UPDATE: Italian Legal Research and Resources on the Web

Elio Fameli holds a Law degree from the University of Florence. He is an Associated Research Director at the ITTIG – “Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica” (effective June 1, 2019, ITTIG became IGSG - Istituto di Informatica Giuridica e Sistemi Giudiziari), an organ of the CNR (Italian National Research Council). He was responsible of a CNR National Project. In the ITTIG structure, he was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Institute and coordinator of the “Information Technology and Law” Section. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the international journal “Informatica e diritto” (starting from 2019 “Rivista Italiana di Informatica e Diritto”). He published numerous scientific essays about the application of Artificial Intelligence to Law, “Computer Law” and the dissemination of legal information on Internet. In his recent research activity, he paid special attention to the problems of definition and systematization of the Legal Informatics as unitary discipline, the right of the citizen to information about the environment and the relevance of social networks for Labor Law.

Francesco Fameli graduated magna cum laude in Law at the University of Florence. Then he took a further specialization degree in Administrative Law at the Florence Postgraduate School of Law. In 2011, he became an officially registered mediator. He wrote large essays concerning the Public Administration damage compensation. He is currently working as a lawyer in Florence. His main interests concern Public and Administrative Law (with special attention to zoning law, building codes and licenses fees), Intellectual Property Law (in particular as regards copyright rule applications in the fields of informatics and music industry) and voluntary associations’ legal guardianship.

Published November/December 2021

(Original March 2005 version by Elio Fameli and Fiorenza Socci; Subsequently updated by Elio Fameli and Fiorenza Socci in June 2006, September/October 2007; by Diletta Tega in March 2011; by Maria Angela Biasiotti and Elio Fameli in July/August 2012; by Elio Fameli and Francesco Fameli in January/February 2015 and in November/December 2017)

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Table of Contents

In Europe, legal systems can be said to have various origins, but in particular, to have descended from classical Roman law—which, with time, became “jus civile”—and can be distinguished in many ways from the common law tradition. The Italian legal order has two fundamental origins, “jus privatorum” and “jus publicum”; this traditional division of law does not exist in common law countries with an English origin. The former, concerning private law, draws its sources from ancient Roman law (the “Institutiones,” “Digesta,” “Codex,” and “Novellae”) and still substantially mirrors those ancient principles today, albeit filtered through the experience of the medieval and Renaissance jurists (the Glossators and Commentators), and later summarized in the French Napoleonic codification of 1805, which in Italy was partially affected by the influx of German Pandectist doctrine. The latter, concerning public law, finds its most direct and modern inspiration in the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” of 1789, following the French Revolution. It was strongly influenced by the political experience of the Italian Risorgimento, partially incorporated in the Constitution of the State of the Piedmont, promulgated on 4 March 1848 by Carlo Alberto of Savoy (the so-called Statuto Albertino), and finally fully expressed in the Republican Constitution in force today.

The description above provides a general outline of the system up to the promulgation of the new Italian Constitution in 1947, which imposed a different and updated approach and interpretation of the old rules. The Constitution influenced in a decisive manner the order of State and individual powers and, above all, the relationship between the citizens and the State. Furthermore, it also forced the latter to intervene strongly in the economic field.

It is usually said that the Italian Constitution is a compromise between the thrust for the simplified popular idea of justice deriving from nineteenth-century socialist ideas and the innate natural law aspiration of religious Catholic origin. The Italian Constitution, which came into force on 1 January 1948, clearly states that the rights of individuals exist and are protected but directs their exercise towards the benefit of the collective, according to the principle—also dear to early French Constitution makers—that the individual is everything in society but is nothing without it. It is the whole constitutional framework that, for the purpose of fully implementing the project for a new society, takes the doctrine formulated by Montesquieu as its own and clearly separates legislative, executive, and judicial powers, giving each its own precise rules and autonomy.

The Italian Constitution was published in a special issue of the Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica [Official Gazette of the Republic] on 27 December 1947. The text can almost always be found together with publications of the five codes: Codice Civile (Civil Code), Codice di Procedura Civile (Code of Civil Procedure), Codice Penale (Penal Code), Codice di Procedura Penale (Code of Criminal Procedure), Codice della Navigazione (Code of Navigation). An English translation of the Italian Constitution, revised and updated as of 2014, is in A. Tschentscher (ed.), ICL - International Constitutional Law (version edited by C. Fusaro, University of Florence). This translation has been realized for International Constitutional Law (ICL), a scientific organization that translated also other national Constitutions, providing a cross reference among different constitutional texts.

A more recent edition of the Italian Constitution in English was published in 2018 by the Library of the Senate of the Republic. A PDF version of both the Constitution and the amendments made by Constitutional Law No. 1 of October 19, 2020 is available for download on the website of the Italian Senate. The current text of the Italian Constitution in English is available on the website of the Chamber of Deputies.

The Italian Parliament’s website provides a list of constitutional revisions that have modified the text of the Charter from 1962 to today. Starting from the XIII legislature, it is possible to consult the parliamentary process of the constitutional modifications. There are also documents and materials concerning the proposals for constitutional reforms examined by Parliament over the years. Regarding the last constitutional reforms, a brief synthesis of their development is offered by the Dipartimento per le Riforme Istituzionali (Institutional Reforms Department). A concise political and institutional history can be found at the ICL (International Constitutional Law) website (Italy Index section), edited by C. Fusaro.

The Italian legal system, as founded on Roman and Germanic traditions and based on the written laws value, is a civil law system. It is deeply different from the legal system of the English-speaking countries (so-called common law systems), developed by royal courts of justice and basically structured as a jurisprudential law, in which judges make law, binding by means of their sentences the following judicial decisions. The distinction between private law and public law, absent in common law systems, on the contrary characterizes civil law systems.

Legislative power is exercised by the Parlamento [Parliament]: the Camera dei Deputati [Chamber of Deputies] and the Senato della Repubblica [Senate of the Republic]. Legislative initiative belongs also to the Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro [National Council of Economy and Labour] and the People. The Corte Costituzionale [Constitutional Court] exercises control over the constitutional legitimacy of laws.

On 8 August 2014, the Senato approved a historic reform of its structure and powers, a necessary first step for the constitutional reform process. The negative response of the constitutional referendum stopped this aim in December 2016. Executive power is attributed to the Governo [Government], while the Consiglio di Stato [Council of State] and the Corte dei Conti [State Audit Court] have a measure of control and an advisory role over the executive.

During the eighteenth legislature, Constitutional Law No. 1 of 19 October 2020 was approved on: "Amendments to Articles 56, 57 and 59 of the Constitution on the reduction of the number of parliamentarians." The law was confirmed by voters in the popular referendum held on September 20 and 21, 2020. On July 8, 2021, the text of the constitutional amendment (A.C. 1585-B const.) was also definitively approved, which—by amending Article 58, first paragraph, of the Constitution—lowered the age for electing members of the Senate of the Republic from 25 to 18.

Several bills for constitutional amendments are also under parliamentary consideration. In particular, the amendments to Part One of the Constitution on environmental protection; the proposed constitutional law amending Articles 57 and 83 of the Constitution regarding the electoral basis for the election of the Senate of the Republic; and the reduction of the number of regional delegates for the election of the President of the Republic (A.C. 2238).

Also under discussion in the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Senate is a draft constitutional amendment—already approved by the Chamber—which, by supplementing Article 71 of the Constitution, introduces a special form of "reinforced" popular legislative initiative that may be confirmed through popular referendum (A.C. 1173). Article 75 of the Constitution, on the abrogative referendum, is also subject to amendment, with particular regard to the quorum required for its approval. Also under consideration by the Senate is a bill, of parliamentary initiative, which repeals the National Council of Economy and Labor (CNEL) and a bill that provides for the constitutionalization of the Conference system and the introduction of the State supremacy clause (A.S. 1825).

Judicial power is exercised by magistrates distinguished in functions and competencies as indicated below. Corte costituzionale [Constitutional Court]: judicial review of constitutionality; Corte di Cassazione [Supreme Court of Cassation]: control of the legality of the decisions. Civil Jurisdiction: a) First instance: Giudice di Pace [Judge of the Peace], Pretura [Magistrates’ Court], Tribunale [Tribunal]; b) Second Instance: Pretura [Magistrates Court], Tribunale [Tribunal], Corte d’Appello [Court of Appeal]. Penal Jurisdiction: a) First Instance: Pretura [Magistrates’ Court], Tribunale [Tribunal], Corte d’Assise [Court of Assize]; b) Second Instance: Tribunale [Tribunal], Corte d’Appello [Court of Appeal], Corte d’Assise d’Appello [Appeal Court of Assize]. Administrative Jurisdiction: a) First instance: Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali [Regional Administrative Tribunals]; b) Second Instance: Consiglio di Stato [Council of State]. Taxation Jurisdiction: a) First instance: Commissioni Tributarie Provinciali [Provincial Taxation Commissions]; b) Second Instance: Commissioni Tributarie Regionali [Regional Taxation Commissions]. Audit Jurisdiction: a) First instance: Corte dei Conti – Singola Sezione [State Audit Court - Single Session]; b) Second Instance: Corte dei Conti – Sezioni Unite [State Audit Court – Joint Sitting]. Military Jurisdiction: a) First instance: Tribunale Militare [Military Tribunal]; b) Second Instance: Corte Militare d’Appello [Military Court of Appeal]. Any Judge can refer a case to the Constitutional Court.

It is to be pointed out that Italy, following European member States trends, starting from 2009 publishes paper and online editions of the Gazzetta Ufficiale considering both versions of published legislation (paper and electronic) as legally binding. With respect to the online edition, it is worthwhile to note that every page of the document can be downloaded individually and, since 1 January 2009 in toto. Only the free-of-text format is free of charge. The authenticity of the Gazzetta Ufficiale is guaranteed through electronic signature. The certified PDF edition has been available since January 1, 2009.

The Ministry of Justice (Directorate of Information Systems) is responsible for archiving the Legal Gazette before the publication of the electronic edition. The Codice dell’amministrazione digitale (Code for digital administration) is the legal basis for archiving electronic official texts in general, although not specifically for the Gazzetta Ufficiale.

Considered as a whole, legal information is basically made up of three main elements: legislative data, case law data, and legal authority data. Naturally, this does not exclude the fact that there is a large quantity of different data, which is very important for legal purposes, such as administrative acts, notices, circulars and so on. Here, however, for the sake of our presentation, the paper-based instruments relating to the dissemination of these data will not be taken into consideration but, rather, the analysis of the paper-based sources will be limited to the three main types of sources indicated above.

The concise treatment of the subject, which follows separately, deals with Italian legislation, case law and legal authority (leaving aside, that is, the specific nature of the individual branches of the law). Some special mention will only be made in relation to the main divisions of Italian law, namely, civil law, criminal law and public law.

1.1. Legislation

Legislative data are collected into tools, which can be divided into two categories: a) those which contain the text of the legislative measures and b) those which contain the legislative references.

Texts of legislative measures include both the official and private publications. The brief presentation following here is based on this distinction. Among the official publications, we wish to cite the Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, the Raccolta Ufficiale degli atti normativi della Repubblica Italiana, and the Bollettini ufficiali regionali.

The Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, published by the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, is the most popular collection. It publishes not only all the legislative acts, but also community and regional sources, as well as the decisions and orders of the Constitutional Court and government circulars. For a systematic search, monthly and annual indexes are also available which enable the user to identify the act on the basis of adoption date, the number of the measure, and the subject matter that has been regulated. The legislative acts of the European Union are published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale delle Comunità Europee.

The Raccolta Ufficiale degli atti normativi della Repubblica Italiana, again published by the Poligrafico dello Stato, contains the texts of Italian legislative measures (set out in order of the number of their insertion in the collection) and provides annual indexes.

The Bollettini ufficiali regionali constitute a collection of legislative acts passed by the legislative bodies of the 20 Italian Regions (in Sicily, a Region under a special Statute, the collection is called Gazzetta Ufficiale). They collect also general administrative acts, such as regolamenti.

Private publications are made up of special periodical journals, which publish legislative material in various forms. They have chronological, numeric, and subject indexes and more user-friendly tools compared to the Gazette and the Bollettini ufficiali. Within this category, we shall only mention Lex. This legislative collection, edited by the UTET publishing house of Turin, contains State legislative acts, parliamentary reports, ministerial instructions, regional laws, and the legislative acts of the European Communities. Research tool publications containing references to the legislative texts (but not the texts themselves) include the following.

Digests are made up of special periodical journals containing lists of legislative acts, as well as massime (case law abstracts) and bibliographies relating to legal authority. Usually, these are accompanied by chronological, numeric, and subject indexes. The following are among the most widely used: the Repertorio del Foro Italiano (Zanichelli, Bologna), the Repertorio della Giurisprudenza Italiana (UTET, Turin), and the Repertorio generale annuale di legislazione, bibliografia e giurisprudenza (Giuffré, Milan).

Among the Supplements to Journals, the most important are Legislazione vigente (UTET, Turin), which has an analytical-alphabetical subject index, where the references to the provisions in force are set out, and Legislazione italiana (Giuffré, Milan), a digest of State laws currently in force containing State legislative references.

The Appendices to Encyclopedia Headings, usually provided to complete every topic covered, contain information dated at the time the heading was compiled, but they have the advantage of being systematic and authoritative because they are prepared by specialists on the subject. Among the most important legal Encyclopedias, we can mention here include the following: the Enciclopedia del Diritto, published by Giuffré (actually Giuffrè, Francis, Lefebvre) since 1958, which is currently composed of 52 volumes; the Novissimo Digesto Italiano, edited by UTET in 65 volumes (civil, commercial, and public law) starting from 1957 and then updated with later volumes (thanks to the collaboration with UTET Giuridica, the publishing house Wolters Kluwer has realized the online version of the homonymous encyclopedic work integrated in Leggi d'Italia). The work collects in a systematic, complete, and organic way all the branches of law, both classical and emerging ones; and the Enciclopedia Giuridica (38 volumes), published by the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana up until 1993 and integrated by subsequent volumes of updating.

With reference to legislative sources, the user may sometimes be advised, if necessary, to document him/herself by consulting the Atti parlamentari (Parliamentary Acts) on the so-called “legislator’s intent”. Knowledge of this intention, in fact, whilst not decisive in the interpretative construction of a provision, may be of great help in understanding its original meaning. Among the Atti parlamentari published, in paper-based form, by the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Senate, the main ones are Proposte e disegni di legge and Bollettino delle Giunte e delle Commissioni parlamentari.

1.2. Jurisprudence

As far as jurisprudential data are concerned, the user gains knowledge about them through a good many tools for their dissemination set out here in accordance with their type.

Journals: Some journals are, exclusively or mainly, specialized in publishing decisions and other judicial measures. In these, each decision is usually preceded by a “column” which identifies, through “Headings” and “Sub-headings”, the subject to which it refers (for example, “Sale,” “Renting,” “Tender,” etc.) and by one or more massime (case law abstracts)—without any kind of official nature, in that they have been compiled by the editors of the journal itself—which summarize the principle of law stated by the Court and they are, in turn, accompanied by a case note or by references to previous legal literature or jurisprudential cases.

Two monthly journals, Il Foro italiano (Zanichelli, Bologna) and La giurisprudenza italiana (UTET, Turin), publish considerable numbers of decisions and other measures issued by judicial authorities of different kinds: community, constitutional, civil, criminal, and administrative case law are divided into special sections.

Massimari (collections of massime): Only the massime (abstracts) of the decisions of the Italian Supreme Court are published monthly in the following collections of massime: Massimario della giustizia civile (Giuffré, Milan), Massimario della giurisprudenza italiana (UTET, Turin) and Massimario del Foro italiano (Zanichelli, Bologna).

Repertori (digests): The digests annually publish only the massime (case abstracts) of all the decisions and other judicial measures edited in the journals and collections of massime, organised in a systematic manner under “headings” and “sub-headings” indicating the journal or the collection of massime they have come from. In searching for case law, from the methodological point of view, the digests are the first tool to consult: after that, the user needs to go back to the journal in which the full text of the decision that interests him/her on each occasion is published, for the purpose of being informed not only about the facts of the case on which the court bases its decision but also to verify how exact and congruous the principle of law expressed in the massima in the Digest is.

Among the Digests of a general nature, we would like to indicate the Repertorio del Foro Italiano (Il Foro Italiano - Zanichelli, Bologna), the Repertorio della giurisprudenza italiana (UTET, Turin), and the Repertorio generale annuale di legislazione, bibliografia e giurisprudenza (Giuffré, Milan). The characteristics of these works are the annual frequency of their publication and the fact that they contain subject indexes, under whose headings the lists of the sources held to be in force are set out, together with the bibliographical details of the different law journal articles published during the year under consideration as well as the massime of the decisions, often with references to the journals where they are published in their entirety. Other indexes of the published case law material include a chronological index and an index of the names of the parties in the legal actions.

One characteristic element which distinguishes Repertori (or Massimari) from law journals is the fact that, in the former, only the massime (case law abstracts) of the decisions are published, whereas the latter also give the text of the decisions of greatest interest, often accompanied by a case note or references to judicial precedents, becoming, in this way, useful supplementary tools. Also, in this case, there are more general and more specialised journals. Here, it is sufficient for us to provide only some limited information about the former by mentioning Foro italiano (Zanichelli, Bologna), La Giurisprudenza italiana (UTET, Turin) and Giurisprudenza di merito (Giuffré, Milan).

There is a vast amount of scientific material, found in handbooks, encyclopedias, journals, treaties, and monographs. Digests and bibliographies prove to be useful tools for consultation. Also, we must point out that there are various kinds of these tools, both general and specific, taking the shape of appendices to larger works, as in the case of encyclopedias and legal dictionaries (as we saw above, in relation to legislative data), or autonomous works. Obviously, journals are an important tool for documenting scientific output, especially those specializing in the sector in which a user conducts his/her research.

Bibliographical Digests: Among the digests of a general kind, we must, in the first place, cite the Dizionario bibliografico (Giuffré, Milan), edited by V. Napolitano (1964- 2001). In this work, all the articles, which have appeared since 1865, in the journals examined, are classified based on a special index, as well as law books published since 1964.

Bibliographical Guides: A panorama of bibliographical guides at the international level can be found in the Sistema della bibliografia giuridica. Strumenti e metodi della ricerca bibliografica per la scienza del diritto, published by A. Meloncelli (Giuffré, Milan, 1977). Other bibliographical guides of a general nature are: Introduzione alla ricerca dei dati giuridici, edited by G. Sciullo (Giappichelli, Turin, 1989); DirittoGuide bibliografiche, edited by G. Armani (Garzanti, Milan, 1989); the same author has also written Come si cerca il diritto. La ricerca di leggi, giurisprudenza e letteratura attraverso biblioteche, bibliografie e banche dati. Strumenti e metodi (Maggioli, Rimini, 1990), in which there is a very long list of Italian law journals; A. Meloncelli, Come si cerca il diritto (Maggioli, Rimini, 1990); G. Pascuzzi, Cercare il diritto (Zanichelli, Bologna, 2011).

Dictionaries: We shall only mention some of the more recent: the Dizionario enciclopedico del diritto, diretto da F. Galgano (Padua, CEDAM, 1996); and the Nuovo Dizionario giuridico (Edizioni Simone, 2008).

Encyclopedias: In legal encyclopedias, individual subjects are subdivided into “entries,” set out in alphabetical order and containing an extended treatment of the single issues dealt with in relation to the various branches of the law. The Novissimo Digesto Italiano (UTET, Turin) is directed towards satisfying the needs of legal practitioners, while the Enciclopedia del diritto (Giuffré, Milan) has a more markedly theoretical nature. The Enciclopedia giuridica published by the Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana (UTET, Turin), and the digest published by UTET in four sections (Discipline privatistiche, Sezione civile; Discipline privatistiche, Sezione commerciale; Discipline penalistiche; Discipline pubblicistiche) are also very important.

