Guide to Italian Legal Research and Resources on the Web


By Elio Fameli and Fiorenza Socci


Elio Fameli holds a law degree from the University of Florence. He is a Research Director at the ITTIG – “ Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica ” (“Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques”), previously known as IDG (“ Istituto per la Documentazione Giuridica ” – “Institute for Legal Documentation”) –, an organ of the Italian National Research Council. At this Institute he is currently responsible for the “Information Technology and Law” section; moreover he is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Institute and Co-ordinator of the “Cognitive Models and Knowledge Representation and Management Systems in Law” Project. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the international journal “ Informatica e diritto ”. He published numerous scientific contributions on the application of artificial intelligence to the law (legal reasoning, legal expert systems, decision-support and advisory systems in the Law, advanced tools for online legal information retrieval, etc.), “Computer Law”, and the dissemination of legal information on Internet. In his most recent research activity he has paid special attention to the right of the citizen to information on the environment and to the dissemination of legal and legal-environmental information on Internet (see the volumes: E. Fameli, A. Cammelli, Diritto all’informazione ambientale e sistemi informativi orientati al cittadino , Padua, CEDAM, 1996, 435 pp.; E. Fameli, A. Cammelli, Informatica, Diritto, Ambiente. Tecnologie dell’informazione e diritto , Naples, ESI, 1997, 253 pp.; Fameli et alii, Diritto alla vita e diritto all’ambiente nel lessico costituzionale e nella dottrina giuridica. Strumenti e metodi per l’analisi linguistico-concettuale , Florence, S.T.A.R., 2003, 160 pp.).


Fiorenza Socci has a degree in law from the University of Florence. She is a Senior Researcher at the “Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica” (ITTIG – “Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques”) of the Italian National Research Council. She carries out her research activities in various sectors, such as the domain of legal lexicography. W ithin the domain of “legal knowledge-based systems” she has taken part in the building of legal expert systems, and she has written numerous publications on legal knowledge representation systems. She has collaborated in the designing of a database of references to materials of legal and administrative interest on Internet (database called “ Diritto Italia ” – “Italian Law”) and has participated in the “ Norme in Rete ” (NIR – “Legislation on the Net”) Project, promoted by the Italian Ministry of Justice, for implementing a service of unified, free of charge, access to legal materials coming from public sources on the Web. She teaches courses and seminars on the access to legal information on the Web.


Translated from Italian by Deirdre Exell Pirro .


Published September/October 2007
Originally Published March 2005)



General Table of Contents

Introduction: Italian Legal System

A. Printed Sources of Italian Law

B. Online Italian legal Information: Portals, Search Engines, Guides, Web Sites of Legal Interest

C. Italian Legislation, Jurisprudence and Legal Authority on the Net: Institutional Web Sites, Off-line Databases, Mailing Lists and Newsgroups

D. Appendices

1. Main Italian legal web sites

2. Glossary of the most frequently used Italian legal terms

Analytical Table of Contents

Introduction: Italian Legal System

A. Printed Sources of Italian Law

1. Printed Sources of a General Nature

1.1. Legislation

1.2. Jurisprudence

1.3. Legal Authority

2. Sources of Italian Public Law

2.1. Public Law Legislation

2.1.1. The Italian Constitution

2.1.2. Constitutional Laws

2.1.3. Acts of the Constituent  Assembly

2.1.4. Other Laws of Public Law Interest

2.2. Public Law Jurisprudence

2.3. Public Law Legal Authority

3. Sources of Italian Civil Law

3.1. Civil Law Legislation

3.1.1. The Civil Code

3.1.2. Other Laws of Civil Law Interest

3.1.3. Private Collections of Thematic Legislation

3.2. Civil Law Jurisprudence

3.3. Civil Law Legal Authority

4. Sources of Italian Criminal Law

4.1. Criminal Law Legislation

4.1.1. “Ordinary Criminal Law”: the Criminal Code and the Penitentiary Legal System

4.1.2. “Special (or Complementary) Criminal Law”

4.1.3. Other Laws of Criminal Law Interest

4.2. Criminal Law Jurisprudence and Legal Authority

B. Online Italian legal Information: Portals, Search Engines, Guides, Web Sites of Legal Interest

1. Portals

1.1. Institutional Portals

1.2. Private Portals

2. Search Engines

3. Guides

4. Web Sites of Legal Interest

4.1. Parliament, Government and Ministries

4.1.1. “Parlamento Italiano”

4.1.2. “Governo e Ministeri”

4.2. Organs and Bodies of National Importance

4.3. Local Public Bodies and Civic Networks

4.4. Courts and Judicial Offices

4.5. European Institutions

4.6. Universities and Research Bodies

4.7. Professional Orders, Associations and Trade Unions

4.8. Private Iniziative Sites

4.9. Publishing Houses

4.10. Online Law Journals

4.11. Law Libraries

C. Italian Legislation, Jurisprudence and Legal Authority on the Net: Institutional Web Sites, Off-line Databases, Mailing Lists and Newsgroups

