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part i • supreme courts 1 Raoul van Caenegem, Les arrêts et jugés du Parlement de Paris sur appels flamands conservés dans les registres du Parlement, 2 vols (Brussels: SCT, 1966–1977). 86 started a doctoral thesis on the Flemish appeals to the Parlement of Paris in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the role of the king’s supreme court of justice in asserting royal sovereignty over the realm. Van Caenegem, when studying in Paris at the law faculty and the École Nationale des Chartes in the fifties, had at the suggestion of François-Louis Ganshof carried out a systematic survey of the judgements on appeal from Flemish courts in the mediaeval parliamentary archives. This later resulted in two volumes encompassing 668 decisions rendered by the French supreme court between 1320 and 1521.1 The Royal Commission for Old Laws and Ordinances of Belgium published this groundbreaking work in the history of the continental central courts, inaugurating a new series old case law specifically for the purpose. Jurisprudence now carried the imprimatur of empirical history, and legal historians could turn the pageonanessentiallyexegetichistoriographythat had limited its primary sources to customary law, legislation, and learned or Roman and canonical law. y first encounter withthe history of supreme courts was in 1986, when, under the supervision of Raoul van Caenegem, I M Central courts, an inexhaustible source of information for legal history: The example of the French parlements and sovereign councils 4. Serge Dauchy