2. Public Law

2.1. Public Law Legislation

2.1.1. The Italian Constitution

The fundamental law of the Italian State is represented by the Constitution, published in a special issue of the Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica on 27 December 1947 and coming into force on 1 January 1948. The text of the Constitution comprises 139 articles and is subdivided into four parts: Fundamental Principles, Rights and Duties of Citizens, Organisation of the Republic and Transitional Provisions. The so-called Transitional Provisions can be found in 18 articles, all listed with Roman numbers.

An English translation of the text of the Italian Constitution, revised and updated to 2014, can currently be found in A. Tschentscher (ed.), International Constitutional Law (edited by C. Fusaro, University of Florence). It is a translation prepared by the International Constitutional Law (ICL), a scientific organisation that also translates other material relating to constitutional documents, providing a series of cross references aimed at enabling a user to easily and rapidly compare texts dealing with the same topic.

A more recent edition of the Italian Constitution in English was published in 2018 by the Library of the Senate of the Republic. The current text of the Italian Constitution in English is available on the website of the Chamber of Deputies.

The Italian Parliament’s website provides a list of constitutional revisions that have modified the text of the Charter from 1962 to today. Starting from the XIII legislature, it is possible to consult the parliamentary process of the constitutional modifications. There are also documents and materials concerning the proposals for constitutional reforms examined by Parliament over the years. Regarding the last constitutional reforms, a brief synthesis of their development is offered by the Dipartimento per le Riforme Istituzionali (Institutional Reforms Department). A concise political and institutional history can be found at the ICL (International Constitutional Law) website (Italy Index section), edited by C. Fusaro.

The Commentario della Costituzione, in 35 volumes (1975-2006), edited by G. Branca and A. Pizzorusso (Zanichelli, Bologna), is still today the most extensive treatise on Italian Constitutional Law. The most updated publications are: Commentario alla Costituzione, edited by R. Bifulco, A. Celotto, M. Olivetti (UTET, Torino, 2006) and Commentario breve alla Costituzione, edited by S. Bartole, R. Bin (CEDAM, Padova, 2008). With the collaboration of the UTET Giuridica a new online database was realized: the Commentario alla Costituzione (Leggi d’Italia - Gruppo Wolters Kluwer). The work consists of a thorough study, updated with recent reforms.

2.1.2. Constitutional Laws

After its promulgation, the Italian Constitution was integrated with numerous Constitutional Laws, passed within the period between 1948 and 2020. For a detailed list of the laws amending the Italian Constitution, as well as the articles of the Constitution “etched into” by Constitutional laws, it is advisable to consult the website of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Italy, which can be consulted in five languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish), and the website Consulta online.

In particular, the Law 23 November 1999, No. 2 introduced in the Italian Constitution the principles of the so called giusto processo (“fair trial”), such as the equality of the parts, the cross-examination method, the neutrality of the Court and the reasonable length of the trial.

Then, the reform of Title V of the Constitution (Constitutional Law No. 3/2001) left many questions unanswered on a doctrinal and operational level. For many issues, the need was widely felt for legislative regulation laying down proper criteria for fully implementing the reform. In this perspective, the Law 5 June 2003, No. 131 was enacted, on Provisions for the Adaptation of the Legal Order of the Republic to Constitutional Law 18 October 2001, No. 3 (known as the “La Loggia Law”).

Among the other more recent innovations, we would like to mention here:

2.1.3. Acts of the Constituent Assembly

The preparatory works on the Constitution of the Republic of Italy deserves separate discussion. The Atti dell’Assemblea costituente were published immediately after the conclusion of the work of the Assembly: three volumes were dedicated to the work of the Commission in accordance with the way it was divided internally (Constituent Assembly and Commission for the Constitution), while 11 volumes collect the debates (Atti dell’Assemblea costituente, Discussioni). The initial proposals and reports presented to the Commission for the Constitution were only edited as “proofs.” See also the database created by the Chamber of Deputies, and the documentation on the Constituent Assembly on the website of the Chamber of Deputies

An index relating to the activities carried out by the individual members of the Constituent Assembly is found in the volume Atti dell’Assemblea costituente, Attività dei Deputati. Only in 1980 an actual analytical index was created (M.C. Grisolia, Indice analitico degli Atti della Assemblea costituente, in Verso la nuova Costituzione, edited by U. De Siervo, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1980), regarding the second edition of the Acts, edited by the Chamber of Deputies in 1970 (La Costituzione della Repubblica nei lavori preparatori dell’Assemblea costituente).

2.1.4. Other Laws of Public Law Interest

Apart from the official publications and those of a private nature already mentioned with reference to legislation in general, we can indicate here the various “Codes” of constitutional and administrative laws, comprising collections of more frequently used legislative sources, created by experts in the material in different sectors of interest. These legislative collections are not, of course, to be confused with the six proper Italian Codes, which collect the fundamental rules in force within the field of civil law, civil procedure, administrative procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure and navigation.

Among the most up-to-date texts, we shall only mention here: the Repertorio amministrativo dello Stato, edited by L. Zanobini, published by Giuffré since 1984 and specifically referring to the State administrative legislation (the last update was published in 1995, but refers to 1994); the Codice costituzionale ed amministrativo, edited by G. de Vergottini and F.A. Roversi Monaco (Maggioli, Rimini, 1998); the Atlante normativo di diritto costituzionale by M. Carducci with L. Adduci (Giuffré, Milan, 2004); Le leggi fondamentali del diritto pubblico e costituzionale, edited by M. Bassani, V. Italia, C.E. Traverso (Milan, Giuffré, 2010); the Codice dell’azione amministrativa, edited by M.A. Sandulli (Milan, Giuffré, 2016); the Codice delle leggi amministrative, edited by A. Pagano (Simone, 2017). Finally we remember here the Administrative Code in force, updated with the Relaunch Law October 13, 2020, n. 126, by Francesco Bartolini (Piacenza, La Tribuna, 2020). The Dizionario di diritto pubblico, directed by S. Cassese (Milan, Giuffré, 2006) is the most extensive treatise on Italian Public Law.

The Digital Administration Code (CAD) is one of the most important legislative text concerning the implementation of the information society in Italy. The CAD is a single text that brings together and organizes the rules regarding the computerization of the Public Administration in its relations with citizens and businesses. Established by Legislative Decree No. 82 of March 7, 2005, it was subsequently amended and integrated first by Legislative Decree No. 179 of August 22, 2016 and then by Legislative Decree No. 217 of December 13, 2017 to promote and make effective the rights of digital citizenship.

Thanks to the d.lgs No. 104/2010, on 16 September 2010 came into force the so called “Codice del Processo Amministrativo” (“Administrative Trial Code”), which regulates the administrative trial in front of the Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali (“T.A.R.”) and the Consiglio di Stato (in second instance). The Code, which was reformed in 2011 with the d.lgs No. 195, should be considered the sixth Code of Italian civil legislation.

2.2. Public Law Jurisprudence

Apart from the case law sources mentioned with reference to Italian law in general, we would like to make note of the following among the specialised digests: the Repertorio delle decisioni della Corte costituzionale, edited by N. Lipari relative to the years 1956-1995 (Giuffré, Milan, 1995), which publishes the massime (case law abstracts) of constitutional decisions on the basis of a subject index, an index by article of the Constitution and an index of the provisions subject to judgment, and the Massimario completo della giurisprudenza del Consiglio di Stato (Italedi, Rome, 2004), which publishes an annual volume containing all the decisions of the Italian Council of State, classified by subject matter.

There are many public law journals. These include: Giurisprudenza costituzionale (Giuffré, Milan), which publishes all the decisions and orders of the Constitutional Court, as well as the remission orders to the Court; Il Foro amministrativo (Giuffré, Milan); Il Consiglio di Stato (Italedi, Rome); and I Tribunali amministrativi regionali (Italedi, Rome).

Handbooks: Apart from the encyclopedias and dictionaries we have already cited in the part relating to Italian law in general, institutional handbooks of constitutional, parliamentary, and administrative law represent important reference works for learning about Italian public law.

For constitutional law, the following are among the most recent and important handbooks: T. Martines (edited by G. Silvestri), Diritto costituzionale, Giuffré, Milan, updated 2020; P. Barile, E. Cheli, S. Grassi, Istituzioni di diritto pubblico, CEDAM, Padua, 2017; and G.U. Rescigno, Corso di diritto pubblico, Zanichelli, Bologna, updated 2021; R. Bin, G. Pitruzzella, Diritto costituzionale, Giappichelli, Turin, updated 2020; P. Caretti, U. De Siervo, Diritto costituzionale e pubblico, Giappichelli, Turin, 2018; A. Barbera, C. Fusaro, Corso di diritto pubblico, Il Mulino, Bologna, updated 2020; A. D'Atena, Lezioni di diritto costituzionale, Torino, Giappichelli, updated 2018.

For parliamentary law, reference should be made to: A.P. Tanda, Le norme e la prassi del Parlamento italiano, Colombo, Rome, 1996; A. Manzella, Diritto parlamentare, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2003; L. Ciaurro, V. Di Ciolo, Il diritto parlamentare nella teoria e nella pratica, Giuffrè, Milan, 2013; M.L. Mazzoni Honorati, Lezioni di diritto parlamentare, Giappichelli, Turin, 2005; A. Mannino, S. Curreri, Diritto parlamentare, Giuffré, Milan, 2021; L. Gianniti, N. Lupo, Corso di diritto parlamentare, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018; T. Martines, G. Silvestri, C. De Caro, V. Lippolis, R. Moretti, Diritto Parlamentare, Giuffrè, Milan, 2011; S.M. Cicconetti, Diritto parlamentare, Giappichelli, Turin, updated 2019; E. Colarullo, La rappresentanza politica e le forme di governo, Giappichelli, Turin, 2012.

For an overall but concise view of Italian Administrative Law, the following can usefully be referred to: F. Bassi, Lezioni di diritto amministrativo, Giuffré, Milan, 2008; S. Cassese, Le basi del diritto amministrativo, Einaudi, Turin, 1999; V. Italia, G. Landi, G. Potenza, Manuale di diritto amministrativo, Editori vari, 2002; V. Cerulli Irelli, Lineamenti di diritto amministrativo, Giappichelli, Turin, updated 2021; D. Sorace, Diritto delle amministrazioni pubbliche. Una introduzione, (with digital content for download and online access), Il Mulino, Bologna, 2018; F.G. Scoca (a cura di), Diritto amministrativo, Giappichelli, Turin, updated 2020; G. Corso, Manuale di diritto amministrativo, Giappichelli, Turin, updated 2020; E. Casetta F. Fracchia, Compendio di diritto amnministrativo, Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre, Milan, updated 2021; L. Torchia (a cura di), Lezioni di diritto amministrativo progredito, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2012; S. Cassese, Istituzioni di diritto amministrativo, Giuffré, Milan, 2015; R. Galli, Nuovo corso di diritto amministrativo, CEDAM, Padua, updated 2019; F. Caringella, Manuale di diritto amministrativo, Dike Giuridica, Rome, updated 2018.

Journals: The main journals in which authoritative contributions in the sector of public law are published include the following: Quaderni costituzionali (Il Mulino, Bologna), Giurisprudenza costituzionale (Giuffrè, Milan), the Rivista trimestrale di diritto pubblico (Giuffré, Milan), Diritto pubblico (CEDAM, Padua), Politica del diritto (Il Mulino, Bologna), Diritto e Società (CEDAM, Padua). From the point of view of the legal history of Italian public law, the work entitled Il Parlamento italiano. Storia parlamentare e politica dell’Italia 1861-1992 (Nuova CEI, Milan, 1988 - 1992) is of great scientific interest.

3. Civil Law

3.1. Civil Law Legislation

3.1.1. The Civil Code

There are several editions of the Civil Code, all preceded by the text of the Constitution. In choosing an edition, the accuracy of the transcription of the official text, its updating (with the later provisions of repealing laws, amendments of individual articles, abrogating decisions of the Constitutional Court), and the selection of the main special laws found in the appendix to the Code must all be kept in mind. The most accredited and most frequently updated editions are those published by the publishing houses CEDAM of Padua (Codice civile e leggi complementari), Giuffré of Milan (Codice civile con la Costituzione e le principali leggi speciali) and Zanichelli of Bologna (Codice civile e leggi collegate). There are also editions, in a single volume, which bring together both the Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure, or all the main Italian Codes (Civil, Civil Procedure, Criminal, and Criminal Procedure).

We would like to mention here, within the ambit of the series of Hypertext Codes published by UTET of Turin, the hypertext Civil Code on CD-ROM, edited for the same publishing house by G. Bonilini, M. Confortini and C. Granelli, who have, in turn, coordinated more than one hundred authors, chosen among the greatest experts in the various sectors of civil law. The work, published in 2012 and available on CD-ROM, contains comments on all the articles of the Civil Code. For a very recent version of the annotated Civil Code see, for example, the work of F. Di Marzio, published by Giuffrè of Milan in 2021.

Commentaries: Furthermore, there are editions of the Civil Code in which, in correspondence to each article, information is briefly given on the main trends in case law and legal authority. Among these, we would only like to mention here the Commentario al Codice civile by P. Cendon (Giuffré, Milan, 2008), the Commentario del Codice civile, directed by E. Gabrielli (UTET, Turin, 2015), and the Commentario breve al Codice civile, by G. Cian and A. Trabucchi (CEDAM, Padua, 2020).

Preparatory works: For a detailed view of civil law matters through knowledge about the preparatory work behind the drafting of the Civil Code, it is necessary to consult the work in six volumes by Pandolfelli, Scarpello, et al., Codice civile (Giuffré, Milan, 1940-’43).

3.1.2. Other Laws of Interest

Here, reference should be made to a specialized journal entitled Le nuove leggi civili commentate (CEDAM, Padua), which publishes, on a quarterly basis, a selection of legislative instruments relating to the material, supplementing them with in-depth comments relating to both the laws as a whole and to the individual articles of which they are composed.

3.1.3. Private Collections of Thematic Legislation

Also in the field of private law, there are additions to periodical publications which, under the general name of “Codes,” collect together all the legislation relating to specific topics, such as renting (“Code of Renting”), labour (“Code of Labour Laws”), etc.

3.2. Civil Law Jurisprudence

With specific reference to civil law jurisprudence, there are journals, massimari, digests, and reviews, edited by the major Italian publishing houses specialised in this legal domain.

Journals: The following journals contain civil law jurisprudence: the monthly journal Giustizia civile (Giuffré, Milan) and the bimonthly journal La nuova giurisprudenza civile commentata (CEDAM, Padua). Other journals specialised by subject matter dedicate a special section to the publication of decisions relating to that subject matter. We have set out here a basic list of these journals: Il diritto di famiglia e delle persone (Giuffré, Milan), Il diritto d’autore (Giuffré, Milan), Rivista di diritto commerciale (Nuova Libraria, Padua), Giurisprudenza commerciale (Giuffré, Milan), Le società (IPSOA, Milan), Rivista bancaria (Rome), Banca, borsa e titoli di credito (Giuffré, Milan), Diritto fallimentare (CEDAM, Padua), Il fallimento (Pirola, Milan), Rivista di diritto ipotecario (Giuffré, Milan), La giurisprudenza annotata di diritto industriale (Giuffré, Milan; published annually, contains all the decisions on competition, intangible property and trade names), Rivista di diritto industriale (Giuffré, Milan), Rivista giuridica dell’edilizia (Giuffré, Milan), Rivista del diritto agrario (Giuffré, Milan), Nuovo diritto agrario (Rome), Giurisprudenza agraria (Rome), Rivista di diritto minerario (La Tribuna, Piacenza), Archivio giuridico della circolazione e dei sinistri stradali (La Tribuna, Piacenza), Responsabilità civile e previdenza (Giuffré, Milan), Assicurazioni (INA, Rome), Rassegna di diritto cinematografico (Rome), Rivista di diritto sportivo (Giuffré, Milan).

Massimari, Digests, and Reviews: Here we shall cite the Massimario della giustizia civile (Giuffré, Milan) among the specialised massimari on civil law. Among the digests, there is the Repertorio della giustizia civile (Giuffré, Milan). The reviews are characterised by the fact that they contain a logical and systematic description of the case law. Two large works, published in many volumes but still a long way from completion, need to be mentioned in specific reference to civil law matters: I grandi orientamenti della giurisprudenza civile e commerciale (CEDAM, Padua) and Giurisprudenza sistematica civile e commerciale (UTET, Turin). La Rassegna di giurisprudenza sul codice civile (Giuffré, Milan) is more concise.

Handbooks: We will mention only the most important and popular titles: G. Branca, G. Alpa, Istituzioni di diritto privato (Zanichelli, Bologna, 1992); P. Rescigno, Manuale del diritto privato italiano (Jovene, Naples, 1997); A. Trabucchi, Istituzioni di diritto civile (edited by G. Trabucchi, CEDAM, Padua, 2015); A. Torrente, P. Schlesinger, Istituzioni di diritto privato (edited by F. Anelli, C.Granelli, Giuffré, Milan, 2019); P. Trimarchi, Istituzioni di diritto privato (Giuffré, Milan, 2020).

The following works are dedicated to commercial law as a subdivision of private law: G. Cottino, Diritto commerciale (CEDAM, Padua, vols. 2, 1992); A. Graziani, G. Minervini, U. Belviso, Manuale di diritto commerciale (Morano, Naples, 1994); F. Galgano, Diritto commerciale. Le società (Zanichelli, Bologna, 2012); G. Ferri, Manuale di diritto commerciale (edited by C. Angelici, G.B. Ferri, UTET, Turin, 2019).

Instead, the following have labour law as their specific: G. Pera, Diritto del lavoro (CEDAM, Padua, 1980); C. Assanti, Corso di diritto del lavoro (CEDAM, Padua,1981); L. Riva-Sanseverino, Diritto del lavoro (CEDAM, Padua, 1982); G. Mazzoni, A. Aranguren, Manuale di diritto del lavoro (Giuffré, Milan, 1990); F. Mazziotti, Manuale di diritto del lavoro (Editoriale Scientifica, Napoli, 2009); S. Riva, Compendio di diritto del lavoro (Edizioni Giuridiche Simone, Napoli, 2016); O. Mazzotta, Manuale di diritto del lavoro (Cedam, Padua, 2017); G. Zaccardi, P. Passalacqua, Manuale di diiritto del lavoro, sindacale e della previdenza sociale (with online expansion by G. Zaccardi), 2019.

Treatises: These are mainly aimed at those practising the law (judges, attorneys, public notaries, etc.), and they are clearly distinguished from handbooks for the greater degree of depth in dealing with the material and, therefore, also for their wider coverage. Within the ambit of the vast amount of literature existing on the Civil Code, we recommend: F. Messineo, Manuale di diritto civile e commerciale (Giuffré, Milan, vols. 6, but no longer updated after 1962); the Trattato di diritto privato, directed by P. Rescigno (UTET, Turin), and F. Galgano, Trattato di diritto civile (CEDAM, Padua, 2014; Volume II has been updated to 2020 by N. Zorzi Galgano).

The series of volumes by different authors, organised on the basis of a plan, which provides for overall coverage of the disciplinary area under consideration also belong to the category of treatises. In this regard, we are able to cite several works of great scientific importance as well as having a considerably broad coverage (although all still remain unfinished): the Trattato di diritto civile e commerciale, directed by F. Corsi, A. Cicu and F. Messineo (Giuffré, Milan); the Trattato di diritto civile directed by G. Grosso and F. Santoro-Passarelli (Vallardi, Milan), and the Trattato di diritto civile directed by F. Vassalli (UTET, Turin). Other Treatises have for their object only some of the specific sectors within civil law, such as the Trattato di diritto commerciale e di diritto pubblico dell’economia, directed by F. Galgano (CEDAM, Padua) and the Nuovo trattato di diritto del lavoro, directed by L. Riva-Sanseverino and G. Mazzoni (CEDAM, Padua).

Commentaries: are distinguished from treatises in that, being specifically directed towards the needs for interpreting and enforcing the law, they follow, article by article, the order of the legislative text examined. The most widely used work among lawyers practising Italian private law is, undoubtedly, the Commentario del codice civile Scialoja e Branca, directed by F. Galgano (Zanichelli – Il Foro Italiano, Bologna - Rome) and made up of several dozen volumes. Furthermore, we must point out here the Commentario del codice civile directed by E. Gabrielli (UTET, Turin).