1. The NIR – “Norme In Rete” (Italian Legislation on the Net) Project

1.1. Search Functions and Online Utilities

2. The “Suprema Corte di Cassazione” (Italian Supreme Court of Cassation) Databases

3. The Italian Legal Authority Portal

4. CD-ROMs

5. Mailing Lists and Newsgroups

D. Appendices

1. Main Italian Legal Web Sites

1.1 Italian Parliament, Government, and Ministries

1.1.1 Italian Parliament

1.1.2 President of the Italian Republic

1.1.3 Italian Government

1.1.4 Ministers without Portfolio

1.2 Italian Public Bodies

1.2.1 Regions

1.2.2 Provinces

1.2.3 Communes

1.3 Judicial Bodies and Offices

1.4 Associations and Labour Unions

1.5 Traditional and Online Magazines

1.6 Private Iniziative Web Sites

1.7 Law Libraries

1.8 Research Institutions

1.9 Italian Legal Documentation

1.9.1 Legislation

1.9.2 Jurisprudence

1.9.3 Parliamentary Acts

1.9.4 Legal Authority

1.10 Web Guides to Italian Law

1.11 Italian Search Engines and Portals

1.12 European Community, Foreign  and International Law

2. Glossary of the Most Frequently Used Italian Legal Terms

3. Free of Charge Databases



Introduction: Italian Legal System


On the European Continent, legal systems can be said to have various origins, but in particular, to have descended from classical Roman Law, which became with time “ jus civile ”, and can be distinguished in many ways from the “Common Law”. 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 tradition. The former, concerning Private Law, draws its sources from ancient Roman law (the “ Institutiones ”, “ Digesta ”, “ Codex ” and “ Novellae ”) and substantially still 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 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, influencing in a decisive manner the order of the powers of the individual and of the State and, above all, the relationship between the citizen 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 19 th 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 entire 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 5 Codes (“Codice Civile”, “Codice di Procedura Civile”, “Codice penale”, “Codice di Procedura Penale”, “Codice della Navigazione” – Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Navigation). An English translation of the Italian Constitution text , revised and updated to 2003, is in A. Tschentscher (ed.), International Constitutional Law (version edited by C. Fusaro ). This translation has been realized for International Constitutional Law (ICL), a scientific organization that translated also other Constitutions in the world, providing a special kind of cross references among different constitutional texts.

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 “Jurisprudencial Law”, in which just the judges make law, binding by means of their sentences the following judicial decisions. The distinction between “Private Law” and “Public Law”, absent in the “Common Law systems”, on the contrary characterizes the “Civil Law systems”.

Legislative Power is exercised by the “Parlamento” [Parliament]: that is 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.

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 advisory role over the Executive.

Judicial Power is exercised by magistrates distinguished in functions and competencies as follows. “ 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 – Sigola 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.


A. Printed Sources of Italian Law

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. Printed Sources of a General Nature


1.1. Legislation

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


I) Both official and private publications belong to the former category. 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 Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, represents 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 the date of its adoption, 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 it is provided with annual indexes.

The “Bollettini ufficiali regionali” constitute a collection of legislative acts passed by the legislative bodies of the twenty Italian Regions (in Sicily, a region under a special statute, the collection is called the “Gazzetta Ufficiale”).

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 “Gazzette” and the “Bollettini ufficiali”. Within this category, we shall only mention the following as the main works of this kind:

a) Lex , 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.

b) Le leggi d’Italia , a fortnightly journal published by Zanichelli of Bologna, collects together the laws, decrees and all the other legislative measures found in the “Gazzetta Ufficiale”, following its order of publication. The journal also includes the laws and regulations enacted by the legislative bodies of the Regions, as well as the provisions of the European Union and the rulings of the Constitutional Court. The material is provided with a classification system and indexing common to the other publications of “Il Foro Italiano”.

c) La legislazione italiana , edited by Giuffré of Milan, collects together the legislative acts of the State, Regions and the autonomous Provinces, as well as the European Community, bills, decisions of the Constitutional Court, appeals and remissions of actions of the same Court.

d) Le leggi d’Italia , edited by V. De Martino (De Agostini, Novara), publishes the text in force of the primary laws of the State, excluding,  therefore,   secondary sources of the Italian State, but also  primary sources of the Regions and the EU. It is a loose-leaf work, divided into headings and sub-headings, continually updated and also available on CD-ROM.


II) Tools for consultation which do not contain legislative texts but only contain references to them belong to the latter category mentioned earlier. From the typological point of view, we can distinguish the publications which are set out in the following:

a) “Digests” are made up of special periodical journals containing lists of legislative acts and also “massime” (case 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).

b) 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.

c) The “Appendices to Encyclopedia Headings”, usually provided in order 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: the “Enciclopedia del Diritto”, published by Giuffré since 1958, which is currently composed of more than 46 volumes; the “Novissimo Digesto Italiano”, edited by UTET in 20 volumes starting from 1957 and then updated with later volumes; and the “Enciclopedia Giuridica”, published by the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana up until 1997 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 one is 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.

a) Journals

Some journals are, exclusively or mainly, specialised 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 abstracts) – without any kind of official nature, in that they have been compiled by the editors of the journal itself – which summarise 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. The journal Giurisprudenza di merito is, instead, specialised in the publication of the decisions of the Magistrate’s Courts, the Courts and the Courts of Appeal.

b) “ 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).

c) “ Repertori ” (Digests)

The digests annually publish only the “massime” (case abstracts) of all the decisions and other judicial measures published 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 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).


1.3. Legal Authority

There is a very 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.

a) 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 since 1964 which appears annually. In this work, all the articles which have appeared since 1865, in the journals examined are classified on the basis of a special index, as well as law books published since 1964.

b) 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); Diritto , 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, 1997).

c) Dictionaries

We shall only mention some of the more recent: the Dizionario enciclopedico del diritto , diretto da F. Galgano (Padua, CEDAM, 1996); the Nuovo Dizionario enciclopedico del diritto edited by F. Del Giudice (Edizioni Simone, 1998); the Nuovo Dizionario giuridico (Edizioni Simone, 1998); the Dizionario delle discipline giuridiche (CD-Rom, Edizioni Simone, 1999).

d) 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, vols. 20, plus 7 volumes updating it as an Appendix ) 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, vols. 32, plus 1 vol. of indexes and 6 issues updating it) 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. Sources of Italian 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 1st 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.

