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Development of the Law by Supreme Courts in Europe


Maarten Feteris


It is generally recognised in many countries that law-making is not exclusively a task for the legislator, but also for the courts, especially supreme courts. In fact, in many European countries, a tendency seems to be emerging towards an even greater focus on the law-making task of the supreme courts. The author of this paper, the President of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, addresses various topics regarding this law-making task of European supreme courts, such as the question to what extent (supreme) courts make and develop law, whether there is a statutory basis for this activity and what kind of techniques these courts can use. The author also addresses the limits to the power of the supreme courts to develop new rules (especially in relation to the legislator) and what is to be expected in the near future regarding law-making by supreme courts. The article is partly inspired by the answers to a questionnaire on this subject, which was sent to the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union.
How to Cite: Feteris, M., 2017. Development of the Law by Supreme Courts in Europe. Utrecht Law Review, 13(1), pp.155–169. DOI:
Published on 27 Oct 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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