Encyclopedias: In general legal encyclopedias, the single topics of interest to the civil lawyer are also dealt with and subdivided under “headings,” set out in alphabetical order and containing a broad treatment of the individual themes being examined. For the main encyclopedias, see those that have already been discussed here in relation to Italian law in general.

Journals: The following journals are among the main Italian private law journals: the Rivista trimestrale di diritto e procedura civile (Giuffré. Milan), the Rivista di diritto civile, which is published bimonthly (CEDAM, Padua), the Rassegna di diritto civile (quarterly, ESI, Naples), the Rivista critica di diritto privato (quarterly, Jovene, Naples), and Contratto e impresa (CEDAM, Padua).

There are also numerous journals specializing in specific sectors of private law. Apart from those already cited as also being important for the case law they contain, the following belong to this category: the Rivista delle società (Giuffré, Milan), Diritto del lavoro (Rome), Giornale di diritto del lavoro e delle relazioni industriali (Angeli, Milan), Notiziario giuridico del lavoro (Turin), Rivista di diritto del lavoro (Giuffré, Milan), Rivista giuridica del lavoro (Rome), Trasporti (CEDAM, Padua).

Some other law journals, mainly characterised by their ideological orientation or for their methodological approach, also involve the private law domain, such as Politica del diritto (Il Mulino, Bologna), Democrazia e diritto (Editori riuniti, Rome), Justitia (Giuffré, Milan). Finally, some journals of a legal history nature (like the Quaderni fiorentini per la storia del pensiero giuridico moderno, Giuffré, Milan; Materiali per una storia della cultura giuridica, Il Mulino, Bologna) and sociological kind (like Sociologia del diritto, Giuffré, Milan) are also of interest to the private law scholar.

Monographs: Monographs, usually published as part of a “Series” of specialised publications edited by University Faculties or scientific Institutes, deal in depth with specific themes within the branch of the law under consideration. Because they are the result of legal research, they play an essential role in setting out in a systematic fashion the problems dealt with on each occasion, proposing paths for investigation and, sometimes, even methods and original solutions. Volumes, which collect together the contributions of more than one author or the Proceedings of Conferences, may also be of a monographic kind, in the sense of referring to a single main topic.

4. Intellectual Property Law

According to the common systematics, the intellectual property—its rules and its instruments of protection—is structured in two parts: the industrial property and the copyright. The first one protects any kind of inventions, in every field of technology, which are new, involve an innovative step, and are susceptible of industrial application (art. 52, EPO – European Patent Convention, in force since October 7, 1977). The second one safeguards every kind of intellectual creations, regarding music, literature, figurative arts, theatre, and cinema, regardless of any form or way of expression (art. 1, Law n. 633/1941).

The regulation of the intellectual property in the Italian system comes from three sources:

As regards the internal rules, the industrial property law is regulated by the Industrial Property Code (d.lgs n. 30/2005). The Code is structured in eight parts and contemplates several kinds of industrial patents and trademarks.

As regards the international conventional rules, in 1973 Italy signed the European Patent Convention and joined the E.P.O. (European Patent Organization). The so-called Münich Convention didn’t introduce a unique European industrial patent but developed—and still offers—unified proceedings to get the national patents regarding the same invention faster. From November 2020, the seventeenth edition of the European Patent Convention is available.

As regards the EU’s rules, we must distinguish between the trademark regulation and the patent one. On the one hand, the EU introduced a European common regulation of trademarks in 1994. The current regulation of the EU trademark is provided by CE reg. 2015/2424.

On the other hand, any EU’s common regulation has come into force yet about industrial patents. Since 2011, the UE’s Council started an enforced cooperation about industrial property law and industrial patents in particular. Therefore, reg. 2012/1257 was adopted by the EU’s Parliament and Council and the EU’s unitary patent protection was introduced. Italy joined the enforced cooperation about the European uniform patent regulation in September 2015.

5. Civil Law Trials

5.1. The Civil Procedure Code

The sources of regulation of the civil trial are:

5.2. Additional Sources

Several other special laws regulate the Italian civil trial in specific matters. The Civil Code, first of all, contains many rules about the jurisdictional protection of rights (artt. 2907 – 2933). R.D. n. 267/1942, which was modified by D.lgs n. 5/2006, regulates the failure proceedings. Then, Law n. 533/1973, which disciplines job litigation and social security matters. We can remember Law n. 392/1978 too, about house locations; the Industrial Property Code, D.lgs n. 30/2005; the Consumer Code, n. 206/2005, and the Private Insurance Code, D.lgs.n. 209/2005; then, Law. n. 99/2009, which introduced class actions in the Italian system; and D.lgs n. 28/2010, which established mediation as permanent a.d.r. (alternative dispute resolution). All these sources are out of the Code and regulate the Italian civil trial in specific matters.

5.3. The Telematic Civil Trial

The so-called Telematic Civil Trial (Processo Civile Telematico, PCT) is one of the measures that the Italian government recently developed to get the civil proceedings faster, according to EU’s claims. The goal of the PCT is to develop a complete system of informatic instruments, rules, and proceedings in order to allow the informatization of the civil trial. After an experimetnal phase, the PCT came into force on June 30, 2014 and is now running in every Court in the country. The source of regulation of the PCT is L. n. 221/2012, which converted D.l. n. 179/2012. PCT is based on the following instruments:

Since June 30, 2014, lawyers must deposit jurisdictional acts and documents next to the introducing ones only through the PCT system. For an update on the subject, also in relation to the recent spread of the pandemic, see “Il Codice del PCT commentato,” edited by N. Gargano, L. Sileni, Giuffré Francis Lefebvre, Milan, 2020.

6. Criminal Law

6.1. Criminal Law Legislation

Within the sphere of Italian criminal law, on the basis of the “principle of the legislature’s exclusive power to create crimes,” the legislature is reserved legislative monopoly in the field; sources of criminal law are, therefore, limited only to laws or to acts having the force of law (“nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege poenali scripta”).

As a result, both non-written sources and sources written in a different way from laws or “acts non-comparable to them” are excluded as criminal law sources. With this last expression, we are referring, within the Italian legal order, to so called “material laws,” consisting of acts passed by bodies different from the legislature, but having the “force of law”. In particular, the term includes: 1) “Delegated Laws” or “Legislative Decrees”, enacted by the government on the delegation of the legislature (Arts. 76 and 77 (1) of the Constitution); 2) “Decree Laws”, enacted by the government under its own responsibility in extraordinary cases of necessity and emergency (Art. 77 of the Constitution); 3) and finally, “Governmental Decrees in Wartime”, enacted on the basis of the essential powers attributed by Parliament to the government during wartime. All the other legislative acts of the executive (namely, “Regulations” and “Ordinances”) cannot constitute criminal law sources.

The main source of criminal law currently in force is the Criminal Code, which was passed under the R.D. (Royal Decree) of 19 October 1930, No. 1398, and came into force on July 1, 1931. It was integrated then by the Co-ordinating and Transitory Provisions (R.D. of 28 May 1931, No. 601) and amended by various legislative measures, among which those introduced (above all in the period between 1975 and 1987) for combating terrorism, subversive activities, and the various forms of organised crime are worth special mention. Specific amendments were brought about by the Constitutional Court, in conformity with its recognised powers within the Italian legal order. The Criminal Code is a pre-eminent part of so-called “ordinary criminal law,” in consideration of the fact that most of its provisions apply to all parties indiscriminately.

Apart from the Criminal Code, we need to cite the legal system relating to prisons (Law 26 July 1975, No. 354, which substituted R.D. 18 June 1931, No. 787) from which “prison law” derives and which increasingly tends to link up to substantive and procedural criminal law.

Just as we did for the Civil Code, we would like to draw attention here to the publication—within the series of Hypertext Codes by UTET of Turin—of the hypertext Criminal Code edited by M. Ronco and S. Ardizzone, who have, in turn co-ordinated a large group of professors, attorneys, and judges. The paper-based work, to which the CD-ROM is appended, is structured as a commentary, in the sense that article-by-article it offers a very strict and in-depth analysis of the legislative provisions, taking into due consideration the contributions of greatest interest found in the most important legal authority and case law on questions of law and on the merits. On the CD-ROM, it is possible to display through hypertext tools all the massime (case law abstracts) of the cited cases and all the legislative references inserted in the comment. In this way, it is easy to carry out an entire series of searches, which also enable the work to be consulted in a transversal way. For a concise update on this vast subject see L. Alibrandi, P. Corso, “Codice penale e di procedura penale e leggi complementari”, La Tribuna, Piacenza, 2021.

6.1.2. Special (or Complementary) Criminal Law

Among the many other sources which give life to so-called Diritto penale special [special criminal law or complementary criminal law], in the broad sense understood as Criminal Law only applicable to some categories of parties because of their legal capacity or condition in which they are found, the following should be noted:

6.1.3. Other Criminal Laws

Among the numerous laws in which criminal regulations can be found, apart from the Civil Code itself, we shall only mention the Royal Decrees 14 December 1933, No. 1669, 21 December 1933, No. 1736, 15 December 1990, No. 386 (on promissory notes, cheques, etc.), the R.D. 16 March 1942, n, 267 (on bankruptcy), which constitute the sources of so-called “commercial criminal law”; the Code of Navigation (R.D. 31 January 1941, No. 327); the Consolidated Law on Customs (D.P.R. 23 January 1973, No. 43); the Law on Hunting of 5 June 1939, No. 1016 (amended by Law 2 August 1967, No. 799); the Law on Fishing of 8 October 1931, No. 1604; the Consolidated Law on Public Health (27 July 1934, No. 1265); the Law on the Press of 9 February 1948, No. 47; the D.P.R. 9 October 1990, No. 309, on drugs; Law 20 February 1958, No. 75, on prostitution; Law 2 December 1967, No. 895, and Law 18 April 1975, No. 110, on arms; Law 9 October 1967, No. 962, on genocide; the Law on corporate and authorities criminal liability (D.Lgs. No. 231 of 2001); the Law on corporate crimes (D.Lgs. No. 61 of 2002); the so-called “Anti-Mafia Code” (D. Lgs. No. 159 of 2011); the recent Laws of depenalization (D. Lgs. No. 7 and No. 8 of 2016), as well as the Laws on social insurance, on health and safety at work, on consumer protection, on pollution, on the termination of pregnancy, on urban planning, on taxation, on secret societies, etc.

Journals: Within the sphere of criminal law case law and legal authority, we shall only point out here some of the main Italian journals dealing specifically with the subject matter, noting that many of them take into consideration not only case law and legal authority, but also legislation on the matter. The bimonthly journal Archivio della nuova procedura penale (La Tribuna, Piacenza) covers both legislation and case law and legal authority, not only within procedural criminal law but also substantive criminal law, criminological sciences and forensic medicine; Archivio penale (ESI - Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Naples), during the 50 years of its existence (1948-1998), as a “quarterly publication on special and comparative criminal law, procedure and legislation” has also had as its object the analysis of both legislation and case law and legal authority relating to the matters indicated here. The monthly journal Diritto penale e processo (IPSOA, Milan), the monthly journal La Giustizia penale (Rome), the journal L’Indice penale (CEDAM, Padua) published every four months, the Rivista penale (monthly, La Tribuna, Piacenza), the Rivista penale dell’economia (quarterly, E.S.I. - Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Naples) and the Rivista trimestrale di diritto penale dell’economia (CEDAM, Padua) have the same type of coverage.

The monthly journal Cassazione penale (Giuffré, Milan), the quarterly journal Critica penale (Panozzo Editore, Rimini) and the Rivista italiana di diritto e procedura penale (quarterly; Giuffré, Milan) also contain legal authority and case law on substantive and procedural criminal law, as well as criminological sciences and forensic medicine. The journal La Legislazione penale (UTET, Turin), instead, deals with legal authority and legislation, but not with case law.

The following journals have an even more specific thematic approach, within the sphere of criminal law materials: the journal Rassegna penitenziaria e criminologica (Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Rome), the Rivista di polizia (published monthly by the publishing house Aracne Editrice - Rome, it deals with legal authority, legislation and case law, within the field of criminal law, criminological sciences, forensic medicine and administrative law) and the Rivista giuridica di polizia (bimonthly, Maggioli, Rimini).

Handbooks: Among the most recent and authoritative handbooks on criminal law, we shall only mention the following here: R. Garofoli, Manuale di diritto penale, Giuffré, Milan, 2006; F. Antolisei, L. Conti, Istituzioni di diritto penale, Giuffré, Milan, 2000; F. Antolisei, Manuale di diritto penale, Parte generale (revised by L. Conti), Giuffré, Milan, 2003; Id., Manuale di diritto penale, Parte speciale I (edited by L. Conti), Giuffré, Milan, 2002; Id., Manuale di diritto penale, Parte speciale II (edited by L. Conti), Giuffré, Milan, 2003; A. Pagliaro, G. Tranchino, Istituzioni di diritto e procedura penale, Giuffré, Milan, 2000; G. Marinucci, E. Dolcini, Manuale di diritto penale, Giuffré, Milan, 2015; P. Tonini, Manuale di Procedura penale, Giuffré, Milan, 2016; F. Mantovani, Diritto penale. Parte generale, CEDAM, Padua, 2015; D. Pulitanò, Diritto penale, Giappichelli, Turin, 2009; G. Fiandaca, E. Musco, Diritto penale. Parte generale, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2014. Among the most recent works we can mention "Manuale di diritto penale, Parte generale e speciale" by R. Garofoli (Edizioni "NelDiritto", 2020).

7. Criminal Law Trial

The sources of the Italian Criminal Trial are essentially three:

8. Resources on the Web

8.1. Search Engines

Cicerone: proposed by the journal/portal Diritto e Diritti, in its first version it was a sui generis tool, because, while defining itself as a search engine, it did not allow the user to search by terms but only by the document references; furthermore, it did not act autonomously (that is, on its own index) but on the indexes constructed by other search engines to which it addressed the suitably adapted search string, then gathering the results. In other words, it behaved like an intermediary between users and the real search engines. Subsequently, the Journal created a new version which constituted a proper search engine. Cicerone is worth remembering because it is one of the few private search engines which are available free of charge within the legal domain.

The old version’s interface allows a simple and intuitive query of legal documents (acts, administrative orders, sentences, decrees), using four of the most important international search engines, Altavista, Arianna, Infoseek, and MetaCrawler. In the new version of “Cicerone”, the query is a free text one; the user can look for more terms connected by the Boolean operators simultaneously. The result will be a list of the websites which include the searched terms in a legal context. The search can relate to statutes, decrees, and judgments in both Italian and French Law. In particular, for Italian law it is possible to search for Collective Labour Agreements. Currently, however, this search engine is not working and the links that appear on the homepage are disabled.

Diritto Pratico: this search engine is programmed to filter and limit the search to the best Italian legal sites.

FindLaw: Since its inception in 1996, this portal has aimed to make the law accessible and understandable to all; it contains a wide range of information and free legal tools, updated and easily understandable. It also offers a highly curated and comprehensive lawyer directory. Each month, more than 11 million people visit FindLaw.com looking for in-depth articles, news, case law and statutes on a wide variety of legal topics and practice areas.

Infoleges: Infoleges is much more than a “legislative meta-search engine,” as it’s defined. It’s truly a huge online legal database. It holds billions of documents concerning EU’s legislation, State and Regional legislation, and even EU and Italian jurisprudence and collective contracts. A section is specifically dedicated to Italian legal literature. Infoleges is realized in cooperation with ITTIG (Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell'Informazione Giuridica, scientific partner) and Be Smart (IT company, tecnical partner). The project involves the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri (Presidency of the Council of Ministers), the Libraries of Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies) and Senato (Republic Senate), the Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato (Italian Antitrust Authority), almost fifty Italian Universities and F.A.O. Italian Legal Office. It’s a very important search engine, which is basically realized for Universities and Public Administrations.

IusReporter.it: this is a legal search engine on Google, in operation since 2001, that specializes in new technology law and privacy, civil mediation and other ADRs.

IusSearch: IusSearch is based on Google’s “Personalized Search” system. Its goal is to allow the user to find documents, information, and legal content on the web. The legal sources and websites are strictly selected. IusSearch gives the opportunity to use further search engines realized in the same project: IusSearch Tribunali, IusSearch Consumatori and IusSearch Quotidiani. Links to the main sites of judicial auctions are also available. In the IusSearch menu, Google Books and Google News specific search engines were integrated.

IusSeek: IusSeek.eu, IusOnDemand.com e RicercaGiuridica.com are websites coordinated to offer a series of integrated services to the user. IusSeek was born in 1999 to find law contents on the web. It was born on the experience of “Cornucopia Bbs” of Valentino Spataro. Since then, various versions have followed, leading to solutions, such as radiotape.com and amministrativo.it. IusSeek was taken off the web a few years ago after it was found to be plundered by Asian spiders looking for categorized content. It didn't profile users and returned searches in reverse chronological order. It would remove emails it found. It was free and didn't profile visitors. Today, IusSeek has gone offline on a local IusOnDemand server for internal searches. It's still great for finding topic news. It's been maintenance-free since at least 2005 and continues to learn by categorizing the content it finds (currently, we would say assisted artificial intelligence).

The original website, one of the main portals for lawyers, defines itself as “a legal newspaper, search engine and portal, but - above all - a community.” Created by “IusOnDemand” it is furnished with various and sophisticated tools for research, amongst which a search engine with a proprietary database, exclusively dedicated to the law.

With reference to the different branches of the law the user finds “Segnalazioni,” “Documenti,” and “Servizi.” In the Segnalazioni section there are indications, news, and recommendations, in particular regarding civil, criminal, administrative, insurance, and fiscal law. Documenti contains: a) “Leggi” (“Laws”), including Leggi scelte” (“Selected Laws”); b) Libri” (“Books”), i.e. book reports with description, table of contents, summary and price; c) “Sentenze” (decisions of the Constitutional Court and of the Court of Cassation, besides selected Court Decisions; d) Codici” (“Law Codes”) containing Cultural Assets Code, Insurances Code, Civil Code, Consumer Code, Communications Code, Industrial Property Code, Code of the Road, Privacy Code, Bankruptcy Code, Consolidated Act on IVA - Tax on Value-Added. Servizi innovativi includes new technologies for legal information distribution: eBooks, search engine for news in Internet, newsagent, interactive digital television, mobile phone, podcasting, intelligent tools for online legal information retrieval, personal notes sharing, electronic documents tagging.

Moreover, the “Community” section contains: a) Commenti” (comments and newsletters on sentences and legal questions of general interest); b) “Forum” (managed by lawyers for lawyers and citizens: experts present their considerations with regard to legal matters of generale character); c) “Selected Links” (a large number, subdivided by subject matter and type (around 50 categories of websites, relating to environmental law, civil law, criminal law, administrative law, insurance law, fiscal law, public institutions, private citizens, courts, court decisions, laws, law journals, law libraries, lawyers, search engines, etc.); d) “Mailing List” (only for specialists in civil law).

Inside the website the user can search numerous databases, free of charge and with fee (court decisions, laws, decisions of the Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation, law codes, official journals, and databases on administrative law, insurance law, fiscal law, and internet law). Finally, it is possible to take advantage of specialized services corresponding to personal needs and to ask that specific software products are developed (a dictionary of internet terms is also available).

RicercaGiuridica (Legal Research): This website constitutes a free guide to legal research on the web. It includes, in addition to the main up-to-date codes, about 50,000 sentences: legal decisions in full text, extracts from decisions of the Court of Cassation, decisions of the Constitutional Court in full text. Official Gazettes and lists of legal websites are also available.

Scireleges: Created by Giuseppe Corasaniti (Legal Informatics Laboratory – Informatics Department, Università “La Sapienza,” Rome), it allows an easy and intuitive query of open legal web resources. The user can use words or numerical references, connected by the Boolean logic operators, and is therefore able to subsequently refine his search through very intuitive "channels” focused on Italian websites of legal interest. The engine improves with the consultations of users.