Among the English translations of the text of the Italian Constitution, we shall only mention a few here: The Constitution of the Italian Republic. Rules of the Chamber of Deputies (Rome, Camera dei Deputati, Segreteria Generale, 1990); Constitutions of the Countries of the World. Italy , edited by A.P. Blauistein and G.H. Flanz (Vol. IX, Dobbs Ferry, New York, Oceana, 1994). An English translation of the text of the Italian Constitution , revised and updated to 2003, can currently be found A. Tschentscher (ed.),   International Constitutional Law (see also the version edited by C. Fusaro ). It is a translation, prepared by International Constitutional Law (ICL), a scientific organisation which 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.

The Commentario della Costituzione, in thirty volumes, edited by G. Branca and A. Pizzorusso (Zanichelli, Bologna, 1975-1996), is still today the most complete treatise on Italian Constitutional Law.


2.1.2. Constitutional Laws

After its promulgation, the Italian Constitution was integrated with numerous Constitutional Laws, passed within the period between 1948 and 2003. 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 Web site of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Italy , which can be consulted in five languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish), rather than paper-based sources.

In particular, it should be noted that when the reform of Title V of the Constitution (Constitutional Law No. 3/2001) was passed, it 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, 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:

a)        Constitutional Law 30 May 2003, No. 1, which amended article 51 of the Constitution and provided the necessary constitutional cover for the enactment of legislative acts aimed at stimulating the participation of women in political life;

b)        Law 20 June 2003, No. 140, under which immunity from criminal proceedings was introduced for the highest offices of the State (President of the Republic, of the Chamber of Deputies, Senate, Council of Ministers and the Constitutional Court);

c)         Comments on the Draft European Constitution.


2.1.3. Acts of the Constituent Assembly

The preparatory work 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 eleven 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”.

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 was an actual analytical index 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 five proper Italian Codes, which collect together the fundamental rules in force within the field of civil law, civil procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure and navigation.

Amongst 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 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); Le leggi fondamentali del diritto pubblico e costituzionale , edited by M. Bassani, V. Italia, C.E. Traverso (Milan, Giuffré, 1998); the work by L. Pegoraro, L. Coen, R. Scarciglia, Istituzioni di diritto pubblico e diritto costituzionale. Testi normativi (Giappichelli, Turin, 1999); the Codice delle leggi amministrative fondamentali , edited by L. Tramontano (Hoepli, Turin, 1999); and the Atlante normativo di diritto costituzionale by M. Carducci (Giuffré, Milan, 1999).



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 (Giuffré, Milan), which publishes the “massime” (case 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, Milan), which, since 1982, 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, Milan); and I Tribunali amministrativi regionali (Italedi, Milan).



2.3. Public Law Legal Authority

a) 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, Diritto costituzionale , Giuffré, Milan, 1997; P. Barile, E. Cheli, S. Grassi, Istituzioni di diritto pubblico , CEDAM, Padua, 1998; and G.U. Rescigno, Corso di diritto pubblico , Zanichelli, Bologna, 1999.

For Parliamentary Law, reference should be made to: A.P. Tanda, Le norme e la prassi del Parlamento italiano , Colombo, Rome, 1996; M.L. Mazzoni Honorati, Lezioni di diritto parlamentare , Giappichelli, Turin, 1997; S. Tosi, A. Mannino, Diritto parlamentare , Giuffré, Milan, 1999.

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, 1998; S. Cassese, Le basi del diritto amministrativo , Garzanti, Milan, 1998; and G. Landi, G. Potenza, V. Italia, Manuale di diritto amministrativo , Giuffré, Milan, 1999.

b) Journals

The main journals in which authoritative contributions in the sector of public law are published include the following: the Rivista trimestrale di diritto pubblico (Milan, Giuffré), Diritto pubblico (CEDAM, Padua), Quaderni costituzionali (Il Mulino, Bologna), Politica del diritto (Il Mulino, Bolona), 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. Sources of Italian 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 one edition rather than another, the accuracy of the transcription of the official text, its updating with the later provisions of repealing laws or the amendment of individual articles and with the 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 of the four 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 from among the greatest experts in the various sectors of civil law. The work, in this case, only available on CD-ROM, contains comments on all the articles of the Civil Code updated with the introduction of the most recent legislation and case law. Special attention is paid to the articles of Book V, the object of the recent company law reform, in force since 1st January 2004, including the Ministerial Report by way of explanation and comment. The database of case law, especially rich in material in the first edition, has been further widened and today contains approximately 33,000 documents, while the legislation database has been updated up until the early months of 2003.

a) 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 breve al Codice civile by Cian and Trabucchi (CEDAM, Padua) and the Commentario al Codice civile by Cendon, published in seven volumes (UTET, Turin).

b) 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 (Milan, Giuffré, 1940-’43).


3.1.2. Other Laws of Civil Law 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 case law, there are journals and “Massimari”, digests and reviews, edited by the major Italian publishing houses specialised in this legal domain.

a) Journals

The following journals contain civil law case law: 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).

b) “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.


3.3. Civil Law Legal Authority

a) Handbooks

We will mention only the most important and popular titles: Trabucchi, Istituzioni di diritto civile (CEDAM, Padua); Torrente, Istituzioni di diritto privato (Giuffré, Milan; the later editions were updated by Schlesinger); G. Branca, Istituzioni di diritto privato (Zanichelli, Bologna); P. Rescigno, Manuale del diritto privato italiano (Jovene, Naples); P. Trimarchi, Istituzioni di diritto privato (Giuffré, Milan).

