Pablo Bravo-Hurtado, Cornelis Hendrik van Rhee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The book discusses civil litigation at the Supreme Courts of nine jurisdictions: Argentina, Austria, Croatia, England & Wales, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States of America. It focuses on the problem of excessive caseload and measures to keep caseload within acceptable boundaries. This introductory chapter analyses, from a comparative perspective, the different dimensions of the problem. The first and most evident dimension of an excessive caseload is undue delay. The problem, however, also exhibits a second dimension in which a heavy caseload affects the performance of Supreme Courts, especially where it concerns the balancing of the private and public purposes of adjudication at these courts. Solutions to an excessive caseload need to take into account both dimensions. Solutions may go in the direction of increasing the capacity of the court to resolve more cases or reducing the number of cases. A variety of factors—ranging from different understandings of the caseload problem, local conceptions about the purpose of the Supreme Court, strong entitlement to a right to appeal, budgetary restrictions and rigidity of legal rules—may explain why some jurisdictions prefer certain solutions over others. A comparative analysis shows that the implementation of similar solutions, such as access filters, in different jurisdictions may not have similar effects, but effects even opposite to those sought. Since the problem of overburdened courts is multifactorial and context-dependent, reforms need to be multifactorial and context-dependent too.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIus Gentium
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameIus Gentium
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9902


  • Caseload
  • Civil Litigation
  • Comparative Law
  • Supreme Courts


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