Specialized Search Engines: Those include, for example, Penale.it (specifically realized for criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal practice); Ricerca-Amministrativa.it (administrative law); DirittodAutore.it (legislation, judgments, and every kind of legal information about copyright law).

8.2. Research Guides

Law web guides are principally consultation tools. Many of institutional sites and online reviews contain them. Below we limit ourselves to cite some examples.

Guida al Diritto (Guide to the Law): Linked to the newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore”—an Italian political, economic, and financial newspaper founded in 1885—constitutes a complete legal information system in print and online. It deals with all the major branches of the Italian Law by providing news, articles, judgments, documentation, databases, forms, tools, and services (including the calculation of the biological damage and the full text of judgments). The homepage reports topics in the foreground of civil, criminal, community, and international law, as the subject of legislative activity, jurisprudence, or practice. In addition, from the homepage you can access the alphabetical index of the topics examined in the individual numbers of the guide.

Diritto Italia (Italy Law): Realized by the Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica (ITTIG) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Diritto Italia is a database which identifies references to materials and information of legal and administrative interest, existing on Italian websites. The database, last updated in November 2002, is organized in documentary units corresponding to the individual types of material taken into consideration; as a result, each site may appear in more than one survey form according to the richness of the documentation possessed. The survey form contains a lot of information in order to orient the user in retrieving the data he/she is interested in. The information relates to providers, access (free-of-charge or for a fee), the type of material (laws, jurisprudence, legal literature, etc.), the ambit (national, regional, European community, etc.), the documentary unit (full text, references, etc.), the manner in which the data is presented (list, database), whether there is a search engine or not, and the date of the survey.

Three solutions have been prepared for those wishing to carry out a search:

Diritto Italia represents an example of methodology. Actually the Diritto Italia database is not up to date; in fact, the principal purpose of the project was to provide a model of document research and retrieval on the web, hoping that other operators go on with this kind of enterprise. It is right to point out that the updating of these guides is crucial for their efficiency since URLs and contents of the websites continually change, while the cooperation process, that is at the base of the Web philosophy, is still now disregarded.

Documentazione di Fonte Pubblica in Rete (DFP – “Public Source Documentation on the Web”): is a very reliable guide, developed by the Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB – Italian Libraries Association) with the objective of providing a support for Italian librarians and documentalists, so they would be able to orient themselves in identifying public information available on the web. DFP is a structured list of Italian internet resources, which makes public information available, focusing special attention on legislative information and legal information in general; it is also integrated with the discussion list of the Italian AIB-CUR (Italian Libraries AssociationResearch University Center) librarians, in the sense that it gathers reports transmitted on that list.

The DFP is a very selective directory that points out websites but, above all, resources that often are not in evidence in the HomePage of the public sites. DFP is organized in three sectors:

In particular, the DFP tends to highlight aggregation points of resources already online; relevant databanks, above all when hidden inside the websites (administrative acts, procedures, projects, statistical data, organization charts, etc.); online journals of information and updating inside the public sites; set of documents produced by various corporate bodies; newsletters of information and updating for glossaries users, guides to the online search in specific sectors; single documents of remarkable and enduring interest; websites that have a very strong character of “best practice.”

Like search engines or directories, portals appear, from a certain point of view, to be in contradiction with the philosophy of the internet. Their objective is, in fact, to structure and to give a hierarchy to information in a world characterized by nets and a horizontal nature.

In fact, it is not very easy to give an exhaustive definition to a term which is currently much abused and which includes sites with very different features under the same label.[1] The closest definition we have been able to find is the following: “a portal is an online editorial product which plays the role of a preferential access point to the Web for users and which provides them with the information resources, personal communication services and tools with which to localize and reach the online contents and services they commonly need.”[2]

Portals are generally divided into two large sub-classes:

By adopting an arbitrary but currently used nomenclature, we cite the following typical terms and expressions:

8.4. Institutional Portals

Linea Amica (“Friend Line"): The Public Administration at the service of the citizen. The Linea Amica portal offers the citizen a point of contact with the Public Administration, while at the same time providing a valid support tool and a basic knowledge base. This goal is pursued by ensuring a high level of usability (easy navigation within the portal and quick retrieval of the requested information) and accessibility (both in terms of structure and content, in compliance with Law No. 4/2004). In the home page of the website, edited by the Department of Public Function (a structure within the Presidency of the Council of Ministers), we will find the logo of the Linea Amica portal and a window for searching information within it. A complete restructuring of the portal is underway.

Soon there will be many online services for citizens, but currently you can only consult the news from time to time, obtain information on the discipline concerning the obligations publicity, transparency and dissemination of information by Public Administrations and access to thematic focuses curated by Formez P.A. (Centre for services, assistance, studies and training for the modernization of P.A., established as a recognized association with legal personality of private law, in house at the Presidency of the Council –Department of Public Administration and associated Administrations). News that are considered relevant for a continuous updating of the citizen are provided through various channels, such as Textual News and Radio “Pubblica Amministrazione amica.”

Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale: The Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (Agency for Digital Italy - AgID) is an Italian public agency set up by the Monti Government. It is subject to the powers and responsibilities of the Prime Minister or of the minister he delegates and is responsible for ensuring the achievement of the objectives of the Italian Digital Agenda in coherence with the European Digital Agenda. It carries out the functions assigned to it by law in order to pursue the highest level of technological innovation in the organization and development of Public Administration at the service of citizens and companies, respecting the principles of legality, impartiality, and transparency and adopting efficiency, economy, and effectiveness criteria.

The Agency incorporates and inherits the competences previously assigned to the Agenzia per la diffusione delle tecnologie per l'innovazione (Innovation Technology Dissemination Agency), DigitPA and the Dipartimento per l'innovazione tecnologica (Technology Innovation Department) of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. According to the Statute, which was approved in February 2014, the Agency's aims are: a) to ensure ICT coordination of State, regional, and local administration with the aim of designing and monitoring the strategic evolution of the Public Administration information system; b) to pursue the optimization of public expenditure in computer science by monitoring current expenditure and supporting public, national and local administrations; c) to carry out the tasks necessary to fulfill the international obligations assumed by the State in the matters of its competence; d) to promote digital innovation in the country and contribute to the creation of new knowledges and to the dissemination of new economic, cultural and social development opportunities, by collaborating with European, national and regional institutions with similar aims, and by stipulating strategic agreements; e) to issue guidelines, regulations and standards; F) to promote computer literacy initiatives for citizens.

In summary, AgID has the task of coordinating public administrations in the implementation of the Three-Year Plan for information technology in Public Administration. AgID supports digital innovation and promotes the dissemination of digital skills, also in collaboration with international, national, and local institutions and bodies. In particular, AgID is working to implement the Public Administration Catalog of Services. This catalog will document all services of the administrations to increase the potential of information and communication technologies in the relation between P.A., citizens and companies. SPID (Public Digital Identity System) was implemented to access such services. This is a new log in the system that allows citizens and companies to access by means of a single digital identity, from multiple devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) to all online services of Public Administrations and adherent companies. With SPID, the dozens of passwords, keys, and codes that are currently in use will no longer be needed. The SPID identity consists of credentials with different characteristics depending on the security level required for access.

8.4.1. Private Initiative Portals

Altalex – quotidiano di informazione giuridica: Altalex was founded in 2000 as a Telematic Legal Review, and in a few years it became a dynamic and efficient place to keep up to date in the world of law and taxation. Today Altalex is the first legal daily newspaper on the Italian web where every month 1.7 million readers make 3 million visits, reading over 7 million pages. Altalex is made up of an editorial staff assisted by over 100 legal experts who guarantee simple, timely, correct, and impartial information.

Diritto dei Sevizi pubblici: This magazine was founded in 2001, with the aim of ensuring to institutions, economic operators, and users a constant and in-depth update on issues related to the field of local public services according to the open content model.

Diritto.net: This portal is divided into several thematic areas: Initiatives and Petitions, Polls, Library, Network and Guides. Responding to the needs of its ever-increasing number of users, the site has evolved from a simple “collection of links,” first to a “search engine specializing in legal sites,” then to a “registered newspaper” with a daily press review and an annotated collection of thousands of articles submitted by legal professionals. Currently, the site's curators and editors are working on a new editorial project in which current legal issues are dealt with by directly involving experts in the field, in a concise, practical format, open to readers' contributions and questions. This is a project of “participatory legal information” in which the most topical legal issues will be dealt with by experts in the individual disciplines.

Dirittosuweb.com: This portal features “Insights” (legal literature articles of comment to statutes and judgments) and lists of websites organized by subject, with reference not only to the major branches of law (civil, criminal, administrative, international), but also to specific issues of copyright and internet law. Inside the Portal, an online consultancy service and a newsletter are also available. In particular, a consultancy service is provided for the filing and protection of an industrial patent or trademark at the national, community, or international level.

E Ius: Portal for jurisprudence, articles, news.

FiloDiritto: A daily newspaper of legal information, law, culture, society, custom, politics. Created in 2001, this is one of the most recent sites in the legal domain. It is very rich, well organized, and useful not only to the lawyer but also to the citizen. The simplicity of its interface increases its appeal.

This website, one of the best Italian legal web resources, has seen modification in graphics and content. The homepage is categorized into current events, scientific journals, front page articles, annotated codes (Criminal Code, Code of Administrative Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, Legislative Decree 231/2001 - regulations governing the administrative liability of legal persons, companies and associations, including those without legal personality, pursuant to article 11 of Law no. 300 of 29 September 2000), culture pages, books, costume and society, proceedings, science and technology, videos, most consulted articles of the day. The site also offers “Academy” (Webinar, Courses, and Seminars), journals, codes, and a newsletter. Relevant tags and related legal materials are indicated for each video. From the homepage it is possible to register for the newsletter, subscribe to the website, and acquire information about the Website Editorial Staff, Scientific Committee, Authors, Photographers, and Partners.

Giurisprudenza.it: This portal contains the Civil Code and the Criminal Code (available without limitation), the list of Italian courts, universities with degree courses related to the field, aims to census the judgments issued by various courts (available free of charge to visitors of the portal), accompanied and enriched by the comments of professionals.

Piazze.it: Il Portale dei Comuni Italiani (The Portal of Italian Municipalities) is the portal of all Italian Municipalities. It deals with institutions, culture, sports, entertainment, work, transport, useful information data, statistics, details. The site contains, in addition, maps of Municipalities, reporting of services available in the areas considered, the most relevant information on the individual Regions of Italy.

8.4.2. Specialized and Thematic Portals

Diritto Civile (Civil Law)
Giustizia civile.com: The website deals with family and successions, real rights and condominium, obligations and contracts, damage and liability, work, society and competition. enterprise crisis, bank finance and insurance, arbitration and civil process, subjects and new technologies, European Union and human rights.

Diritto & Famiglia (Law and Family)
Among the Thematic Portals of the publishing house Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre can be mentioned here: Il Familiarista (Family Law), Condominio e Locazione (Condominium and Lease), RiDaRe (Compensation for Damage and Civil Liability), Il Processo civile (Civil Process).

Diritto Assicurativo (Insurance Law)
Assicurativo.it (Legislazione, Giurisprudenza, Dizionario)

Diritto d’Autore (Copyright Law)
Dirittodautore.it contains some relevant databases relating to legislation, case law, and legal authority on copyright. Documentation is only in part freely accessible; some sources can be accessed only on charge. No multilanguage version is available.

Il Processo civile telematico - PCT

Diritto Penale (Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Practice)
Penale.it contains specific legal information relating Criminal Law. Browsing functionalities are reinforced by a classification schema allowing to search into the website watching from a specific area of criminal law. Legal documentation includes legislation, case-law, legal authority, and comments.

Sistema Penale (SP) is an online journal, updated daily and with free access, published since November 18, 2019. The project was developed by a large group of university professors and magistrates to constitute and animate a space open to reflection and scientific debate on issues related to law and criminal justice: the 'criminal system,' that is, understood in the broad sense as a reality that embraces different phenomena, activities, bodies of law, and places. Sistema Penale (SP) is part of a larger scientific and cultural project, carried out by the Association Progetto gustizia penale, which has established a network of journals and blogs on criminal justice issues. In particular, Sistema Penale is flanked by Diritto penale contemporaneo—a quarterly journal published since 2011 and ended in 2019.

Diritto penale contemporaneo (Archivio): The Contemporary Criminal Law Archive collects all contributions published by the Contemporary Criminal Law Review (CPD) from 2010 to 2019. The archive, owned by the Associazione Diritto Penale e Condizione Umana (Association for Criminal Law and Human Condition), former publisher of the magazine Diritto Penale e Uomo (DPU), is made available to all those who still intend to make use of the material published during the ten-year life of DPC for study and research purposes. The network is completed, on the international side, by the Criminal Justice Network International Forum on Criminal Justice, whose blog launched in 2018 with the intention to host short posts or contributions on current criminal justice issues of supranational interest.

Giurisprudenza penale: the aim of the review is to represent a valid instrument for professional updating, where the immediacy of the news is accompanied by the essential deepening of the contributions offered to the readers. Therefore, inside this review, the reader can find different types of contributions, from “real time” information on the most recent jurisprudential measures to the most careful analysis characterized by a critical spirit and scientific rigor.

Il Penalista: Portale tematico della Csa editrice Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre.

Diritto Amministrativo (Administrative Law)
Amministrazione in cammino: Promoted and edited by the Research Center on Public Administration Vittorio Bachelet, Amministrazione in cammino is a training and experimental laboratory for young scholars and researchers working in Public Law, Economic Law and Administrative Science, even with different scientific approaches, in Universities and Research Centers.

Rivista Amministrativa della Repubblica Italiana contains articles of doctrine, notes and observations on the most significant sentences, jurisprudential pronouncements of the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, the Superior Court of Public Waters, the Council of State, the Regional Administrative Courts, and the Court of Auditors.

Giustizia Amministrativa (Administrative Justice): The institutional site of the Administrative Justice by the General Secretariat of the G.A. It offers free access to the decisions of the Council of State and Regional Administrative Courts.

Ricerca-Amministrativa.it: news, doctrine, regulations and jurisprudence in the field of administrative law.

Diritto dei servizi pubblici: legislation, jurisprudence, articles, and a search engine on administrative law.

Avvocati Amministrativisti: The site of the association contains articles of doctrine and collections of case law with particular attention to the decisions of the Regional Administrative Court of Latina.

101 Professionisti: The administrative law section of the portal, “101 professionals,” contains in-depth information on administrative law (regulations, case law, and utilities).

The Rivista Amministrativa della Repubblica Italiana is a journal on administrative law. It contains articles of legal literature, notes and observations on the most significant judgments of the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, the Superior Court of the Public Waters, the Council of the State, the Regional Administrative Courts, the Court of Auditors, a review of the suspension ordinances of the State Council and a last section devoted to the State, Regional and Community legislative production.

Il Diritto Amministrativo: Judicial insights, studies, topics and debates, news.

Espropri online contains on relevant sources of legal information such as legislation, case law, legal authority, practice, and news.

L’Amministrativista: thematic portals.

Il Processo amministrativo telematico - PAT

Diritto Ambientale (Environmental Law)
AmbienteDiritto.it: This website contains a very specialized database on environmental law. Legislation at European, national, and local level is considered together with case-law and legal doctrine. Classification schemas, organized in categories (relevant concepts in environmental law), facilitate browsing and searching by the user of both the jurisprudence and the legislation.

Ambiente.it: The Ambiente.it firm is committed to the realization and supply of environmental management software, with specialization in the waste sector. The activities carried out, in addition to the realization of specialized software, include consulting, training and professional information.

Tutto Ambiente: Tutto Ambiente was born in 1999 as a website specialized in law and environmental management. The activity is carried out in three areas: training, consulting, and publishing.

Lexambiente: Legal review edited by Luca Ramacci.

CDCACentro Documentazione Conflitti Ambientali (Environmental Conflicts Documentation Center) and SINAnetRete del Sistema Informativo Nazionale Ambientale (National Environmental Information System).

Legalinet.it: Territory, politics and environment, environmental law.

Diritto urbanistico, Diritto marittimo e dei trasporti (Urban Planning Law, Maritime and Transport Law)
Diritto e Progetti (Law and Projects): Diritto e Progetti is an online specialized magazine where qualified information on urban planning, public procurement and environment can be consulted. Thematic legislation, case-law and legal authority can be browsed by using a specific search engine user oriented with search facilities. Consultation of the wide-ranging documentation is facilitated by the existence of a keyword index.

Diritto della navigazione e dei trasporti (Maritime and Transport Law): The Fog.it system on maritime, air, and transport law is a website where International Uniform Transport Law, Italian Maritime, Air and Transport Law Cases, Transport Law Revue (Rivista "Diritto dei Trasporti"), and the Aviation & Maritime Journal can be consulted. A search engine allows users to search inside the website as well as in the web. The site can be accessed in English, and relevant international legal texts are also available in English.

Diritto dell’Economia (Economic Law)
IusImpresaOsservatorio bibliografico del Diritto dell’economia (Bibliographical Observatory of Economics Law) is a bibliographical observatory on the world of the economy, which can be searched in six languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese). Its objective is to offer a rapid, complete, and user-friendly tool which, on the basis of a selection made at the source, provides (with updating made possible through the availability of the material) the bibliographical details of legal literature regarding the Law of Economics, published since January 2001. Three types of searches are available: basic search, advanced search, and keyword search; moreover, it is possible to search the case notes. The main idea is to realize a “transversal collection” of legal and technical data in order to monitor the many “branches” of the law (civil, administrative, banking, labour, commercial, criminal, European Community, etc.). Not only the section dedicated to news is interesting, but also the section regarding books, which—thanks to the publishing house’s permission—enables users to browse summaries and tables of contents.

Diritto Bancario (Banking Law)
Diritto Bancario offers Insights, Legislation, Case Law, Specialized Journals articles, Conference news and a “Review of legal literature and commented jurisprudence,” realized by Diritto Bancario with IusImpresa (Bibliographic Observatory of Economics Law).

Ditto commerciale, fiscale e tributario (Commercial Law, Fiscal Law, Tax Law)
Il Commercialista telematico (online accountant) is a website where a very interesting selection of the most important Italian legal literature and case-law in the fields of commercial law, labour law, balance sheet and accounting, local tax, and direct and indirect taxes can be consulted. No multilanguage version is available.

Il Societario: Portale tematico della Casa editrice Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre.

Fisco e Tasse: In the NORME section, this website includes Circulars and Resolutions, Codes and Consolidated Laws, Draft Laws, Laws and Decrees, Jurisprudence, Legal Measures, etc. Other areas of the site relate to tax news and deadlines.

TAX & Lex contains a rich collection of legislation, case law and legal doctrine in the field of tax law.

Il Tributario: Portale tematico della Casa editrice Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre.

Il Fallimentarista: Portale tematico della Casa editrice Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre.

Diritto del lavoro (Labour Law)
DL online: The DL is a telematic journal of Labour Law wich collects research and consultation tools that are useful not only to professionals (lawyers, magistrates, business consultants, corporate law firms, staff offices), but also for anyone look for answers for his work problem. The system considers legislation, case law, and comments from legal authority. A classification schema of the relevant concepts of labour law facilitates browsing and searching by the user. No multilanguage version is available.

Lavoro & Previdenza (Work and Welfare): Assistance, Sports work, Equal opportunities, Work and immigration, Military work

Il Giuslavorista: Portale tematico della Casa editrice Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre.

The following can be listed among the typically specialized journals:

8.6. Law Libraries

Many libraries, especially if they are of considerable importance, like university libraries, have transformed their catalogues into databases, usually making them available to the user free of charge. These catalogues fall into the category of OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogues). OPACs represent a valuable source of information, enabling the user to retrieve information from his/her computer and allowing him/her to identify where the volumes can be found quickly and in more than one library. There are now also groups of these under the same organization which has created collective catalogues or MetaOPACs. For a full search on the OPACs and MetaOPACs we suggest:

The Associazione Italiana Biblioteche is part of the UNI Information and Documentation Commission, within which it contributes, through its representatives, to the definition of qualification standards for the library profession and library services. Divided into central organs and structures and regional sections, AIB works on a voluntary and personal basis for the qualification and continuous updating of librarians, for the development of libraries as a fundamental service in the information society, for the diffusion and coordination of library services, for the promotion of reading and access to knowledge, for the development of modern professional tools on everything related to libraries and information services in the digital environment, for the enhancement of professionalism in the field, for inter-library and inter-institutional cooperation.