The following works are dedicated to commercial law as a subdivision of private law: Cottino, Diritto commerciale CEDAM, Padua, vols. 2; G. Ferri, Manuale di diritto commerciale (UTET, Turin); Galgano, Diritto commerciale (Zanichelli, Bologna, vols. 2); Graziani, Minervini, Manuale di diritto commerciale (Morano, Naples).

Instead, the following have labour law as their specific theme and they include: Assanti, Corso di diritto del lavoro (CEDAM, Padua); Mazziotti, Diritto del lavoro (ETS, Pisa); Mazzoni, Manuale di diritto del lavoro (Giuffré, Milan); Pera, Diritto del lavoro (CEDAM, Padua); Riva-Sanseverino, Diritto del lavoro (CEDAM, Padua).

b) 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); F. Galgano, Diritto civile e commerciale (CEDAM, Padua, 1999, vols. 5); and, finally, the Trattato di diritto privato , directed by P. Rescigno (UTET, Turin).

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 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 Cicu and F. Messineo and followed by Mengoni (Giuffré, Milan); the Trattato di diritto civile directed by Grosso and Santoro-Passarelli (Vallardi, Milan) and the Trattato di diritto civile directed by 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 Riva-Sanseverino and Mazzoni (CEDAM, Padua).

c) Commentaries

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. The Commentario del codice civile , edited by university professors and judges (UTET, Turin) is more concise and is of a prevalently informative nature, although it is still unfinished.

d) 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.

e) 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.

f) 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 path 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. Sources of Italian Criminal Law


4.1. 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.



4.1.1. “Ordinary Criminal Law”: the Criminal Code and the Penitentiary Legal System

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 1 July 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 abstracts) of the cited cases (16,000) and all the legislative references (850 provisions currently in force) 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.



4.1.2. “Special (or Complementary) Criminal Law”

Among the many other sources which give life to so-called “ 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:

a) the Codice penale militare di pace [Military Criminal Code in Peacetime] and the Codice penale militare di guerra [Military Criminal Code in Wartime] (R.D. 20/2/1941, No. 303), as well as Law 23/3/1956, No. 167 and Law 11/7/1978, No. 382, amending the former, which constitute so-called “ Military  Criminal  Law ”;

b) Law 7/1/1929, No. 4, having as its object the suppression of breaches of financial laws. This Law, together with D.L. (Decree Law) No. 429/1982, converted into Law No. 516/1982, constitutes the principal source of so-called “ Criminal Tax Law ”, which punishes “fiscal crimes”, harmful to a financial interest of the State, and for which there are partially different rules from those found in ordinary criminal law;

c) D.L. No. 20/7/1934, No. 1400, converted into Law of 27/5/1935, No. 835, for the establishment and functioning of the Juvenile Courts, with amendments made under D.L. of 15/11/1938, No. 1208, and by Law 13/10/1965, No. 1771, which constitute the sources  “ Juvenile Criminal Law ”;

d) D.P.R. (Decree of the President of the Republic) 27/10/1958, No. 956, on regulating road traffic (the so-called Road Code ), amended by Law 26/4/1959, No. 207, and by Law 14/2/1974, No. 62, as well as by Law 3/5/1967, No. 317, on the decriminalisation of the regulations on road traffic;

e) the Consolidated Law on Public Safety (R.D. 18/6/1931, No. 773, with amendments under D.L.L. 10/12/1944, No. 419, and Law 27/12/1956, No. 1423), which continues to survive despite attacks by the Constitutional Court and bills to reform it.


4.1.3. Other Laws of Criminal Law Interest

Among the numerous laws in which criminal regulations can be found, apart from the Civil Code itself, we shall only mention the Royal Decrees 14/12/1933, No. 1669, 21/12/1933, No. 1736, 15/12/1990, No. 386 (on promissory notes, cheques, etc.), the R.D. 16/3/1942, n, 267 (on bankruptcy), which constitute the sources of so-called  “ Commercial Criminal Law ”; the “ Code of Navigation ” (R.D. 31/1/1941, No. 327); the Consolidated Law on Customs (D.P.R. 23/1/1973, No. 43); the Law on Hunting of 5/6/1939, No. 1016 (amended by Law 2/8/1967, No. 799); the Law on Fishing of 8/10/1931, No. 1604; the  Consolidated Law on Public Health (27/7/1934, No. 1265); the Law on the Press of 9/2/1948, No. 47; the D.P.R. 9/10/1990, No. 309, on drugs ;  Law 20/2/1958, No. 75, on prostitution ; Law 2/12/1967, No. 895, and  Law 18/4/1975, No. 110, on arms ;  Law 9/10/1967, No. 962, on genocide ; 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.


