Feer Verkade will be focusing on the development of legislation in the area of illegal competition. Ever since the French Revolution, the legal and political system has been struggling to find the appropriate balance between the freedom to exercise a profession and conduct a commercial enterprise on the one hand and protection against abuses of these freedoms on the other. As a part of this process, the legislative authorities regularly make - and repeal - decisions. However, there will always be cases in which judges are called upon to intervene on the basis of ‘unwritten law'. These incidents touch upon a fundamental question: how much legislative leeway does the legislator offer the judge (or, how much leeway does the judge take). Judges must also strike a balance between the interests of freedom of commerce (and expression) and protection against those unduly benefiting from other parties' investments. In addition, they must take into account consumer rights, freedom of labour (competition from former employees), the impact on the commercial climate and anti-cartel legislation. As the day-to-day practice has repeatedly borne out, court decisions can have a major impact on society.
Verkade has served as Advocate General at the Supreme Court since 2002, serving as an extraordinary member since 1 May 2009. Prior to this time, he served in various positions including professor at Nijmegen Radboud University and Leiden University. Verkade began his academic career at the UvA in 1968. He also spend almost 30 years working as a (part time) lawyer in Amsterdam. Verkade is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts (KNAW) and the Ministry of Justice's Copyright Commission. In addition to a large number of articles, he has published a great many books, including the 2009 publication Oneerlijke handelspraktijken jegens consumenten (Kluwer publishers).