8.7. Institutional Information Systems and Databases

8.7.1. The “Normattiva” (Italian Legislation on the Net) Project

The “Norme In Rete” – NIR (Italian Legislation on the Net) Portal, the major institutional portal for Italian and community legislation, has been replaced by Normattiva.it. The Normattiva project is based on the use of innovative information technologies aimed at providing a reliable, free, and complete information service on Italian laws, in this way implementing Article 107 of Law no. 388 of 2000. The initiative falls within the framework of the reform of the Italian Public Administration, aimed at guaranteeing transparency and simplification in its relationship with citizens. Since March 2010, the release date for free and open consultation, the database was progressively fed and updated in “multivalidity” mode with the entire Republican legislative body published from 1946 to today, and with the body of law of the Monarchical era, published from 1936 to 1945. It is also possible to consult, in original version, the normative acts published in the Official Gazette from 1933 to 1935. Currently, Normattiva is a text database in which are stored all the numbered State regulatory acts published in the Official Gazette from 1861 to the present.

The database includes primary and secondary legislation, together with circulars and some relevant administrative orders. During 2020 it was possible to achieve the convergence of the databases of regional/provincial laws in the portal Normattiva, implementing the Regional Federated Engine, a single point of access to the entire regional legislative heritage, updated daily with new legislation issued by the individual regions and autonomous provinces participating in the initiative.

At the same time, several improvements were made to the consultation system in order to make it easier

and easier to use than the first released version. Two search options are given to the user: “simple search” and “advanced search.” The former allows users to search for legislation by indicating the following information: day, month, year, number, words in the title and/or text. By selecting this option user can search the documents in the database and display the full text or part of the text (section or articles) in the version applicable at the date of consultation. The “advanced search” enables more complex queries allowing the user to utilize his/her specific legal knowledge indicating day, month, year, number, type of act (laws, decrees, and regulations), words in the title, and words in the text and publication period.

The database is continuously updated, and the project is still in progress. In the near future the user will be able to carry on conceptual retrieval and to search for legislation by utilizing the descriptors of EuroVoc, a multilingual thesaurus maintained by the Publications Office of the European Union. In a logic of growing coordination and convergence of all institutions, the website is the central nucleus around which the unified service/portal for legislative information available to citizens will be built over the next few years.

The following is a list of the main databases relevant to Italian legislation:

8.7.2. The Suprema Corte di Cassazione (Supreme Court of Cassation) Databases

The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation was a pioneer in the sector: with its Centro Elettronico di Documentazione (CED, Electronic Centre of Documentation) it created for the first time a system that can be evaluated as the best, on a European level and even on a global level, for the mass of documentation and for the features of its information retrieval system. The service was already activated in the early 1970s, but only for a limited number of courts. From 1980 onwards there was a gradual incrementation and consolidation of the system and definition of the access modes, provided free-of-charge for the Central Administrations and against payment for other user groups.

Access to the consultation of the databases is regulated by law (D.P.R. 21 May 1981, No. 322, modified by D.P.R. No. 759/1985; D.P.R. No. 195/2004; D.P.R. No. 7/2006). The new documentary retrieval system in the database of the Supreme Court, ItalgiureWeb, has become available on the internet.

The system can be used as any other website. However, at present, the possibility of consulting the system is reserved only for those categories of users who are granted the right to connect free of charge; it will become more accessible through a gradual release, organized by categories. Moreover, only for a few years you can consult all the civil and criminal judgments of the Court of Cassation free of charge. The service is free, does not require any registration, and is accessible to everyone at the Court of Cassation website. The search can be done according to three specific criteria: a) by number and year of the measure; b) by keywords; c) by regulatory references. After the search, you can get the PDF file of the judicial measure by clicking on the title of the result; by clicking on the description below the title, you get instead the textual copy of the sentence. The site is also accessible from smartphones or tablets, although a mobile friendly version is not yet available.

In particular, in the field of European Community legislation we have EURLEX: Documentation relating to European Union regulatory texts (Treaties, Regulations and Directives), drawn from the EU CELEX archive. The documents are indexed and redrafted in order to become compatible with the Italgiure System.

In the field of national and regional legislation there are:

In the field of national and Community jurisprudence there are:

As far as the jurisprudence of the courts of merit is concerned, we will confine ourselves to signal the website LeSentenze.it. Through this site, it is possible to search the judgments of the various Italian Civil Courts by selecting the Forum and indicating the keywords relating to the topics of interest.

The following is a list of the main databases relating to Italian jurisprudence

Ministerial circulars databases include:

National legal authority databases include:

Utility databases include:

Created by the ITTIG (which became the IGSG – Institute of Legal Informatics and Judicial Systems as of June 1, 2019), DoGi (Dottrina Giuridica: abstracts of Italian legal articles) is a database of bibliographic references of articles published in Italian law journals. For each article analyzed, the DoGi document offers the bibliographic information enriched by: summary of the article; one or more entries taken from the DoGi classification scheme of legal subjects; a selection of references of the normative and jurisprudential sources cited in the article; metadata to describe further significant features of the article; link to the full text of the article when available online. Currently, the archives contain 476,836 documents in total.

This Guide to Italian Legal Authority is one of the tools that have been experienced at the ITTIG. The aim of the project was to give unified access to material relating to legal literature distributed on the Web by different, public or private, institutional, scientific and commercial organizations in order to provide a series of specialist services (forums, distribution of documents, data interchange, etc.); it was also to create the maximum integration with the other national and international initiatives in existence, both legal initiatives, directed towards different documentary types, and those on a more general level (for example, the “Dafne” Project for academic-scientific literature). The Guide, updated only until 2002, offers:

Main web addresses for the retrieval of legal doctrine

8.7.4. Parlamento Italiano (Italian Parliament)

The official website of the Italian Parliament includes both of its Houses: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The website to be an informative resource for easy and intuitive access to the life of the parliamentary institution. Through this homepage the citizen can not only reach the sites of the Senate of the Republic and the Chamber of Deputies but can also directly consult the most relevant results of the joint activity of the two chambers, such as the laws passed, or the joint activities such as information on the Parliament in common session or on the bicameral bodies, as well as the international activity of the Italian parliamentary bodies. A specific area of the site hosts the Parliamentary Library Pole and its services, the first result of the joint effort of the two Chambers to strengthen the information and research tools available to parliamentarians and all citizens, while overcoming duplications and inefficiencies. The Constitutional Platform represents the product of a joint effort aimed at providing training support for all Italian schools.

The site contains a database of Italian normative acts of primary range (laws, law decrees and legislative decrees, starting from 1996) which can be searched in chronological order, by type and by subject matter, based on the TESEO [4] classification system. For every law number and date of publication (with the link to the corresponding text), title, subject, publication details and a summarizing table of the relative parliamentary iter (from which it is possible to access the texts of the preparatory works) are furnished. Furthermore, for the enabling acts a details table supplies the list of the single dispositions of delegation and the relative implementation decrees. The most requested laws, decrees approved but not promulgated or published, and decree laws under way to be converted in law can also be retrieved. There is also a database of legislative decrees (which implement delegated laws, EC Directives, or special Statutes) that can be searched on the server of the Chamber of Deputies through a search engine.

Of considerable interest and usefulness is also the Bibliografia del Parlamento Repubblicano (BPR). As already specified, the site of Parliament is divided into two sectors: The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies)

The Chamber’s website is structured as seven sections: Conoscere la Camera, Deputati e Organi, Lavori, Documenti, Europa, Internazionale e Comunicazione. Apart from providing information about its role, the work underway, as well as initiatives and events, the Chamber of Deputies furnishes latest news and press releases. The users of the website have direct access to various sections: Relations with Citizens, Italian Public Administration, Italian Constitution, Regulation of the Chamber, Laws and Bills, Direction and Control Action, Official Records of the Sessions, and Previous Legislatures. Especially important are the following databases: Acts of Guidance and Control, Regional Laws, Professional Databases, Not Legislative Activity, Parliamentary Debates (in uncut version), Amendments, Pollings. The database Atti di indirizzo e controllo, concerning the Parliament direction and control action, allows the data related to questions, interpellations, motions, decisions, agendas, both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, to be searched and retrieved.

In this new version, the database substitutes the earlier database, known as Sindacato ispettivo (Inspecting Parliamentary Action). The following are its characteristics: the user-friendliness and intuitive nature in the use of the database of regional laws which contains all the laws in full text of the Italian Regions and Autonomous Provinces from their constitution. The original nucleus, entirely realized by the Chamber of Deputies, was made available on the web through the joint efforts of the Chamber of Deputies, the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Regional Councils. Since 1998, the legislative texts have been directly supplied by the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces. Normative references of the laws are provided by the Supreme Court of Cassation, while the Library of the Chamber of Deputies takes care of the overall management and updating. Senato della Repubblica (Senate of the Republic)

The Senate’s website includes six sections: The Institution, Composition, Work of the Senate, Laws and Documents, News, and Relations with Citizens. Besides providing information about its role, members, work, documents, and latest news, the Senate of the Republic site provides an entire section completely dedicated to the texts which are submitted under Parliament consideration: bills, points of order, motions. Finally, of great use to the researcher are the Banche dati specialistiche managed by the Senate.

8.7.5. Governo e Ministeri (Government and Ministries)

As far as the Presidency of the Council of Ministers is concerned, we would like to point out the following sites: Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Ministri e Sottosegretari, Attuazione del Programma di Governo, CIPE - Comitato Interministeriale per la Programmazione Economica. As of January 1, 2021, the "Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning" (CIPE) has changed its name to the "Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning and Sustainable Development" (CIPESS), Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AgID), Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, Dipartimento per le Politiche della Famiglia, Dipartimento per le pari opportunità, Dipartimento per le Politiche Giovanili e il Servizio Civile Universale, Politiche Europee.

In relation to the sites of the Consiglio dei Ministri (Council of Ministers), above all it is necessary to underline that they constitute an important source of information for the legal and administrative worlds. As we have already mentioned, each Ministry has its own website, often divided into several sectors, starting with the Prime Minister’s Office (which not only provides more general information and services, but also gives news about the course of government provisions).

In nearly every case, the sites of the Ministries are presented as Portals with a variety of very important information and services. As regards the reform process, which is now operative in Italian Public Institutions, you can consider the so-called:

Ministers without portfolio (no independent financial powers):

The Ministers with portfolio are:

Among the Ministers listed below, we would like to draw particular attention to the Ministry of the Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MEF) consists of four departments: Dipartimento del Tesoro (DT); Dipartimento Ragioneria Generale dello Stato (RGS); Dipartimento Amministrazione Generale, del Personale e dei Servizi (DAG); Dipartimento delle Finanze (DF). The MEF homepage contains information on the structure and role of the ministry, and provides information about the Taxation Agencies, the CIPE, the Administration of State Monopolies, and the like, and a list of links—organized by type—to institutional sites. The DF homepage is divided into numerous sections (see G.U. No. 150, 1° July 2009). Besides press releases, dossiers on specific subjects and guides, studies and fiscal statistics, exchange rates, forms, due dates for the payment of taxation, online taxation, journals and in-depth studies, the documentation sector offers a database of taxation documentation prepared by the Centro Ricerche e Documentazione Economica e Finanziaria (CeRDEF - Economics and Finance Documentation and Research Center) containing tax legislation enacted after the reform of 1972, also prior legislation if still in force, European Community legislation, administrative practices (circulars, resolutions, press releases) produced by the Financial Administration for the interpretation and proper enforcement of the legislation, and finally the Italian and European Community Jurisprudence on taxation including the opinions of the Advisory Council for the application of the anti-evasion rules. It also offers a useful sector relating to services, including a guide to the services of the Departments, the calculation of road tax, the duplication of the Tax Code, information on taxation commissions and so on. It also contains a list of sites organized by type and a software sector on fiscal, cadastral, and customs matters.

The Ministry of Justice site is structured in ten sections regarding the ministry’s organization and functions, and the description of the basic institutional activities. The Strumenti section contains a selection of national and international legislation and recent cases, besides a map of judicial offices, flowcharts of the ministry departments and offices, applicative itineraries, and forms for the practice.

8.7.6. Tribunali e Uffici Giudiziari (Courts and Judicial Offices)

The site of the Italian Constitutional Court not only provides useful information about the offices and the judges of the Court starting from 1956, monthly reviews, press conferences, and the legislative framework of reference, but it also enables the user to search court decisions, massime (abstracts of the Court’s sentences) since 1956, and doctrinal comments. Other sections of the website include Case Law, Archive, News, International Relations, Foreign Constitutional Courts, and Relationship with Citizens.

On this matter it is, however, helpful to refer to another site, because it is more complete and managed by the same official site, namely Consulta online, co-ordinated by Pasquale Costanzo, whose database stores all the Court’s decisions and orders dating from 1999. A search may be carried out on the details of the decision, by key words or through the terms which the parties, the Court or the subject matter dealt with may refer to. The decisions are in full text. In the part dedicated to “Sources,” the legislative framework is set out and, in the part dedicated to “Research,” the user is able to participate in a public “Forum.” It should also be noted that there are many links to constitutions and constitutional courts around the world.

The Suprema Corte di Cassazione (Supreme Court of Cassation), in the current judicial system of the Italian Republic, is the court of last resort for the legitimacy of judgments issued by the ordinary judiciary. It performs the functions of a court of cassation and of a supreme court. Its jurisdiction is not limited to a particular judicial district but extends to the whole national territory. The Court's website is very comprehensive. Its seven sections cover the Court's activities, but also statistics, international relations, conference and seminar notices, online services, and the electronic process. Of particular importance for the legal researcher is the section devoted to “online services”, through which it is possible to access the Court's judgments, the large legal information systems Italgiure and Normattiva, the Portal of the Maxim’s Office of the Supreme Court, and several sites of legal importance organised by category. Information on the databases created and managed by the Supreme Court can be found in the par.

The Giustizia Amministrativa (Administrative Justice) site is devoted to the Consiglio di Stato (Council of State), the Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali (TAR, Regional Administrative Courts) and the Consiglio di Giustizia Amministrativa per la Regione Siciliana (Council of Administrative Justice for the Sicily Region). It has a database containing the decisions of the Council of State and the Regional Administrative Courts (including the Regional Court of Administrative Justice situated in Trento and the Autonomous Division for the Province of Bolzano). On this site, the user can generally find, with some exceptions, decisions published after October 2000, and the most important opinions dating from September 2000.

The sites of the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (Superior Council of Judges), the Giustizia tributaria (the taxation tribunals, Regional and Provincial Taxation Commissions), the Consiglio di Presidenza della Giustizia tributaria, the Giustizia Militare (Italian Military Justice system), the Corte dei conti (Auditor’s Court), and many peripheral judicial offices (Courts, Public Prosecutor’s Offices, Courts of Appeal) are also online. A list of the 26 Italian Courts of Appeal is available on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia site on Italy’s judicial system contains a table of the locations of the Courts of Appeal, and the relative courts (districts) are listed.

The Corte d’Assise (Assize Court) and the Corte d’Assise d’appello (Court of Assizes of appeal) are, in the Italian legal system, the jurisdictional bodies competent to judge the most serious crimes, respectively in first instance and in appeal. For the investigating magistracy the articulations are represented by the Public Prosecutor's Offices at the ordinary Courts, the Public Prosecutor's Offices at the Courts of Appeal, the District Anti-Mafia Directorates at the General Prosecutor's Offices, the General Prosecutor's Office at the Supreme Court of Cassation, the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate at the General Prosecutor's Office of the Court of Cassation.

Forze armate e Forze di polizia (Armed Forces and Police Forces)

8.7.7. Autorità Garanti (Guarantee Authorities)

Of particular importance in this sector are the sites of the independent Authorities and security and supervisory Commissions:

These sites generally set out the legislative framework of reference, provisions, recommendations, and give a wide variety of documentation.

8.7.8. Enti, Associazioni, Intituti e Organizzazioni (Bodies, Associations, Institutes and Organizations)

Below are listed only a few public bodies (ARAN, Chambers of Commerce, UnionCamere), Public Law Bodies (Bank of Italy), Constitutional Bodies (CNEL) and Public Research Bodies (ISTAT, ISPRA), non-economic Public Bodies (ACI, CONI), and subsidiaries (IPZS, ANAS).

Among the websites listed above, particular attention can be paid to the site of the ARAN and of the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato. The ARAN (Agenzia per la Rappresentanza Negoziale delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni/Agency for the negotiation of Public Administrations) offers not only events and news but also consultation of the Databases of National Collective Agreements and of Ordinances.

The Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, which is in charge of printing and distributing (also with computer-based tools) the Official Gazette and other State publications, offers the user the possibility of accessing free-of-charge the last 60 Gazettes and, through the Ispolitel-Guritel services, makes its many databases available for a fee: Guritel (Official Gazette), Comitel (Commercial Databases), Albitel (Professional Rolls), Cetel (Official Journal of the European Community), Concorsi (Public Competitive Examinations), Publitel (Publications of the Public Administration), Farmatel (Pharmaceutical Databases), Tributi (Taxation Database) and Supplements.

8.7.9. Enti Locali e Reti Civiche (Local Authorities and Civic Networks)

Regions: The website Regioni includes a list of all the Italian Regions and of their websites. We would also like to mention the Conferenza delle Regioni e delle Province autonome (Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces), the Conferenza dei Presidenti delle Assemblee Legislative delle Regioni e delle Province Autonome (Conference of the Presidents of the Legislative Assemblies of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces), and the website Statuti regionali in vigore.



Here it seems appropriate to point out also that the Comune di Jesi (Municipality of Jesi), among its online services for citizens, offers the opportunity to consult some important legal databases. The archive of the Official Gazette—as an official source of knowledge of the rules in force in Italy and a tool for dissemination, information, and officialization of legislative texts, public and private acts—allows for searching and browsing the various series of the Official Gazette, both in textual format and in PDF graphic format, as well as the text of the individual acts, as originally published in the various series of the Gazette. The citizen can consult the text of all State law acts published since 1933, constantly updated (if published since 1936) with the changes made daily by other legislative acts. There is the possibility to consult, in addition to the Official Gazette, the legislative archives of Normattiva and the Journal of the European Union.

8.8. Universities and Research Institutes

All Italian universities and public and private law faculties have websites containing a great deal of information, documents, and many other services for students. We can just refer here to the website of Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca and to the one of CESTOR - Centro Studi Orientamento. To get general information about universities, their structures, and faculties, the user can search the online database Cerca Università, or else he/she can search through a special form by using various parameters (University, Faculty, Region, or key words).

Here, we shall look, as an example, at the Faculty of Law of the University of Catania, which presents interesting initiatives online, such as Labour Web, a virtual documentation centre on the evolution of Labour Law, industrial relations and the social State in the European Union, and at the Faculty of Law of the University of Trento, which hosts The Cardozo Electronic Law Bulletin, the first European University electronic journal. For the breadth and relevance of the bibliographic material made available to the user, deserves to be here reported the U.P.O. Digital Library (U.P.O. - Università del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Jurisprudence, Economic, Political and Social Sciences). It collects numerous electronic archives in the field of Italian and E.U. legislation, case law and legal literature. Among these archives we can cite the following: Gazzetta Ufficiale Repubblica italiana, Leggi d’Italia e Biblioteca Wolters Kluver, Lexis Nexis, Costituzionalismo.it, Giustamm.it, Archivio DoGi - Dottrina Giuridica, Dogis (Dottrina giuridica straniera), ESSPER - Spogli di periodici italiani di Economia, Diritto, Scienze sociali e Storia, De Jure, Norme e Tributi Plus.