4.2. Criminal Law Jurisprudence and Legal Authority

a) 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 fifty 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 Progresso of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, it deals with legal authority and  legislation, but not with case law, within the field of criminal law, criminological sciences, forensic medicine and administrative law) and the Rivista giuridica di polizia (bimonthly, Maggioli, Rimini).



b) 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, 2003, pp. XXV+1078; F. Antolisei, L. Conti, Istituzioni di diritto penale , Milan, Giuffré, 2000, pp. XX+460; F. Antolisei, Manuale di diritto penale , Parte generale (updated and fully revised by L. Conti), Giuffré, Milan, 2003, pp. XXIX+864; Id., Manuale di diritto penale , Parte speciale I (updated and fully edited by L. Conti), Giuffré, Milan, 2002, pp. XII+602; Id., Manuale di diritto penale , Parte speciale II (updated and fully edited by L. Conti), Giuffré, Milan, 2003, pp. X.+666; A. Pagliaro, G. Tranchino, Istituzioni di diritto e procedura penale , Giuffré, Milan, 2000, pp. 364; G. Marinucci, E. Dolcini, Manuale di diritto penale , Giuffré, Milan, 2004; P. Tonini, Manuale di Procedura penale, Giuffré, Milan, 2003; F. Del Giudice, R. Marino, Diritto e Procedura penale e Leggi di Pubblica Sicurezza , Edizioni Simone, 2004, 1008 pp.; F. Mantovani, Diritto penale , CEDAM, Padua, 2001, pp. LX+1028.


B. Online Italian Legal Information:  Portals, Search Engines, Guides, Sites of Legal Interest


1. Portals

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 [i] and which include sites with very different features under the same label. 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” [ii] .

Roughly speaking, portals are generally divided into two large sub-classes:

·        horizontal (or generalist) portals aimed at an undifferentiated user group, with a variety of contents ranging over all kinds of knowledge (e.g., Yahoo! , Lycos and, in Italy, Virgilio and SuperEva .);

·        vertical portals (also called Vortal or niche portals), aimed at a well defined user group and focused on specific sectors (for example, for the Law : NormeInRete , among institutional portals; IusSeek and FiloDiritto , among private portals).

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

·        Search Tools ”: we have already indicated search engines and directories;

·        Channels ”: thematic sections through which each portal organizes the information;

·        Services ”: Mailing lists, newsgroups and forums, lists of links to sites of interest, often divided by category, collaborations ( through sending of articles, proceedings, papers and theses ), online advice, reviews, surveys, reports, FAQ, chat, online courses;

·        Utilities (secondary services): found in a very large number of portals, aimed both at professionals in specific sectors (e.g., staying within the legal domain, software for notaries, public registers, Court fees , calculation of legal interest, notes of registration on a roll, monetary revaluation, Chamber of Commerce searches, Land Registry searches, checks of VAT numbers, calendar of Court hearings, domicile elections), and simple users (such as forms of every type, looking for and offers of work or property rents/sales, automatic translations, encyclopedias, glossaries for company searches , Euro-converters, questionnaires, price lists, sending SMS free-of-charge , bank codes , information regarding tax codes, calculation of road tax, property tax, VAT code, maps, weather reports, traffic, latest news, railway timetable, highways, underground railways, airports, phone books, telephone codes, yellow pages, postal codes , hotel searches, TV programmes , finding films at the cinema and so on);

·        Customization Systems ”: through which the user creates a customized version of the portal’s interface [iii] .



1.1. Institutional Portals

Among the Institutional Portals, an important place should, undoubtedly, be attributed to the following site: ”, the Italian portal at the service of the citizen. Created by the “Dipartimento per l’Innovazione e le Tecnologie” (Department for Innovation and Technologies), in collaboration with the Public Administrations and Bodies which provide citizens with services, it presents itself as a “unitary, intuitive and rapid, access point to online information and services”. It is a very well organized site, clear in its graphics and approach and of great social interest. Through its search engine, it allows a user to carry out an advanced search, with the possibility of using synonyms. It is a meeting point for over 3.000 sites of the Italian Public Administration, with more than 1.000 pages of information and services.

In particular:

·         in the “Events of Everyday Life” section, the citizen can find all the information and services regarding every aspect of daily life (education, employment, travel, health, entertainment);

·         in the “Administration from A to Z” section, the user can carry out a search in order to learn all the steps necessary for taking advantage of the Public Administration services (the documents to present, the office where he/she should go, the correct addresses, hours and landmarks);

·         in the “Your Guides” section, the entire world of public services are organized by subject matter and many vade-mecums are available for understanding the rights and duties of the citizen.

There are also sections dedicated to searching for employment, to finding many different kinds of forms, and to setting out the pages of institutional sites which make material of public interest available, as well as newsletters, FAQs and, finally, a service, edited by Il Sole 24 Ore , thanks to which the citizen can ask for helpful advice via e-mail and receive an answer within 15 days. The start of the portal coincided with the activation of the “ ” domain, which – as the Ministro per l’Innovazione e le Tecnologie (Minister for Innovation and Technologies) declared – “will have the scope of allowing citizens to easily identify the sites of the Administrations and of guaranteeing the security and reliability of the information found on them”. This Web Site is continuously improving, providing citizens with more and more advanced services.


Among the institutional portals, NormeInRete holds a very important position, but we describe it later on. Here we shall only mention a few private sites.



Figure 1 : Home Page of the Portal “”




1.2. Private Portals

1) “ FiloDiritto ”: this is one of the most recent sites in the legal domain. It is very rich and well organized and is useful not only to the lawyer but also to the citizen; it can be queried in five languages and it is also provided with an advanced search engine. The simplicity of its interface increases its appeal.

