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Article

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

Case Study – Italy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2016
Keywords codification, consolidation, law revision, legal restatement, legislative scrutiny
Authors Enrico Albanesi
AbstractAuthor's information

    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).


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.
Practice

Bicameralism or Unicameralism

A Case of the United Kingdom and Uganda

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2010
Keywords unicameralism, bicameralism, legislative system of Uganda, legislative system of the UK
Authors Esther Majambere
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a unicameral legislative system and that of a bicameral legislative system. A unicameral legislature has one chamber whereas a bicameral legislature has two chambers as this article shows in detail.In any democratic state, Parliament is the only organ given power to make laws. Most Constitutions define legislation as the central function of parliament. This is supported by its very name ‘the Legislature’. The law making processes in a unicameral legislature are more less the same as those in a bicameral legislature as this article discusses. The only difference is that in a bicameral system the law has to be approved by both chambers. The article therefore explores whether the second chamber is necessary.Bicameralism seems to work best in countries that are larger or socially and ethnically diverse. It helps to resolve regional conflict. In some countries with a bicameral legislative system, the upper house is used as a way of reserving representation for certain societal groups and or to replace a further check on the power of the Lower House. The Parliament of UK is a bicameral legislature with the House of Lords (upper house) and the House of Commons (lower house). The House of Lords includes two different types of members- the Lord Spiritual (the senior bishops of the Church of England) and the Lords Temporal (members of the peerage upper ranks of the British nobility) elected by the population at large, but are appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. The House of Lords also performed a judicial role through the Law Lords prior to the opening of the Supreme Court. In theory, supreme legislative power is vested in the Queen-in-Parliament; in practice real power is vested in the House of Commons, as will be discussed in this article. Therefore how many chamber a parliament should have is a controversial question in constitutional law.


Esther Majambere
Esther Majambere is a Senior Legal Officer at the Uganda Law Reform Commission in Kampala, Uganda.
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