With regard to Research Institutes, we feel obliged to mention the Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica (ITTIG – Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques) of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR – Italian National Research Council; the CNR site hosts lists of its research projects and research institutes), born in 2002, following the rationalization process of the network of the CNR Institutes, which, among other things, lead to the unification of the Istituto per la Documentazione Giuridica (IDG – Institute for Legal Documentation) and the Centro di Studi sul Diritto Romano e Sistemi Giuridici (CSDRSG – Centre of Studies on Roman Law and Legal Systems). As of June 1, 2019, the Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica (ITTIG) based in Florence, Italy, merged with the Istituto di Ricerca sui Sistemi Giudiziari (IRSIG - Institute of Research on Judicial Systems) in Bologna, thus creating the Istituto di Informatica Giuridica e Sistemi Giudiziari (IGSG - Institute of Legal Informatics and Judicial Systems), with institutional headquarters in Florence and branch offices in Bologna and Rome. The IGSG conducts interdisciplinary research on law and information and communication technologies, as well as on judicial systems and their interactions, then exploiting the results through training and knowledge transfer.

The databases and the guides to which users have free of charge access are especially important in this context. These include the following.

Currently, the IGSG updated online databases are:

Currently not-updated ITTIG online databases are:

ITTIG Law Guides:

Other CNR institutes in the legal area are: ENEA - Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile; ISGI – Istituto di Studi Giuridici Internazionali – Roma (Institute for International Legal Studies); ISSiRFA – Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali, Federali e sulle Autonomie “Massimo Severo Giannini” – Roma.

8.9. Professional Orders and Associations

The CNF Consiglio Nazionale Forense (National Bar Council) puts the Forensic Deontological Code online and enables the user to retrieve, through the jurisprudence related to the CNF, opinions, circulars, events, the Bar’s activities, proposals, the history of its members, the calendar of Court sittings, and annual reports. It also provides information, reviews and lists of sites of interest for lawyers. A particular attention is dedicated to the evolution process which is regarding the Italian legal profession nowadays, which is confirmed by the new Italian Forensic Order, introduced by Law No. 247/2012.

The ANF – Associazione Nazionale Forense promotes and strengthens the process of realization of the unitary representation of the Italian Bar. It carries out functions of union protection in favor of the members and, indirectly, of all lawyers. It is committed to identifying the interests and objectives common to all the liberal professions.

The CF Cassa Nazionale di Previdenza e Assistenza Forense (National Pensions and Assistance Fund for Lawyers) provides a valuable guide in the search for organizations and associations of lawyers, as well as a national list of lawyers registered on the roll.

The OUA Organismo Unitario dell’Avvocatura Italiana (Unitary Organism of the Italian Bench and Bar) represents the structure—direct emanation of the National Bar Congress—where all the institutions and bar associations converge for the purpose of expressing the thoughts of the Bench and the Bar on all the most important issues relating to the Justice and the legal profession, whilst respecting the autonomy of each component. The site provides online information about Congresses and Conferences, documents, news, reviews and press releases, and many articles.

The AIGA Associazione Italiana Giovani Avvocati (Italian Association of Young Lawyers): In the various sections of the website the structure of the Association is illustrated, the main activities carried out or planned are described and multiple specialised services (handbooks, forms, specialized issues, press releases, news) are provided.

The UNCC Unione Nazionale delle Camere Civili (National Association of the Territorial Civil Chambers) presents a list of the Territorial Chambers, President’s notes and information about Members’ Pages, Events, Links, and News.

The UCPI Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane (Union of the Italian Criminal Chambers) is the official site of the Italian Criminal Chambers; it contains analitic information about the structure and the composition of the Union and of the Chambers organs, and holds documents and news about criminal law.

The CNN Consiglio Nazionale del Notariato (National Council of Public Notaries) is divided into various subject headings, rich in information: “L’Impresa” (The Business), “La Casa” (The House), “La Famiglia” (The Family), “RAN - Rete delle Aste Notarili” (Network of notary’s auctions), “Avvisi Notarili” (Notary’s Notices), “Vendite Pubbliche Notarili” (Notarial Public Sales).

A specific attention is dedicated to the presentation of the notary’s position in the present society (“the Public Notary): who he/she is, the cost of notarial deeds, studies of the Italian Notary Profession, Public Notaries and information technologies, etc.), and to the private citizens’ activities which are juridically relevant (“Private Parties”: buying a house, loans, gifts, successions and wills, the family),“Non Profit Organizations” (recognized and non-recognized associations, foundations, legal persons, committees, charities), “Companies” (the general characteristics of a company, the contract, types of companies, taxation aspects, enterprises), “Training” (the State – Public Notary relationship, notarial procedures, schools for notaries, the open examinations for notaries, their appointment and the exercise of the profession), and “News” are further relevant sections of this website. A database of different kinds of documentation including legislation is also online. There is also a service on how to find a public notary, studies and research, conferences and congresses, guides, and handbooks.

ANM Associazione Nazionale Magistrati (National Association of Judges): Founded in 1906, is the association to which approximately 90% of Italian magistrates belong. It protects the constitutional values, independence, and autonomy of the judiciary. It is a founding member of the International Association of Judges.

AIC Associazione Italiana dei costituzionalisti (Italian Association of Constitutional Lawyers) was founded on October 11, 1985 by a group of scholars with the aim of "encouraging the deepening of the study and teaching methods of constitutional law, promoting and coordinating meetings between scholars and collective research”. The AIC adheres to the International Association of Constitutional Law. The relative site not only presents a journal and an observatory, but also debates, news, materials (including conference proceedings, the European Constitutional Convention, legislative acts, special measures, forecasts about the future, and bills), new publications, and a list of Italian and foreign links of interest.

Cittadinanzattiva (Active citizenship) is an Italian non-profit organization founded in 1978. It is independent from political parties, trade unions, private companies and public institutions and is recognized as a consumer organization since 2000. Cittadinanzattiva’s main objectives are the promotion of civic participation and the protection of citizens’ rights in Italy and in Europe. It considers citizens a fundamental resource for democracy who play an active role in society and should have the opportunity to participate in everyday policy-making.

8.10. Publishing Houses

The publisher Giuffré Francis Lefebvre is one of the major Italian players in the field of professional publishing. Born from the merger in 2018 of the historical publisher Giuffré Editore and Memento Francis Lefebvre, it is part of the international group Lefebvre Sarrut, active throughout Europe with eight subsidiaries and more than 2,600 employees. Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre provides tools, management software and information solutions, based on the authoritativeness of the sources and the reliability of the method, to support professionals in the legal, tax, labor, and business sectors. The site of this Publisher shows Volumes, Journals, Databases, Information Services, Software, Tools, and Websites, relative to three main areas: Tax and Labor Area, Legal Area, and Business Area. In the field of Training are offered Legal Courses, Fiscal Courses, and E-Learning Courses.

Particularly noteworthy are the databases DeJure, Publica, Notaio, and Proprietà intellettuale, but also the thematic portals (Avvocato, Commercialista, Consulente del lavoro, Magistrato, Medico legale, Notaio), the electronic journals, the websites, and the e-books. In particular, DeJure is a complete, customizable, and up-to-date online legal information system that allows the user to have a smart and targeted search of relevant information on the topic of interest. The Giuffré catalogue, which is also available in a CD-ROM version and online, currently contains thousands of titles with an annual increment of hundreds of new units. Giuffré Francis Lefebvre also publishes about fifty law journals. The online catalogue is updated daily with data on all the volumes published, both those currently on the market and those in print in the past.

The Giuffré Francis Lefebvre (GFL) publishing house produces, in addition to 11,153 Volumes and 32 Journals, 15 Telematics Portals (Famiglia e Patrimonio, Immobili e Condominio, Salute e Sicurezza sul lavoro, Lavoro, Paghe e contributi, Fisco, Imposte sul reddito delle società, Bilancio consolidato, Revisione legale, Imposta sul valore aggiunto, Cooperative, Previdenza, Principi contabili internazionali, Crisi d’impresa e Fallimento), numerous databases and information services related to both the tax and labor law areas and the legal area, and 13 software and tools. Among the databases here it is necessary to mention above all: MementoPiù, DeJure, and Juris Data Base. These legal documentation systems have been the point of reference for over 20 years for every lawyer's research on DVD-ROM. Contents of the basic configuration are: Case law; Civil Cassation Judgements; Criminal Cassation Judgements; Constitutional Court Rulings; National Legislation; Codes; Regional Laws; Practices. Among the software and tools we recall, in particular:

Among the works published by Giuffré Francis Lefebvre (GFL) of considerable importance is the Enciclopedia del Diritto (Encyclopedia of Law): 64 volumes containing over 5,000 entries, an index of 18,000 terms, an alphabetical list of more than 2.000 authors, each followed by the title of the published entries, now accessible online through the portal DeJure of the Giuffré. Since 1958, the Encyclopaedia of Law has been the most authoritative point of reference for legal science, recognized as one of the major collective works of Italian culture. The work is the witness of the historical development of legislation, jurisprudence, practice and doctrine illustrating the different angles and becomes an instrument of training and interpretative key to deepening.

Wolters Kluwer Italia operates in the market of professional publishing, software, training and services with the publishing brands IPSOA, CEDAM, UTET GIURIDICA, INDICITALIA and IL FISCO, and the software brands OSRA, ARTEL, OA SISTEMI, PRAGMA and SBG. Some of the works published by this publishing group include Leggi d’Italia and Pluris Online.

IPSOA: At the end of 2015 IPSOA has completely renewed its database for tax professionals and its services for business advisers. With a single box for the information research, its website includes at present eight sections: “IPSOA Quotidiano” (Daily News), “Speciali” (Special Reports), “Dossier”, “Rassegna Stampa” (Press Review), “Gazzetta Ufficiale” (Official Gazette), “Scadenze” (Deadlines), “Costituzione e Codici” (Italian Constitution and Codes) and “Legislazione” (Legislation). Therefore, in addition to the Italian Constitution, the user can consult the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and a selection of legislative texts between 1941 and 2017. IPSOA, for a subscription, makes available to the user a large number of databases of legislation, jurisprudence on taxation, company law, and labour law available on the web. It also furnishes numerous online services, such as the “Quotidiano giuridico,” which offers every day prompt and influential updates to lawyers, judges and notaries, the on-line commented versions of the Civil Code and the Civil Trial Code, expert advices in legal and fiscal matters. The “IPSOA Quotidiano” section is sub-divided into “Fisco” (Tax), “Lavoro e Pensione” (Work and Pension), “Bilancio e Contabilità” (Budget and Accounting), “Finanziamenti” (Financing) and “Imprese” (Companies).

Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato Italiano (IPZS): In compliance with the objectives of Open Government set by the national legislative and programmatic framework, the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato carries out the following activities for the dissemination of information from public sources of a legal, administrative, cultural and scientific nature;

In particular, the Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana (Official Gazette of the Italian Republic): is published annually by the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (State Polygraphic Institute and Mint). The electronic edition of the Official Gazette contains the full text of all the measures published from 1 January until 31 December of each year in the whole series of the O.G., Part I (General Series + Special Series).

The archives of the Gazzetta Ufficiale, official source of knowledge of the norms in force in Italy and instrument of diffusion, information and officialization of legislative texts, public and private acts, allows to search and consult the various series of the Gazzetta Ufficiale, both in "textual" format and in "PDF" graphic format, as well as the text of the single acts, as originally published in the various series of the Gazzetta Ufficiale; it also allows to search and consult the text of all the State normative acts published since 1861, constantly updated with the modifications made daily by normative and non-normative acts.

Since January 1, 2013 the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in agreement with the Ministry of Justice and with the contribution of the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, makes available free of charge, in its various series, the Official Gazette in digital format. Accessing the site, renewed in graphics and content, it is possible to search and view individual publications or, in the case of the text version, individual acts (searchable also by significant word) in a large database containing the Official Gazette, in text and/or PDF format (depending on the historical period of reference), published in past years.

Since the early years of 2000 there are no longer on the market single-user versions of the Official Gazette on CD-ROM.

Leggi d'Italia Professionale is part of the Wolters Kluwer Italia Group. Again for a subscription fee, it offers the user numerous online databases including Le Leggi d’Italia (Laws of Italy) with the text of Italian legislation in force and co-ordinated jurisprudential notes of decisions of all the Italian Higher Courts, organized by summaries, legal literature of distinguished jurists and historical texts, I codici d’Italia (Codes of Italy: Civil Code, Criminal Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Navigation, Code of Military Procedure in Peacetime, Code of Military Procedure in Wartime), La prassi delle leggi d’Italia (Procedures of the Laws of Italy), Il Diritto Comunitario (European Community Law), Le Leggi regionali (Regional Laws), Enti locali (Local Authorities), Diritti dei Minori (Minor’s Rights), Fisco online (Online Tax), and many others, as well as the catalogue, various services, and a newsletter.

The new Leggi d’Italia website is structured in four sections. Each one of them is dedicated to a different target of users: Central and Local Public Administrations employees; Lawyers, Judges and Corporate Counsels; Notaries; Business consultants and Companies. Moreover, customized libraries, online training courses, and various specialized newsletters are available. Finally, a further innovation is the “Leggi d’Italia Mobile” system, which allows the user to play the search engine even on smartphones and tablets.

In particular, the catalogue of Leggi d’Italia comprises:

The Simone Publishing House contains useful services (mailing list) and a great deal of information. The catalogue made available enables the user to consult the electronic cards relating to over one thousand published volumes. Simone allows its users to search its law codes free-of-charge: Constitution, Civil Code, Criminal Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, annotated and explanatory Treaties of European Community, as well as a large number of Dictionaries (Roman Law Dictionary, Italian-English Legal-Economic Dictionary, Accounting and Finance Dictionary, Dictionary of Canon and Ecclesiastical Law, Dictionary of Political Philosophy, Dictionary of Psychological Sciences). Simone encloses the relative CD-ROM with their paper-based publications (Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Criminal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Annotated Form of Labour Process).

The Il Sole 24 Ore Publishing House, largely dedicated to the world of the economy, makes an important contribution to the legal sector. It provides services, texts, periodicals, and many offline and online databases which are distributed against payment of a subscription fee.

In particular, the legal section, called “Norms and Tributes,” includes: “Fisco e Contabilità” (Tax and Accounting), “Diritto” (Law), “Lavoro e Previdenza” (Labour and Social Security), “Edilizia e Ambiente” (Building and Environment), “Casa e Condominio” (House and Condominium), “Enti locali e Pubblica Ammnistrazione” (Local Authorities and Public Administration), “Sanità” (Healthcare), “Scuola e Università” (School and University).

The modules of the Lex 24 Database include: Lex 24 (Legislation and Practice; Civil, Criminal and Administrative Jurisprudence: Collection of jurisprudential massime; Guide to Law; Collection of legal forms; Dossier; Answers from the Il Sole 24 Ore experts; Il Sole 24 Ore Journals and Newsletter); the Codes (Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Ciminal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure; the information research can be done by article or by word or on the basis of the index structured by the legislator); the Electronic Civil Trial (this module systematizes the new discipline of information and communication technologies applied to the Civil Trial at its various stages); Regulation of the Road Traffic and Road Accident (Legislation, Practice, Jurisprudence, Collection of forms, Author’s comments, Author’s schemes, Answers from experts, Insights of experts); Contracts (the contracts discipline includes Codes regulation, Complementary laws, Jurisprudence and Practice on the subject, Family (Legislation, Jurisprudence, Systematic guides and Procedural schemes), Real Estate (Legislation, Jurisprudence, Author’s comments, Author’s schemes, Collection of forms, Answers from experts, Insights of experts); Labour (Legislation and Jurisprudence),Company (Corporate and Bankruptcy Law, Jurisprudence of merit and legitimacy commented by authoritative experts), Liability and Compensation (Legal issues related to civil liability and claims for compensation of damages), Mediation (Legislation, Jurisprudence, Practice, Legal Doctrine in mediation and conciliation of civil and commercial disputes), Criminal Law (Substantive and Procedural Criminal Law presented through a systematic organization of the general principles of matter, criminal offences and various phases of criminal proceedings), E-Learning (Certified Courses for compulsory vocational training), Services (Requests for full text of judgments, Software for calculating biological damage, Newsletter, Insights and advances), Banking Law (Legislation, Jurisprudence, Legal Doctrine, Rules of Banking, Financial and Insurance Law, organized according to the subject with reference to the main legal instruments).

The following are among the most important services in the legal sector:

Lex24 constitutes to be the legal-legislative database of Il Sole 24 ore, which the user can search either on the Internet or on DVD-ROM; through it he/she can retrieve, quickly and in an intuitive way, all the Legislation in its current form, with the Jurisprudence referring to it, the Notes taken from professional journals and the Questions of the “Answers from the Expert” column. Lex24 is in constant evolution; it can be searched at any time and is updated in real time on the basis of the latest amendments taking place daily. In particular, with regard to the legislation, it makes the following available to the user:

Specific sections regard very important topics, such as family, job, companies, real estates, responsbility and reparation, the mediation and the telematic civil trial.

Since the end of 2020, Lex24 has evolved to become the new digital platform of the Il Sole 24 Ore publishing group. PlusPlus24 Diritto—a new information system equipped with a guided search system—and Smart24 Lex—an information system that includes a database with an intelligent search system, all the sentences of the Supreme Court together with the most significant maxims of the sentences, a selection of the most important sentences pronounced by Courts, Courts of Appeal, Regional Administrative Courts and Council of State, News, Insights and Dossiers on the most important legal issues and, finally, a personalized NewsLetter—are now available for a fee.

Guida al Diritto (Guide to the Law): edited by Il Sole 24 Ore, it is a widely circulated weekly magazine of legal documentation and offers to the attention of legal professionals and scholars, in addition to a series of articles on the main topical issues, contributions on civil law, criminal law, administrative law, and European and international law. In addition, subscribers have the possibility to freely navigate the site in order to search:

Norme e Tributi Plus Diritto: it is a kind of gateway to all legal information, a work tool that keeps up to date on news and deepens the topics of interest for the legal profession. The information covers every area of the law: civil, corporate, liability, family, labor, real estate, criminal, administrative, EU, and international law. All the news, comments, case law and, in general, useful tools for the legal profession are provided.

UTET - Unione Tipografica Editrice Torinese provides a multimedia online catalogue which the user can search in full text. The “Utet giuridica” section holds databases, legal journals, books and codes. In 2005 UTET's activities in the field of law and technical sciences were sold to the Wolters Kluwer group.

The “DVD Banche Dati Giuridiche Platinum” (DVD Platinum Legal Databases) collect together eleven databases on the one DVD:


Zanichelli Publishing House provides documentation, catalogues and services, which are also generally offered by the best publishing houses specialized in the legal field. The Catalogue, which can be downloaded in PDF, holds codes, handbooks and legal literature texts. A monthly legal newsletter is also available online.

In particular, Zanichelli produces:

The publishing houses CEDAM, UTET and IPSOA recently joined together to offer to the users one only product, called Pluris online (Wolters Kluwer). It holds juridical journals, hyper-textual codes and UTET’s database and Digesto.

In particular, Pluris online is an innovative and complete legal information system and legal update on line. With Pluris you will have: 1. updates (every day are available the news of the Legal Daily to be always informed about the normative and jurisprudential news); 2. author's commentary (the point of view of experts in the catalog of annotated codes online: four basic codes and five specialized codes; 3. author's interpretation (the articles of the best experts published in 39 journals of IPSOA, CEDAM, UTET GIURIDICA since 1987, to know everything about a topic, in every area of law; 4. in-depth analysis (the complete framework of each case in the headings of the digest and the in-depth study of the authors in over 4,000 volumes of IPSOA, CEDAM, UTET Giuridica; 5. working tools (useful tools to better manage the activities in a legal firm: 6. over 3,800 Formulas and 6 procedural ITERs; 7. link for Microsoft, interest calculation, flat fee, Visas; 8. Legal dictionary in 3 languages; 9. integration with the KLEOS management software to manage practices and fulfill all the requirements of the Telematic Civil Process; 9. Wolters Kluwer e-learning courses accredited by the Consiglio Nazionale Forense (National Bar Council); 10. assistance.