The following are among its services:

·        “FAQ” : with the answers to questions of general legal interest;

·        “Legal Utilities” : aids directed at lawyers and ordinary users, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, glossaries, public registers, company searches, software for public notaries, Euro-converters, forms, price lists and so on;

·        Reviews : in this section, subdivided into two large areas of books and journals, the user can find the most relevant recently published law publications. The idea is to provide a dual service, for both books and for journals: on the one hand, there is a complete and up-to-date list of the latest publications; on the other, an annotated anthology which picks out, within the mare magnum of law publishing, the most interesting contributions and in this context inserts the reviews written by those collaborating with the site;

·        Links ”: to Italian and foreign sites of legal interest, as well as useful addresses for lawyers and users;

·        “Law Firms” : found on the Web, subdivided by region, province and subject matter (with an advanced search engine);

·        “Legal Forums” : Newsgroups (registration is not compulsory but open and free-of-charge);

·        “Legislation, Jurisprudence, Legal Authority, Practice” : these can be searched through analytical indexes, subject indexes, or automatic searches. The subject matter relates to Private Law (Civil Law, Commercial Law, Bankruptcy Proceedings, Civil Proceedings, Legal Informatics, Community Law, Foreign Law, Roman Law), Public Law (Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Environmental Law and Security Law, Tax Law, Labour Law, International Law, Community Law, Ecclesiastic Law, Foreign Law, Roman Law), Criminal Law (Criminal Law, Criminal Proceedings, Forensic Medicine, Community Law, Foreign Law) and their relative sub-headings;

·        “Court Decisions” : reported by various parties and considered by those responsible for the site worthy of publication for the topical interest of the material dealt with, for its complexity, or for the outcome of the decision; in effect, this section offers a space for cases which have not as yet been dealt with in specialised law journals with any particular attention.


This Web Site, actually one of the best Italian legal Web resources, has been deeply modified whether graphically or from the point of view of the contents.


The HomePage is divided into three sections. The central section contains news related to the latest significant Court decisions, recent articles of legal literature, news about Courses and Conferences, quotations from famous literary works of legal interest, information about the present database and the possibility of querying the old database. In the left section of the HomePage we can consult – by means of a simple search, or an advanced search, or an analytical index – a large database containing statutes, sentences, articles of legal literature and praxis in relation to private Law, commercial Law, social Law, obligations and contracts Law, labour and security Law, privacy Law and civil liability, new technologies Law, and information and communication Law. Among the legal utilities we can find: links to legal texts (statutes, sentences), registration of suits, administrative appeals processes, dictionaries, encyclopedias, deontological codes and other utilities (jurisdictional bodies, registration fees, forensic tariffs, Law-List, firms databases, tax calculation, etc.). In the right section of the HomePage i t is possible to enter the Newsletter, to consult online Law offices, to contribute to the Site, to link to the section “ArteDiritto”, devoted to the different forms of art that are interested in Law.



Figure 2 : Home Page of the Portal “FiloDiritto”


2) “ IusSeek ”. It defines itself as “a legal newspaper, search engine and portal but, above all, a community”. The site was created by “IusOnDemand” , already cited above with regard to intelligent agents. It is one of the main portals for lawyers and is furnished with various and sophisticated tools for research (amongst which a search engine with a proprietary database exclusively dedicated to the Law: there are several tens of thousands of indexed pages) broadly ranging among the different branches of the Law.

Among its services are:

·        Books : book reports (description, table of contents, summary and price);

·        Newsletters ”: divided into various parts (general, specialized, of special interest, newsgroups);

·        Links : a large number, subdivided by subject matter and type (Institutions, Private Citizens, Search Engines, Court Decisions, Law Journals, Laws, Lawyers, Courts);

·        Forum (managed by civil lawyers for civil lawyers) in which experts in the subject matter present their considerations with regard to the various interpretations of the Law;

·        Collaboration : the user can write a message free-of-charge to have it disseminated via the Internet.

·        IusVision ”: it calls itself an “expert system” and it allows the user to search by choosing the type of information source on which to carry out the search, for example, on documents, laws, decisions, or news. However, these groups are not well defined. Legal authority, for example, is spread over more than one section and it is, therefore, not possible to make an accurate search. It is also generally suggested that the user should search other information sources, such as commercial search engines, the “ Books ” section (limited to a selection, the criteria for which are not documented), or the Official Gazette, etc. The search on general search engines is filtered through the automatic insertion of the word “Law” linked to the term used in the query, in this way restricting the search field. It also offers the possibility for different kinds of searches: simple, advanced or combined searches;

·        Dictionary ”: a database created interactively with the user, based on the free association of legal institutions .



Figure 3 : Home Page of the Portal “IusSeek”


2. Search Engines


1) “ 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 from it. 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. However, the earlier version also remains operational. “Cicerone” is worth remembering because it is one of the few private search engines which are available free of charge with the legal domain.




Figure 4 : Home Page of the Search Engine “Cicerone”



2) “ Quid Juris ” – “Il metamotore della ricerca giuridica in Italia” (, Google Custom Search, powered by is a recent search engine available free of charge for the legal domain.




Figure 5 : Home Page of the Search Engine “Quid Juris”



3) Arancia OutLaw ” - Among the recent legal search engines “ Arancia OutLaw ” is directed to students of Law, Lawyers and other professionals in the field. Only documents and Web pages of legal interest are indexed. The site HomePage is very simple, containing a dialogue window provided with some fundamental options, such as “Help”, “Legal Comments”, and “Suggestions”. There is no notice in the site about the developers of it. The data contained in the “Arancia OutLaw” search engine result from the analysis of Web pages public or at disposal of private citizens. Data selection and sorting are determined by algorithms.




Figure 6 : Home Page of the Search Engine “Arancia OutLaw”


3. Guides


Law Web Guides are principally consulting instruments. Many of institutional sites and online reviews contain them.


1) “ Diritto Italia ” (Law Italy) - Created 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 Web sites. The database, last updated on 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 whose objective is 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:

·        two groups of “pre-packaged” searches: one relating to every single category of provider and the other to each type of material;

·        a “direct search”, which allows the user to use one or more terms combined with the available operators, which operate on the level of the entire form;

·        a “guided search” with a query form that is divided into free or menu-based search fields with already explicit values;


“Diritto Italia” represents an example of methodology. Actually the “Diritto Italia” database isn’t 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 Web sites continually change, while the cooperation process, that is at the base of the Web philosophy, is still now disregarded.



