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    A cassation court traditionally has two tasks: a unifying task and a corrective task. The unifying task consists of verifying the internal legality of a lower court’s decision (the correct application and interpretation of the law by the lower courts). The corrective task refers to verifying the external legality of the lower court’s decision. The cassation court must ensure that the decisions of the courts concerned are in conformity with the requirements of proper administration of justice. This article focuses on the following question: is it necessary that the Belgian Council of State, acting in the capacity of a cassation court, performs both traditional tasks (corrective and unifying)? This is by no means self-evident, given the specific judicial structure in which the Belgian Council of State operates.


Elsbeth Loncke
Ph.D. at Hasselt University, Belgium, and attorney at the bar of Limburg, Belgium.

    The contribution assesses Germany’s better regulation system as quality assurance system. At first, the paper outlines the development of the system over the last years and describes its main characteristics. The introduction of the Nationaler Normenkontrollrat (National Regulatory Control Council) in 2006 can be seen as a cornerstone in this respect. The competency of the National Regulatory Control Council was extended in 2011 and a new concept of cost measurement of regulatory costs - compliance costs - was introduced. The new concept captures not only the costs arising from information obligations, but all compliance costs of a regulation. Secondly, the paper discusses the challenges to the better regulation system, in particular, those due to Germany’s federal structure providing in most legislative areas for a separation of actual law making at the federal level and execution of laws by the German Länder (and their municipalities).


Dirk Zeitz
Research Fellow at Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung (FÖV).Contact details: Freiherr-vom-Stein-Str. 2, 67346 Speyer, Email: zeitz@foev-speyer.de, Phone: +49 (0)6232 654-301.

    If two or more educational institutions intend to merge, such institutions must obtain approval from the Minister of Education prior to merging in accordance with the “Educational Merger test Act” (Wet fusietoets onderwijs) which came into force on 1 October 2011. Since then, further to the implementation of the Educational Merger test Act, the Minister of Education has taken several decisions on merger requests from educational institutions. Prior to delivering a decision on a merger request the Minister of Education is advised by its advisory committee ("Adviescommissie fusietoets onderwijs"). This article describes and analyses the legal framework put into place be the Educational Merger test Act. It further analyses the functioning of the Act in its first year of existence and proposes solutions for problems found. The article in this respect focuses on the advice of the advisory committee.


T. Barkhuysen
Tom Barkhuysen is advocaat-partner bij Stibbe te Amsterdam en hoogleraars Staats- en bestuursrecht aan de Universiteit Leiden

Machteld Claessens
Machteld Claessens is advocaat bij Stibbe te Amsterdam.

    Soft law is a necessity in modern public administration. On the verge of public bodies that execute administrative tasks various forms of soft law are applied. This article explores the many shapes of soft law in a continental European context. This results in the identification of a series of variables that are relevant for the legal effects of soft law. The article further focuses on the way policy rules, as a special form of soft law, are treated in the Dutch legislation.


Ph.D. Albertjan Tollenaar
University of Groningen Assistant Professor Department of Administrative Law and Public Administration
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