9. Appendices

9.1. European Community and International Law Websites

European Union

EU Intitutions and Bodies

United Nations

Other relevant sites in the field:


Abrogazione [Repeal]: the ceasing of a legal norm or a legislative act’s enforceability. The repeal can be expressed (by an explicit statement of legislator) or implied (because of inconsistency with subsequent law). Moreover, it can be a consequence of referendum or due to intrinsic causes (special laws issued for a limited period or in particular circumstances).

Appello nominale [Roll call]: one of the ways in which the Houses of a Parliament vote. It consists in the calling in alphabetical order of each single Member of Parliament, who is expected to openly and publicly cast his or her vote.

Assemblea costituente [Constituent Assembly]: special and provisional collegial body elected to draw up and to approve a Constitution, as well as to carry out the legislative tasks normally appertaining to Parliament.

Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite [General Assembly of the United Nations]: United Nations body made up of all the Organization’s Member-States.

Associazione [Association]: organized complex of people and property having no financial ends.

Associazione Nazionale Magistrati [A.N.M. – National Association of Magistrates]: free association to which almost all Italian magistrates belong. It is divided into different currents that elect its Governing Committee and propose candidates for the election of the “Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura” (Superior Judiciary Council).

Atti di alta amministrazione [Upper Administrative Acts]: fundamental directives adopted by the Public Administration in order to meet Government policies on the management and care of its functions (these therefore act as links between policy and administration).

Atti aventi valore di legge [Legally binding Acts]: decrees law, legislative decrees and normal Regional laws are defined as such. They are characterized by the fact that, although having all the effects of law, they are limited in terms of their duration or in what they regulate.

Atti di concerto [Collegial Acts]: acts that invest more than one authority and more than one particular competence and for which more than one body concurs with respect to what is regulated.

Atti di controllo [Controlling Acts]: second level regulations to reform – or to re-examine – a previously passed act or procedure (the following are examples of these: visas, approvals, authorizations, validations or annulments during checking procedure).

Atti definitivi [Definitive Acts]: administrative acts that cannot be altered by ordinary administrative procedures.

Atti generali [General Acts]: Public Administration acts dealing with general or abstract matters that apply to an indeterminate number of parties.

Atti giuridici [Legal Acts]: conscious and voluntary behaviors that has legal effects.

Atti giuridici comunitari [European Community Legal Acts]: this expression defines the “derived European Community Law”, that is the set of regulations drawn up by European Community Institutions, whose direct basis is Treaties (original European Community Law).

Atti ispettivi del Parlamento [Parliamentary Inspecting Acts]: a posteriori acts (usually passed separately by each House) that politically control the activity of the Government. These make up the parliamentary “political inspection”. In certain cases, they take on a preventive form in order to solicit a decision such as, for example, in the case of parliamentary questions.

Atti normativi [Normative Acts]: acts that affect an indeterminate number of subjects and can modify or renovate the existing legal system. They are therefore a “source of the Law”.

Atti parlamentari [Parliamentary Acts]: acts resulting from the work carried out by each House of Parliament (Deputies and Senators). Parliamentary acts also include summary reports of Committee meetings, that contain all the bills presented in the Houses.

Atti politici [Political Acts]: through these acts Government policy (that is the supreme will of the State) is implemented.

Atto unilaterale [Unilateral Act]: acts through which a single party (in particular a State) sets down rules that result in rights and obligations in the legal relationships existing between international community parties.

Autarchia [Autarchy]: the ability of bodies other than the State to dispose of public authority; it consists in the ability, inherent to public bodies, to administer their own interests by carrying out an administrative task that has the same character and the same legal efficacy as that of the State.

Autogoverno [Self-Government]: expression that comes from institutions that are typically found in Anglo-Saxon legal systems (“self-government”). It stands for the particular condition of certain public bodies that are permitted to administer themselves by means of internal institutions and procedures.

Autonomie locali [Autonomous Local Bodies]: local bodies that the State recognizes as autonomous authorities; they have the right and the effective ability to regulate and to administer – within the bounds of the Law and on their own responsibility – a significant part of public affairs.

Autorità amministrative indipendenti [Independent Administrative Authorities]: public bodies or institutions created by the legislator in order to guarantee autonomy and impartiality in specific and particularly important areas for the State and/or the economy; they are therefore organizationally and financially autonomous, are self-auditing and have substantial independence towards the Government.

Avvocatura dello Stato [State Attorney-General Office]: auxiliary organ with general competencies that the State Administration institutionally entrusted of the representation and the defense in judgment involving ordinary, administrative and special jurisdiction, arbitration colleges and constitutional jurisdictions.


Bicameralismo perfetto [Pure Bicameralism]: in a twin House parliamentary system both Houses have identical powers and functions.

Bilancio dello Stato [State Budget]: law consisting of an accounting document in which, in accordance to specific criteria, the State’s income and expenditure for a given period is set down.

Bollettino Ufficiale [Official Bulletin]: a periodical issue edited by Public Bodies and Administrations which publishes internal regulations and, more in general, the laws and rules regulating the administrative sectors within the competencies of the Body that publishes the Bulletin.

Burocrazia [Bureaucracy]: complex of offices and personnel that apply the regulations drawn up by the organs of the Public Administration.


Capacità giuridica [Capacity to have rights]: capacity to be holder of legal rights and obligations.

Capacità di agire [Capacity to exercise rights]: capacity to acquire and to exercise subjective rights and to take on obligations; it is therefore the aptitude to create, modify or to extinguish one or more legal relationships.

Casellario giudiziale [Criminal Records Office]: filing cabinet established in each Public Prosecutor’s Office, that has the task of collecting and preserving the abstracts of regulations and notations concerning all the people born in the District in relation to which registration is required by Law.

Catasto [Land Register]: general list of all property (land or real estate) that determines the consistency and the income of property through its description, measurement and estimation.

Circondario [District]: territorial area that delimits the competence of an ordinary Court.

Coalizione di Governo [Government Coalition]: coalition of Parties that, taken together an absolute majority in Parliament, provides the parliamentary basis for the Government. It pursues a coordinated and common political line with respect to the political Parties that it comprehends.

Codice [Code]: systematic and organized set of laws relating to the same subject or sector (for example: Civil Code, Penal Code, etc.).

Codificazione [Codification]: ordered and coherent system of norms and regulations in a particular field.

Comitato delle Regioni [Committee of the Regions]: consultative body set up by the Treaty on European Union. It is made up of the representatives of Local and Regional Councils and it is nominated on the basis of proposals from the respective Member-States.

Comitato Regionale di Controllo [CO.RE.CO – Regional Inspection Committee]: Regional body, regulated by State Law that inspects the legitimacy of Provincial and Communal acts.

Commissione europea [European Commission]: executive organ of the European Union that implements Community acts and treaties.

Comune [Commune]: territorially defined public body headed by a Mayor elected directly by the citizens.

Conferenza permanente tra Stato e Regioni [Permanent Conference between State and Regions]: corporate Body that has an information, consultation and coordinating role with respect to general policies (barring foreign policy, justice and national security).

Conferenza Stato-Città [State-City Conference]: has a coordinating role in the relationship between the State and Local Bodies, and educational and information role for tackling problems regarding policies that may have a direct impact on assigned or delegated functions (Provinces, Communes, Mountain Communities).

Consigli giudiziari [Judicial Councils]: organs of the Ordinary Magistracy at each Appeal Court. They have an administrative character, that is compulsorily determined by Law and they are competent for all magistrates of the District.

Consiglio comunale [Communal Council]: highest institutional organ of the Commune. The Communal Council represents the local community by which it is directly elected. It has duties of policy and of political-administrative control.

Consiglio dell’Unione Europea [Council of the European Union]: European Community organ which has important functions with regard to the creation of legal acts and treaties. Its presidency is assigned on a six-month in rotation to each Member-State of the European Union.

Consiglio di gabinetto [Cabinet Council]: organ that assists the Prime Minister and the Vice-Prime Minister in their political activity, notwithstanding the powers of the Council of Ministers.

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche [C.N.R. – National Research Council]: national research organization, with general scientific competence and with scientific research Institutes distributed over Italy, which carries out activity of primary interest for the promotion of science and the progress of the Country. CNR has the legal status of a public organization, and defines for itself autonomous rules and regulations, in accordance with the existing laws and the Civil Code.

Consiglio notarile [Notarial Council]: established in each Notarial District, it has a watch role on the notarial profession and on the conduct of notaries registered in the District.

Consiglio dell’Ordine degli Avvocati [Bar Association Council]: established in each Court District, it is an organ that performs various tasks related to the professional roll control, to the watch over registered practitioners, to the advice in honorary matter and the profession prestige safeguard.

Consiglio provinciale [Provincial Council]: representative collegial organ that has a guiding and political-administrative inspection role in the context of the Province.

Consiglio regionale [Regional Council]: the highest deliberative and representative organ of the Region. It has normative and administrative competencies as well as organizational, financial and book-keeping autonomy.

Consiglio di sicurezza [Security Council]: it is the most important organ of the United Nations Organization and has a fundamental task in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Consiglio di Stato [Council of State]: an organ that has a jurisdictional and consultative function in the administrative sphere. In its consultative role, it pronounces on all matters regarding the Public Administration through “opinions”. These can be “compulsory” or “binding”. As a jurisdictional organ, it is competent to re-examine on second level the judgments pronounced by the Regional Administrative Tribunals (TAR).

Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura [C.S.M. – Superior Council of the Magistracy]: body provided for under the Italian Constitution (article No. 104). It is a self-governing body of the Magistracy. It issues orders for the appointment, assignment, transfer and promotion of magistrates (judges and public prosecutors) together with having responsibility for disciplinary judgements. It is made up of the President of the Italian Republic (acting as its Chairman), by the first President of the Court of Cassation and by the Court of Cassation’s Public Prosecutor (all these being members as of right). There are also thirty elected members holding office for four years: two thirds are ordinary magistrates (elected by the Magistracy) and one third are full professors in Law and lawyers with 15 years of practice (so-called “lay members” elected by the Parliament in joint session).

Consuetudine [Custom]: source of Law that consists of a behavior, conforming to the Law, which is kept in a constant and uniform way by the citizens. It is a primary level source in the hierarchy of norms of the international legal system.

Consultazione popolare [Popular Consultation]: system of inquiry: opinion poll, through which the attitude of citizens with respect to political-administrative orientations is verified.

Corte Costituzionale [Constitutional Court]: body set up by the Italian Constitution to carry out the following functions: to adjudicate on the constitutionality of laws (deciding whether they comply with the provisions of the Constitution); to adjudicate on conflicts between State Powers (legislative, administrative, judicial), between the State and Regions or between different Regions; to adjudicate on the admissibility of repealing referendums; to adjudicate, in cases provided for under the law, on criminal charges brought against the President of the Italian Republic. The Court is made up of fifteen judges holding office for nine years.

Corte d’Appello [Court of Appeal]: body forming part of the ordinary civil and criminal Court system. It is made up of three judges. It represents the second level of the judicial system that of appeal against decisions of the first instance Court (“Tribunale”). It has territorial jurisdiction within its own District, generally corresponding to a Region. The Court is normally located in the Region capital.

Corte d’Assise [Court of Assizes]: Court with ordinary jurisdiction in criminal matters with competence to try a number of serious offences at first instance. It is made up of a President (a judge qualified for the Court of Appeal), a judge qualified for an ordinary Court (“giudice a latere”) and six jurors. In carrying out their functions, the jurors have equal status to the Court judges: their votes count for the same as those of the judges when the Court reaches a sentence.

Corte dei Conti [Court of Accounts]: body set up under the Italian Constitution (articles No. 100 and 103). It is responsible for checking the legitimacy of the activities of the Government and of the Public Administration. It is also responsible for checking the management of the accounts of the State, of the Public Administrations generally and of the bodies subsidized by the State. It also has a judicial function in the field of public accounting and in relation to pensions of State officials. It is divided into “checking” divisions and “judicial” divisions. When dealing with matters of particular significance it sits in United Sessions. The Court of Accounts also has a consultative function (when asked to give opinions on specific matters) and a referral role when it is called upon to report directly to the Houses of Parliament on the results of the checks it has carried out.

Corte di Cassazione [Supreme Court of Cassation]: as Italy’s Supreme Court, it is entrusted with ensuring the precise observance and uniform interpretation of the law. Questions relating to conflicts of jurisdiction, competence and powers within the Magistracy are also referred to it for adjudication. It hears appeals both in civil and criminal matters against decisions reached by lower Courts but only on points of law (assessment of legitimacy). It is thus concerned to ensure that the Court dealing with the merits of the case has correctly applied and interpreted the law in reaching its decision. It is a collegial body dealing with ordinary jurisdiction. It is divided into so-called “simple” divisions (6 criminal, 3 civil and 1 for labour cases). In cases of particular importance, it sits in United Sessions. Its offices are in Rome and it has jurisdiction over the whole territory of the Italian Republic.

Corte di giustizia della Comunità Europea [Court of Justice of the European Community]: the Court of Justice of the European Community (often referred to simply as “the Court”) was set up in 1952 under the Treaty of Paris (establishing the “European Coal and Steel Community”). Its job is to ensure that European Union legislation (technically known as “Community Law”) is interpreted and applied in the same way in each Member-State, in other words, that it is always identical for all Parties and in all circumstances. The Court has the power to settle legal disputes between Member-States, European Union Institutions, businesses and individuals. The Court is composed of one judge per Member-State, so that all the EU’s national legal systems are represented. Even after enlargement, there will still be one judge per Member-State, but for the sake of efficiency, the Court will be able to sit as a “Grand Chamber” of just eleven judges instead of always having to meet in a plenary session attended by all the judges.

Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo [European Court of Human Rights]: international Court established by the European Convention for the safeguarding of Human Rights. It can be appealed to for violations of rights and liberties guaranteed by the Convention.

Corte Internazionale di Giustizia [International Court of Justice]: Supreme International Court established in 1945. In accordance to the Statute it is an organ of the United Nations. It is made up of fifteen judges of various nationalities who are elected on the basis of their competencies and moral standing.

Costituzione [Constitution]: fundamental law of the Republic that sanctions the fundamental principles, the duties and rights of citizens. It also regulates the State organization.


Decreto-legge [D. L. – Decree Law]: normative Government act. It is used in very particular and urgent cases and has a time limit of sixty days from the date of its publication on the “Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica” [“Official Gazette of the Republic”]. Decrees law can be converted to laws by Parliament.

Decreto legislativo [D. Lgs. – Legislative Decree]: a provision that has the binding force of law. It is adopted by the Government with a deliberation of the Cabinet and it is passed by the President of the Italian Republic on the basis of a delegated law (“legge delega”).

Decreto ministeriale [D. M. – Ministerial Decree]: secondary normative act with a solely regulatory purpose that individual Ministers can issue in the context of their Department and by virtue of a law that expressly predisposes it.

Decreto del Presidente della Repubblica [D. P. R. – Presidential Decree]: provision with which the President of the Italian Republic issues acts provided by the Constitution or by Constitutional Law, those relative to the organization of the personnel of the Secretary of the Presidency, as well as all the acts that are expressly listed by the law 13/’91 (for example, the nomination of State Undersecretaries, the decision on extraordinary appeals, granting of Italian citizenship, dissolution of Communal and Provincial Councils).

Demanio [State Property]: complex of properties of the State, Regions, Provinces and Communes. Its scope is to serve the public interest and, as such, it is subject to different rules than those that govern private property. This kind of property is, in fact, inalienable and from it cannot accrue any right to a third part.

Democrazia diretta [Istituti di, Institutions of Direct Democracy]: Institutions provided by the Constitution through which the people, in whom sovereignty rests, directly exercises its powers. These institutions are: popular initiative of bills and laws, right of petition and the popular referendum.

Deputati [Members of Parliament]: members of Parliament elected by direct universal suffrage, some by means of majority voting system and others by means of proportional representation system. All citizens over twenty five years can be elected as long as they are not in a state of ineligibility as set out by Law. Their mandate lasts for five years, which is for the whole legislature.

Deregulation: progressive suppression of norms issued by public authority that regulate, in particular, economic activity. In practice this means the abolition of controls having social objectives that limit the free initiative of entrepreneurs.

Direttiva comunitaria [Community Directive]: in European Community Law a directive is a legislative instrument that is binding on the Member-States to which it is addressed as regards the result to be obtained, but leaves them free to determine the form and methods. Directives may be adopted under the European Community Treaty either by the European Parliament and the Council or by the Council or by the Commission. The Community institutions use “Regulations” more often than “Directives” in judicial cooperation in civil matters. Once adopted, Community Directives still have to be transposed by each of the Member-States, that is to say they must be implemented by national Law.

Diritto amministrativo [Administrative Law]: branch of the Law that regulates, within the bounds of the Constitution and of the Law, the administrative activity of the State in all its facets. It is concerned with the organization, property, means, forms and the safeguarding of the activity of the Public Administration.

Diritto costituzionale [Constitutional Law]: the fundamental principles and regulations of the State, citizens and all other community parties. These regulations are contained in the Constitution (see “Costituzione”) and in the constitutional laws.

Diritto internazionale [International Law]: set of rules on which States regulate their political, economic and social relationships. Amongst International Law sources, international Treaties are of particular importance.

Diritto pubblico [Public Law]: set of regulations that govern the formation, the organization and the activity of the State and Public Bodies, as well as their relations with private parties in cases in which the State or Public Bodies are in a position of superiority that derives from the fact that the latter are acting as public authorities.

Disegno di legge [Draft Bill]: normative text drafted as articles, proposed for the approval of the Senate, presented by the Senators, the Government, at least fifty-thousand electors, a Regional Council or by the “Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro” (CNEL – National Council for the Economy and Work). In the Chamber of Deputies a “Progetto di legge” (bill) issued by the Government is referred to thus (in order to distinguish it from a “proposta di legge”, which is not proposed at the initiative of the Government).

Disposizioni sulla legge in generale o “Preleggi” [Provisions for law in general or Pre-laws]: norms that are premises of the Civil Code that regulate the entire Italian legal system. There are two types: the first is concerned with Law sources; the second sets norms in relation to Law application criteria (binding effect, effects over time, interpretation of Law, and treatment of foreigners).

Disposizioni transitorie e finali della Costituzione [Transitional and Final Provisions of the Constitution]: provisions, marked by Roman numbers, which contain norms that have the same formal value as the Constitution. The majority of these are aimed at regulating and guaranteeing, by means of transitional norms, the correct establishment of the new constitutional regime.


Elettorato [Electorate]: the exercise of a public power attributed to all the electors expected to vote. Belonging to the electorate is documented and attained through being registered in the electoral register. It can be distinguished as “active” (the capacity to vote) and “passive” (the capacity to be elected).

Elezioni [Elections]: popular consultation through which the citizens, with the exercise of their right to vote, choose their representatives in the various institutional organizations (e.g. Parliament).

Enti locali [Local Bodies]: public bodies that operate in a restricted territorial area for matters that are of strictly local interest; in order to carry out this task they are, at various levels, politically and legally autonomous.

Enti pubblici [Public Bodies]: legal persons through which the Public Administration carries out its administrative activity.


Federalismo [Federalism]: model of State decentralization, typical of liberal-constitutional governments, in which political power is constitutionally shared between a (central) federal State and its Member-States (Cantons, Länder, etc.).

Fonti del diritto [Sources of the Law]: each of the various types of facts or acts that, in the context of a given legal system, can give rise to, can modify or cancel legal norms. These acts or facts are referred to as “sources of Law production”, while norms of constitutional nature that grant them the power to produce laws are referred to as “sources on Law production”. Both are referred to as “Law sources in the formal sense”.

Forma di governo [Form of Government]: the way in which the political power of a State is organized and managed. In particular, in relation to the way in which executive and legislative power is divided, the form of government can be parliamentary or presidential.

Funzione pubblica (Dipartimento della) [Public Administration (Department for)]: activity carried out in the interest not only of the party exercising that power but of the community as a whole. All the functions of the State are included in this notion (legislative activity, jurisdiction and administration).