Figure 7 : Home Page of the Guide “Diritto Italia”


2) “ Documentazione di Fonte Pubblica in Rete ” (DFP – “Public Source Documentation on the Web”: is a very reliable guide, created by the Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB – Italian Libraries Association ) and created with the objective of providing a support for Italian librarians and documentarians 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 librarians , in the sense that it gathers reports transmitted on that list.

DFP is organized in three sectors:

·        General Documentation : Official Gazettes, Official Bulletins of the Regions, general collections of legislation, lists and services of legislative amendments, jurisprudence files, services updating jurisprudence, general statistics, legal information sites;

·        Sectoral Documentation : with an especially thorough selection, given the very large number of potentially relevant resources. Public bodies are prevalent  (each sector presents one or more national body of reference) but there are also private and commercial sites when they give information of a public source available;

·        Digest of public sites : constituted by a simple list of URLs relating to public institutions subdivided into wide categories. The bodies are represented up to the level of the region. For provinces, municipalities and other local bodies, reference is made to already existing digests.




Figure   8 : Home Page of the Web site “DFP”



3) Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB-Web) - The AIB is the professional association of Italian librarians. Founded in 1930, AIB is the only general library association in Italy, the only national association member of IFLA and by far the oldest and largest association from this field in Italy. The site provides information about libraries and pertinent services (online catalogues, calendars of events, inventories in the field of training and labour, directories of products and services, discussion groups). The “Internet Guide” section – that contains directories of Italian and foreign (English, in particular) Guides, Hand Books, News Bulletins, Forums and Mailing Lists – is worthy of pointing out since it gives useful suggestions on how to use Web research tools (search engines and metaengines) in the right way. Every Web resource is described by means of a Form containing its name, URL, and a brief description.




Figure  9 : Home Page of the Web site “AIB-Web”




4. Sites of legal interest


Apart from these resources aimed at retrieving legal material and access to the sources of Italian law or parts of them, there is now a great variety of institutional or private online sites, structured as portals rich in information and services.


4.1. Parliament, Government and Ministries


With the premise that not only the Parliament and Government, but also all of the Ministries’ sites, can be found on the Web, we shall only concentrate on those we consider worthy of special attention.


4.1.1. “ Parlamento Italiano ” (Italian Parliament)

This is the official site of the two Houses of Parliament: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. It offers a database of Italian laws starting from the XIII Legislature, which can be searched in chronological order, by type and by subject matter, based on the TESEO [iv] system of classification. The most requested laws, bills that have been passed but not promulgated or published, and decree laws in the course of conversion into law can also be retrieved. There is also a database of legislative decrees (which implement delegated law, EC Directives, or special Statutes), which the user can search on the Server of the Chamber of Deputies through a search engine. The site of Parliament is divided into two sectors: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.


a) “ Camera dei Deputati ” (Chamber of Deputies)

Apart from providing information about its role, latest news and press releases, about the work underway as well as initiatives and events, the site of the Chamber of Deputies is especially important for its databases. In particular:

the database related to acts of Parliamentary control and policy trends that allows the text and data about the treatment of questions, interpellations, motions, resolutions, agendas both of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic to be searched and queried. In this new version, it substitutes the earlier database known as “Sindacato ispettivo” (Parliamentary Questions and Commissions). The following are the characteristics of the database: 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 created 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 of the database.

b) “ Senato della Repubblica ” (Senate of the Republic )

Beside providing information about its role, members, work, and guides, the Senate of the Republic site provides a database of bills, which can be searched by number or through a guided search (on the basis of the TESEO classification) on the XIII and XIV Legislatures; moreover bills of previous Legislatures can be searched.


4.1.2. “ Governo e Ministeri ” (Government and Ministries)

(see also here )

Above all, it is necessary, in relation to the sites of the Ministries, to underline that they constitute an important source of information for the legal and administrative worlds. As we have already mentioned, each Ministry can be found on the Web with its own site, 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, which is updated on a weekly basis.

Almost in their entirety, the sites of the Ministries are presented as Portals with a variety of very important information and services (see, in Appendices , paragraphs 1.1.3., 1.1.4.).

The “Ministry of the Economy and Finance” consists of four Departments: Dipartimento del Tesoro (DT), Dipartimento Ragioneria Generale dello Stato (RGS), Dipartimento Amministrazione Generale e dei Servizi (DAGS), Dipartimento per le Politiche Fiscali (DPF). 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 DPF homepage , is under the Department for Fiscal Policies and is divided into numerous sections.

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 has a section dedicated to children (Central Office and Local Offices, Adoptions, Rescue of Minors, Projects and Statistics). The “Legislation” and “Jurisprudence” sections contain a selection of legislation and recent cases prepared by the Internet Editorial Board of the Computer Centre of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation. From the site of the Ministry, the user can also access the Computer Centre of the Supreme Court, which provides an online service for the consultation of texts of legal interest collected and organized in specialized databases (30 databases storing over 4 million documents).

Access to the databases, regulated by law (DPR 21.5.1981, no. 322), requires a online link to the Computer Centre’s database through the “ItalgiureFind” retrieval system adopted by the Supreme Court or through the “Easy Find” interface. The link is granted free-of-charge to constitutional, judicial and administrative organs of the State, to judges and to State prosecutors and attorneys; all other users pay an annual subscription fee for access. Currently the Italgiure-Web system is available on the Internet at the site , but is only accessible to ordinary judges while awaiting new ministerial regulations on how private users should be linked to the system.



