The Italian Constitutional Court Opens Up to Hear the Voice of Civil Society

On January 8 2020, the Italian Constitutional Court gave civil society a voice on the issues discussed before it. The Court amended the regulations governing the conduct of proceedings before it and puts itself in a position where it is able take account of expert opinions as well as civil society stakeholders.

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Shying Away from Strasbourg

Last week, the Italian Constitutional Court published its reasoning on a judgment regarding the so-called ergastolo ostativo (life sentence without parole). The challenged provision excludes persons convicted of serious crimes – primarily mafia-type – from a series of benefits (for example, permits and conditional release) in the event that they do not want to collaborate with the authorities. Italy’s Constitutional Court now held that this provision is not in line with the constitution but missed a chance to give full effect to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

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Not to be Pushed Aside: the Italian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice

A few days ago, with the decision no 20/2019, the Italian Constitutional Court (ICC) has set a new cornerstone in its relationship with EU law and, in particular, with the judicial treatment of issues covered by both national fundamental rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In so doing, the Consulta shows the intention to act as a pivotal institution in the field of judicial protection of fundamental rights.

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Two Courts, two Languages? The Taricco Saga Ends on a Worrying Note

The epic story of the confrontation between the Italian Constitutional Court (ICC) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that has become known under name Taricco has come to an end at last – somewhat different than expected, but nevertheless. On May 31 the ICC has handed down its final judgment. The hatchet between the Courts is buried. But the way it was done by the ICC is by no means conciliatory.

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Constitutional Rights First: The Italian Constitutional Court fine-tunes its “Europarechts­freundlichkeit”

Only a few days after the Court of Justice of the European Union buried the hatchet in the so-called Taricco saga, the Italian Constitutional Court issued a decision that may inaugurate the most significant shift of its jurisprudence in European affairs since 1984, when the Constitutional Court fully accepted the principle of primacy of EU law and blessed the disapplication of national legislation incompatible with EU law.

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The Opinion of Advocate General Bot in Taricco II: Seven “Deadly” Sins and a Modest Proposal

The wind of populism is blowing across Europe and courts (including constitutional and supreme courts) are not immune therefrom. Within this context, the enforcement of the constitutional identity clause to contrast the application and, sometimes, the primacy of EU law would be a powder keg waiting to be lit. In the latest act in the Taricco saga, Advocate General Bot in his opinion in Taricco II does nothing to defuse it – on the contrary.

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Halving the “Italicum”: The Italian Constitutional Court and the Reform of the Electoral System

The Italian electoral system is currently hotly debated. With the so called “Italicum” former PM Renzi had introduced a fundamental reform. After the 2016 Referendum on it, the Constitutional Court now literally cut the law in half.

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An Instruction Manual to Stop a Judicial Rebellion (before it is too late, of course)

2016 was not a good year for the EU. Among many other things, one of the EU’s proudest achievements, its judiciary, has shown the first signs of worrying instability: In Germany, Denmark and Italy, high-level courts have openly and harshly declared their dissatisfaction with rulings by the European Court of Justice. I would not say that these are nationalist overreactions. These are worrying (and I would add justified) signs of something going wrong.

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The Italian Constitutional Court in re Taricco: “Gauweiler in the Roman Campagna”

The Italian Constitutional Court’s Tarrico judgement is worded in apparently much milder terms than the BVerfG’s preliminary reference in Gauweiler. The content of the ICC’s decision, though, seems loaded with much more dynamite. In Gauweiler, the CJEU was called to interpret an act of another EU institution. In Taricco, the CJEU is called to reinterpret its own decision, after the ICC essentially asked “please, say it again?”

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