Gazzetta Ufficiale [G.U. – Official Gazette]: periodical publication (published by the State Printing Office) that has the scope of diffusing awareness of laws and decrees and to establish the date from which they come into force. As well as normative acts, the Official Gazette publishes all acts of public interest and the notifications and insertions that must be compulsorily announced.

Gerarchia delle fonti del diritto [Hierarchy of Sources of the Law]: way of distinguishing different Law sources according to their importance. The most important source in Italian legal system is the Constitution.

Giunta comunale [Communal Board]: government organ of the Commune. It carries out proposal and orientation activities with regards to the Communal Council. It collaborates with the Mayor in the administration of the Commune and operates through collegial deliberations fulfilling the acts that are not exclusive to Communal Council or that do not fall within the competencies, in accordance with the laws or the Statute, of the Mayor or other organs of decentralized authority.

Giunta provinciale [Provincial Board]: executive organ of the Province. Its competencies include general active administration for all matters that are not attributed to other provincial organs.

Giunta regionale [Regional Board]: executive organ of the Region. It has general administrative competence and the power to issue circulars and to regulate its working through specific internal regulations. Also, it has the task of enacting the political program drawn up by the Council. It can promote bills and laws and can impugn the constitutionality of State or other Regions laws that impinge on its competence.

Giurisdizione [Jurisdiction]: it is one of the three typical modes by which the sovereignty of the State is enacted. It consists in public and autonomous authority aiming at the concrete application of the laws of the legal system and it is attributed to particular organs of the State, which as a whole constitutes the “Judicial Authority”.

Giustizia amministrativa [Administrative Justice]: the complex of institutions that are predisposed for the defense of the citizens or of public or private organizations with respect to the Public Administration. The organs of Administrative Justice are the Regional Administrative Courts (“Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali” – TAR) and, at a secondary level, the Council of State.

Governo [Government]: complex body to which the exercise of the executive power of the State is principally attributed. It consists of a Prime Minister and Ministers, who together make up the Cabinet. The President of the Republic nominates the Prime Minister and, on the suggestion of the latter, the Ministers. The Government also has certain normative powers that are exercised through the enactment of decree laws, legislative decrees and regulations.

Guardasigilli [Keeper of the Seals]: he is the Minister of Justice who, by tradition, is the custodian of the State Seal and in this role countersigns laws and decrees in order to their publication.


Iniziativa legislativa [Legislative Initiative]: is the first step in the “legislative procedure” for creating laws. A bill is drafted in paragraphs and articles and is presented to one of the Houses where it is debated. Those empowered to set this process in motion are: the Government, individual Members of Parliament, the electorate, the National Council for the Economy and for Work (“Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro” – CNEL) and, in the areas of their competencies, Regional and Communal Councils.

Interpellanza [Interpellation]: inspection act consisting of a written question made by a Member of Parliament to the Government (or to a Minister) in order to understand the latter’s behavior or intentions with respect to particularly important or general matters. Unlike a parliamentary question, an “interpellation” must be illustrated by its presenter and is always discussed in full Assembly (whilst a question can also be answered in a Committee) with the aim of obtaining an answer from the Government on subjects that are considered worthy of debate.

Interrogazione [Parliamentary Question]: political inspection act consisting of a written question made by a Member of Parliament (usually of the Opposition) to the Government or to a Minister on a particular situation in order to be granted information or explanations with regard to a particular issue or the provisions that have been made or will be made in its regard.

Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato [State Printing Office and Mint]: it is a body of public economic Law. Set up in 1928, it is under the control of the Ministry of Treasury, the budget and the financial planning. It has the task of exercising graphic arts in the interest of the State, the management of publications and of the State Stationery Office. It publishes the Official Gazette of the Republic and distributes public databases. To its original tasks, others – such as minting, the creation of official seals, and, on the authorization of the Treasury, minting for foreign States – have been added.

Italgiure: online legal database realized by the Italian “Centro Elettronico di Documentazione della Corte Suprema di Cassazione” (Documentation Electronic Center of the Supreme Court of Cassation). It contains about forty databases of legal electronic documents (regarding legislation, jurisprudence, legal authority and bibliographies). It can be consulted through the ItalgiureFind querying language or via “Easy-Find” software. The ItalgiureWeb querying system is currently available on the Web and is freely accessible only to normal magistrates.

Iter legislativo [Legislative Iter: expression commonly used to indicate the course that a bill or any other text presented to Parliament must follow before arriving at a definitive vote.


Lavori parlamentari [Parliamentary Works]: activities carried out by Parliamentary Assemblies, Boards, Groups and Committees, as well as by other bodies in accordance with Parliamentary Houses regulations, adopted to ensure the proper functioning of Parliament itself.

Lavori preparatori [Preparatory Works]: activities that precede the approval of legislative acts. These include the illustration of bills and their debating in Assembly. The preparatory works of parliamentary laws are particularly important and are registered in “Raccolte degli Atti parlamentari” (Parliamentary Act Collections).

Legge costituzionale e Legge di revisione costituzionale [Constitutional Laws and Constitutional Revising Laws]: Law sources of a constitutional nature that are added to the text of the Constitutional Charter and that, differently from ordinary laws, must be passed by Parliament with specific procedures that are set out in the Constitution itself.

Legge delega [Delegated Law]: it is a provision that defines the subject and the principles that the Government must keep to in enacting a specific legislative decree.

Legge ordinaria [Ordinary Law]: it is a provision that is adopted by Parliament, with the approval of both the Houses – of “Deputies” and of “Senators”, is enacted by the President of the Italian Republic and published in the Official Gazette.

Legge regionale [Regional Law]: it is a provision approved by the Regional Council, enacted by the Regional President and published in the Official Gazette.

Legislatura [Legislature]: actual length of time of a parliamentary mandate (five years) for each House (of “Deputies” and of “Senators”), excepting in the cases in which they may be dissolved prematurely, or prorogated because of a war. It is articulated into “sessions” and “sittings”.


Maggioranza di governo [Government Majority]: coalition of Parties that has obtained the majority of seats in Parliament and that supports the Government.

Maggioritario Sistema [Majority System]: electoral formula that divides up national territory into uninominal or plurinominal constituencies. In uninominal constituencies, the seat is usually assigned to the candidate who has had the relative majority of votes. In plurinominal constituencies, the list that has obtained the relative majority of votes is given the absolute majority of seats or receives a bonus that is a greater number of seats than that which proportionally reflects the electoral result.

Magistratura [Magistracy]: in its wider sense this term includes the whole body of public functionaries, whether their offices are legislative, judicial, executive or administrative. In a more restricted and usual meaning, it denotes the class of officers who are charged with the application and execution of the Law.

Ministero [Ministry]: State bureaucratic apparatus that operates in a specific sector of Public Administration. It depends directly on the central organ of Government as a Minister, who administrates its activities, is placed at its head.

Ministro [Minister]: constitutional organ of the central Administration of the State. It has political and administrative functions and it contributes to the policies of Government in a specific sector of administrative activity.

Ministro senza portafoglio [Minister without Portfolio]: Minister invested with the political-constitutional authority of member of the Government as a collegial organ. He is not, however, at the head of a Ministry but is assigned to carry out tasks of political-administrative nature, which mostly consist in initiative, coordination and inspection functions.


Norma giuridica [Legal Norm]: abstract, general and prescriptive rule whose breach involves a sanction.

Norma interna [Internal Norm]: regulation made by a Public Administration regarding the carrying out of its functions and the way in which its activities are run.


Organizzazione per la Cooperazione e lo Sviluppo Economico [O.C.S.E. – Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development]: international organization set up in 1960 to aid the economic growth of its Members and the development of international trade.

Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite - ONU [United Nations – UN]: it has been founded in 1945 in order to guarantee peace and international security, economic and social development of the world’s populations and the respecting of human rights and fundamental liberties.

Ordinamento giudiziario [Judicial System]: set of norms that regulates judicial functions and the status of the people to which they are assigned.


Parlamento [Parliament]: constitutional organ elected by the citizens and made up of the “House of Deputies” and the “Senate of the Republic”. Its main functions are of a legislative, inspection and policy nature.

Parlamento Europeo [European Parliament]: legislative organ of the European Union, made up of the representatives of the people of the Member-States who are elected, as from 1979, every five years by direct universal suffrage.

Prassi amministrativa [Administrative Practice]: a succession of acts of similar kind carried out by the Public Administration, even without the belief they are obligatory. It is not a source of Law and has no effect on legal system, but it can be used for the interpretation of administrative acts.

Prassi costituzionale [Constitutional Practice]: repeated or customary actions with which constitutional organs concretely carry out their assigned tasks. Only a few specific “behavioral practices” followed by the constitutional organs of the State are derived from them.

Prefetto [Prefect]: representative of the Government in the Provinces. Nominated by a decree of the President of the Italian Republic on the suggestion of the Interior Minister and after a Cabinet consultation, he has functions that cover all branches of the State administration and, through the Provincial Committee for Public Order and Security, coordinates the strategy for public security in the Province together with the Police Superintender and other Provincial Commanders of the Police Force.

Presidente del Consiglio [Prime Minister]: constitutional organ that has the function of coordinating and directing the Council of Ministers. He is nominated by the President of the Italian Republic following a specific procedure that consists mostly in a series of consultations with Parties leaders and Houses Presidents. The Prime Minister creates the Government and draws up its program; he has also the power to propose the nomination of individual Ministers to the President of the Republic.

Presidente della Repubblica [President of the Republic]: he is the highest institutional office of the State and is elected by Parliament in a plenary sitting and the representatives of the Regions. All citizens over forty-nine years, who have full civil and political rights, can be elected to this office.

Presidenti delle Camere [Houses Presidents]: the Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are the organs that preside over the functioning of each House. A qualified majority is required for their election. Institutionally they are “impartial organs” and safeguard the autonomy of the Chambers with respect to other State Authorities. They hold “constitutional attributes” such as the power of extraordinary convocations of the Chambers and have the right to be consulted by the President of the Republic before the Chambers are dissolved.

Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri [Prime Minister’s Office]: institutional structure that supports the activity of the Prime Minister.

Presidenzialismo [Presidential System]: form of government characterized by a rigid separation of authority. In this system, the President is elected directly by the people and is contemporaneously Head of the State and Head of the Government.

Procedimento legislativo [Legislative Procedure]: set of acts aiming at the laws making in which both Chambers take part.

Procura della Repubblica [Office of the State Prosecutor]: office that is part of the Italian judicial system, to which the magistrates who carry out the functions of Public Prosecutor are assigned.

Promulgazione delle leggi [Enactment of Laws]: it is an act of laws control that must be carried out by the President of the Italian Republic within a month from the approval of both Chambers of Parliament. The President controls the law’s constitutional legitimacy. With enactment, the law becomes enforceable; binding effects for citizens, however, only follow the publication on the Official Gazette of the Republic.

Progetto di legge [Bill]: it is a normative text drafted in articles that is proposed for approval to one of two Chambers. It is presented by a Member of Parliament, the Government, at least fifty-thousand electors, a Regional Council or by the National Council for the Economy and Work (“Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro” – CNEL). The term is used above all in the Chamber of Deputies, where it is distinguished between disegno di legge” (to indicate a law proposed by the Government) and “proposta di legge” (which is proposed on different initiatives). In the Senate, the term “disegno di legge” is normally used for all legislative initiatives.

Proposta di legge [Bill]: expression that in the Italian Chamber of Deputies traditionally means a law that is not proposed at the Government initiative, whilst in the Senate the legislative initiatives are denominated as “disegni di legge”.

Provincia [Province]: territorial public body that is in between the Commune and the Region. At the head of each Province there is a President of the Provincial Government, who is elected directly by the citizens.

Provvedimento amministrativo [Administrative Provision]: public authority act that provides for one or more concrete cases and with respect to one or more subjects.

Pubblica Amministrazione [Public Administration]: the directly pre-ordained organs and activities that carry out the tasks and the aims considered to be of public interest by the State community.

Pubblicazione della legge [Publication of Law]: the act by which a law is officially made public. It is an act of communication that makes a law operative. A law is published – in the Official Gazette of the republic – within and not beyond thirty days from its enactment.

Pubblico Ministero [Public Prosecutor]: it is an organ of the State present at the “Corte di Cassazione” (Court of Cassation), at the “Corti di Appello” (Courts of Appeal), at the “Tribunali ordinari” (Ordinary Courts) and at the “Tribunali per i minorenni” (Juvenile Courts). Moreover, in each Office of the State Prosecutor attached to the Courts located in the District capitals there is a “Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia” (District Anti-Mafia Division). These divisions are made up of prosecutors specialized in investigating organized crimes. The offices of the “Pubblico Ministero” are held by career judges who exercise their functions under the supervision of the Minister of Justice. Their task is to ensure that the laws are observed, that justice is administered promptly and regularly, that the repression of crimes is promoted (they are entitled to start a criminal action) and that security measures are enforced.


Quorum: legal number required for an assembly or a collegial body voting to be valid.


Raccolta ufficiale degli atti normativi della Repubblica Italiana [Official collection of the normative acts of the Italian Republic]: contains legislative provisions of the State and all Government acts for solely documentary purposes.

Raccomandazioni [Recommendations]: this is the term used in European Community Law for acts emanated by the European Commission or by the Council of Europe that are not legally binding. They have the precise scope to oblige those to whom they are aimed to adopt a comportment judged to correspond more with the European Community interests.

Referendum: direct popular consultation of the electorate through a vote whose object is a legal text or a political question. It is the most important institution of direct democracy seeing as it is a tool by which the people exercises its sovereignty without the intercession of intermediaries. Our legal system envisages: a) the constitutional referendum, for the adoption of laws that modify or add to the Constitution; b) the repealing referendum, for the repeal of a law that is in force; c) the territorial referendum, for the modification of Regional, Communal or Provincial territory; d) the consultative referendum, non-legally binding on questions of particular relevance at the Regional level.

Regione [Region]: is a public territorial body which has legal and administrative competencies. A President who, depending on Regional Statutes, can be elected directly by the citizens or chosen by the Regional Assembly, heads it. There are “Special Statute Regions” for which the Constitution, for political, ethnic and economic reasons, reserves a special treatment and there are “Ordinary Statute Regions”.

Regolamenti [Regulations]: legal provisions that regulate specific matters within the limits set by the law. Governmental regulations are approved by a Presidential decree; ministerial regulations are approved by the competent Minister with a Ministerial decree.

Regolamenti comunitari [European Community Regulations]: are the most important normative sources for the European Community Law; they are legally binding and are applied directly in each State of the European Union.

Repubblica [Republic]: form of government in which the Head of State, who can be a single person or a body, is elected by the people directly or indirectly, i.e. through its representatives (Parliament).

Rinvio delle leggi (Potere di) [Returning of laws to the Chambers of Parliament, Power of]: power given by the Constitution to the President of the Republic; its exercise constitutes a veto that temporarily suspends the approval of a law by the Houses.

Risoluzione [Resolution]: in the European Community Law consists in an act adopted by the European Parliament that makes a unanimous statement on a report presented to it by one of its Committees. Resolutions are amongst the “atypical acts” of the European Community, especially when representatives of the Member-States, sitting as the Council of Europe, adopt them.

Risoluzione parlamentare [Parliamentary Resolution]: is a tool that has the function of parliamentary orientation. It can be presented in Assembly or in Committee.


Sanzione [Sanction]: consequence (fine, imprisonment, etc.) that a legal norm provides when it is broken.

Sentenza [Sentence]: jurisdictional provision containing a decision, pronounced by the judge in a trial. Normally it is the concluding or final act of a judgment. Its form is established by Law: it is passed “in the name of the Italian people”, with the title “Italian Republic”, and it contains a disposition (the pronouncement in short of the judge’s decision) and its grounds (the statement of reasons for decision in judgement).

Sindacati [Trade Unions]: collective organizations that represent the interest of specific categories of people (for example the workers).

Sindaco [Mayor]: individual, head of the Communal government and officer of the State.

Sistema elettorale [Electoral System]: complex of rules and procedures through which, on the basis of votes cast by the citizens, seats are assigned to the elected members.

Sovranità [Sovereignty]: authority to establish rules and to have them observed.

Stato [State]: territorial organization that is created through the political organization of a people that are stably set in a territory and under the authority of a government.

Stato federale [Federal State]: political organization where power is split by a system that allows the Member-States to conserve some sovereignty.


Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale (T.A.R.) [Regional Administrative Court]: organ of the Italian judicial system. Its jurisdiction covers the adjudication at first instance of administrative provisions appealed on grounds of legitimacy (that is of compliance with the law) damaging a legitimate interest (that is, the interest of an individual corresponding to a general public interest). In some contexts, the Court has the power to adjudicate on the merits of a case or has exclusive jurisdiction. The Regional Administrative Court has competence within its own geographical jurisdictional area, which coincides with regional boundaries and has its offices in the regional capital. It has several different divisions and decisions are made by a panel of three judges. Appeals against its decisions are made to the Council of State.

Testo Unico [Consolidation Act]: a collection of norms that regulate a particular matter. It is approved by a Presidential decree.

Trattati internazionali [International Treaties]: are sources of international Law. They are agreements through which the States establish common rules of behavior (financial, fiscal agreements, etc.) or institute or modify international bodies.

Tribunale [Ordinary Court]: has jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters over a geographical area called “circondario”. This Court may adjudicate as a collegiate court (with three judges sitting) or with only a single judge. The decisions of the Ordinary Court may be challenged on appeal to the Court of Appeal for reasons based on the facts giving rise to the dispute (on the merits) and before the Court of Cassation on appeal on grounds related either purely to the Law (relating to legal legitimacy) or to jurisdictional powers (jurisdictional grounds). The Ordinary Court also exercises the functions of a Tutelary Court together with other specific functions laid down by the Law.

Tribunale dei Ministri [Ministers Court]: special jurisdictional organ – organized by lot in each Court that is a seat of an Appeal Court District – that judges the penal responsibility of Ministers.


Unione Europea [European Union]: economic, political and institutional organization with very broad competencies to which the majority of European countries already belong.


Vacatio legis: period of time between the publication of a law and its coming into force.

Voto (diritto al) [Vote, right to]: it is the right, belonging to all citizens, to elect their representatives in Parliament or in other representative organs of the State (Regions, Provinces, Communes, Districts).


Welfare State: expression that indicates the system in which the State takes on the task of promoting the welfare of its citizens through institutional activity (health care, social security, pensions, etc.).

[1] Sarah E. Thomas, (“Carl A. KrochCornell University Library), in her interesting article L’impiego del Portale per l’individuazione di risorse elettroniche specialistiche (in Risorse elettroniche. Definizione selezione e catalogazione, Roma, 26-28 novembre 2001) says: “Il termine ‘portale’ è diventato molto di moda e spesso è usato in modo piuttosto improprio. Il New York Times cita più di 1.000 significati nei suoi articoli dal 1996, e ci sono centinaia di portali verticali (specializzati in una categoria di informazione, come una disciplina, o un gruppo di utenti, come gli accademici) o aperti, portali generali, come AOL ("America On Line")” (“The term ‘portal’ has become very fashionable and is often used in a rather incorrect way The New York Times cites more than 1.000 meanings in its articles from 1996, and there are hundreds of vertical portals (specialized in a category of information, like a discipline, or a user group, like academics) or open, general portals, like AOL (“America On Line”).

[2] See Marco Calvo, Fabio Ciotti, Gino Roncaglia, Marco Zela, Internet 2004, Bari, Laterza, 2004. A web portal, also known as a links page, presents information from diverse sources in a unified way; apart from the standard search engine feature, it offers other services such as e-mail, news, information and databases. Currently this book is freely downloadable online at https://www.liberliber.it/online/autori/autori-c/marco-calvo/internet-2004-manuale-per-luso-della-rete/.

[3] Among the examples, we can cite My Yahoo.

[4] Today, the TESEO classification system (“TEsauro del SEnato per l’Organizzazione dei documenti parlamentari” - Senate Thesaurus for the Organization of Parliamentary Documents) is used on the most important parliamentary databases of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies (bills, parliamentary questions and commissions, grey literature, Senate’s non-legislative procedures, etc.) and consists of a Thesaurus containing about 3.000 descriptors.