends upon the assumption, that judicial decisions will have an instrumental impact on the future behaviour of firms and individuals who are not themselves parties to the litigation which resulted in the specific doctrinal development being analysed. In other words, economic analysis assumes that the decisions of courts - and particularly, for what should be obvious reasons, the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada - have a direct influence upon the manner in which non-litigants will choose to order their affairs following that decision. Thus, the focus of a 'law and economics' analysis - as it is often colloquially termed - is not on the legal entitlements or welfare of a particular plaintiff or the obligations or responsibilities of a particular defendant. Rather, it is on the economic in~plicationsfo r other analogous actors of allowing or denying a claim brought by a particular individual or firm. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, in Canadian National Railway Co. v. Norsk Pacijic Steamship Co. Ltd. et al., is particularly amenable to such an analysis.
David Cohen, The Economics of Canadian National Railway v. Norsk Pacific Steamship (The Jervis Crown), 45 U. Toronto L.J. 143 (1995), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/416/.