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The Ebb and Flow of Judicial Leadership in the Netherlands


Nick Huls

Erasmus University, Rotterdam, NL
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In this paper I analyse the loss of traditional authority by the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad). This court is traditionally seen as the highest court of the Netherlands, but after decades of applause and admiration, today the court finds itself in a marginal position. The court failed to keep in touch with its environment and did not react adequately to some relevant changes, such as the rise of contenders like the Council of State (Raad van State) and the Council for the Judiciary (Raad voor de rechtspraak), the introduction of New Public Management (NPM), the complexity as a result of the creation of a European legal order and the debates about constitutionalism. In its splendid isolation the Hoge Raad thought - until recently - that these changes would leave its superior position at the top of the Dutch judiciary unchallenged.
I analyse the causes of this loss of responsiveness of the court and suggest a broad form of modern judicial leadership as a means for the Hoge Raad to regain some of its lost territory.

How to Cite: Huls, N., 2012. The Ebb and Flow of Judicial Leadership in the Netherlands. Utrecht Law Review, 8(2), pp.129–138. DOI:
Published on 10 May 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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