European Journal of Law Reform

Article

The Mechanisms Used to Review Existing Legislation in the Civil Law System

Case Study – Italy

Keywords codification, consolidation, law revision, legal restatement, legislative scrutiny
Authors Enrico Albanesi
Author's information

300203 Enrico Albanesi
Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Genoa (Italy) and Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), University of London. Co-leader of the IALS Law Reform Project.
  • Abstract

      The aim of this article is to describe the mechanisms that are used in the civil law system to review existing legislation. The case study will be based on the Italian system. In the civil law system we are not familiar with the concept of law reform, in the sense used in the common law system, because there is no law reform agency in the civil law world. The mechanisms used to review the existing law in civil law systems are: codification, consolidation, repeal, law revision and legal restatement. To understand how the mechanisms used to review existing legislation work in Italy, an overview of the Italian law-making and drafting processes will be carried out here, underlying the bad impact that the Italian equal bicameralism has on the quality of legislation and also on the mechanisms to review existing legislation. After this, the article will focus on the specific tools that are used in Italy for codification and consolidation (decreti legislativi), for law revision (the so-called taglia-leggi) and for legal restatement (examining the role of the Consiglio di Stato). Particular attention will also be paid to the parliamentary scrutiny on the quality of legislation. Finally, the article will focus on the constitutional amendment process Italy carried out in 2014-2016 and that was expected to fundamentally change the Italian law-making process, superseding the equal bicameralism arrangement (a referendum on this was held on 4 December 2016, and the reform was rejected by the Italian people).

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