4.2. Organs and Bodies of National Importance


Of particular importance in this sector are the sites of the independent Authorities and security and supervisory Commissions: “ Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato ” (Antitrust Authority), Autorità per la vigilanza sui lavori pubblici (Public Works Vigilance Authority), Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni (Broadcasting Authority), “CNIPA – Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica nella Pubblica Amministrazione (National Centre for Informatics in the Public Administration), Commissione di garanzia sull’esercizio del diritto di sciopero (Commission Guaranteeing the Exercise of the Right to Strike), “CONSOB – Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Companies and Stock Exchange National Commission) and so on. These sites generally set out the legislative framework of reference, provisions, recommendations, and give a wide variety of documentation.

The site of the “ Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato ” is very interesting, as it offers, amongst other information, an interesting database on competition with decisions on agreements in restraint of trade, abuse of dominant positions, companies amalgamation or divisions, together with opinions and reports, investigations, forms and news.

The site of CNIPA – “ Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica nella Pubblica Amministrazione ” should also be noted. It is possible to search the projects promoted by CNIPA, which are aimed at eliminating the fragmentation among the different branches of the State and at providing citizens with proper services (electronic identity card, digital signature, computer protocol, “ NormeInRete ”, etc.).


Other national bodies should also be kept in mind: ACI – “Automobile Club d’Italia” (Automobile Club of Italy), ANAS – “Ente Nazionale per le strade” (National Authority for Roads), “Banca d’Italia” (Bank of Italy), ISTAT – “Istituto Nazionale di Statistica” (National Statistics Institute), CONI – “Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano” (Italian National Olympic Commettee), INPS – “Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale” (National Social Insurance Institute), “Camere di commercio” (Chambers of Commerce), ARAN –“Agenzia per la Rappresentanza Negoziale delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni” (Representative Agency Competent for Collective Bargaining in the Public Administrations), “Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato” (State Polygraphic Institute and Mint).

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.

ARAN – “ Agenzia per la Rappresentanza Negoziale delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni ” offers not only events and news but also consultation of the Databases of National Collective Agreements and of Ordinances.



4.3. Local Public Bodies and Civic Networks


Among the regions, we would like to focus on the Emilia-Romagna region for its particularly innovative use of the Web.  Not only does this region give the user the possibility to search the full texts of the resolutions of the Regional Council, but it has also created Ermes, which presents itself as an access point able to offer an information path, a guide and a dialogue with users.

We would also like to mention the “ Conferenza dei Presidenti delle Regioni e delle Province autonome ” (Conference of the Presidents of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces); ANCI Associazione Nazionale dei Comuni Italiani ” (National Association of Italian Municipalities); ANCITEL Rete dei Comuni Italiani (Network of Italian Municipalities); UNCEM Unione Nazionale Comuni Comunità Enti Montani ” (National Union of Mountain Municipalities, Communities and Bodies); UPI Unione delle Province Italiane ” (Union of Italian Provinces); UPITEL – “ Rete telematica delle Province Italiane ” (Online Network of Italian Provinces); AICCRE Associazione europea di Comuni, Province, Regioni e delle altre Comunità locali – Sezione italiana del Consiglio dei comuni e delle regioni d’Europa ” (European Association of Municipalities, Provinces, Regions and other Local Communities – Italian Section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions).



4.4. Courts and Judicial Offices


We have already described the site of the Italian Supreme Court in relation to the Ministry of Justice.

The site of the Italian Constitutional Court , presented in five languages, 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 the “ Massime ” (abstracts of the Court’s sentences) from 1956 and the full text sentences for recent decisions (since 1999).

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 the Constitutional Court online , co-ordinated by Prof. 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 is a large number of links to Constitutions and Constitutional Courts throughout the world.


The Administrative Justice site is devoted to the “ Consiglio di Stato ” (Council of State) and to the TAR Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali ” (Regional Administrative Courts). 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 1 October 2000, and the most important opinions dating from September 2000.

The “ Tar online ” (OnLine Regional Administrative Court) of Catania allows the user to search the database of the judgments of the Regional Administrative Court of Catania. The most significant decisions deposited between 1 September 1996 and 31 May 2001 are currently available.

The sites of the “ Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura ” (Superior Council of Judges), the taxation tribunals (Regional and Provincial Taxation Commissions), the Italian Military Justice system, the Auditor’s Court and many peripheral judicial offices (Courts, Public Prosecutor’s Offices, Courts of Appeal) are also online.



4.5. European Institutions


The portal of the European Union , accessible in eleven languages, provides the user with a great deal of documentation on what the European Union is, how it functions, and how to live and interact with it.



4.6. Universities and Research Bodies


All Italian universities and public and private law faculties have sites on the Web, containing a great deal of information and documents and with many services for students .

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 Tar online (which we mentioned earlier in the section dedicated to judicial organs) and 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 Trento , which hosts “The Cardozo Law Bulletin”, the first European University electronic journal.

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) 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 Studio sul Diritto Romano e Sistemi Giuridici ” (CSDRSG – Centre of Studies on Roman Law and Legal systems).

The databases and the guides to which users have access free-of-charge are especially important on the site in question. In particular, these include the following.

A) Current updated ITTIG online databases are:

·        DoGi – Dottrina Giuridica Italiana ” (Italian Legal Literature database): it contains bibliographical documents with abstracts of articles published in Italian legal periodicals, edited by Anna Archi and Sebastiano Faro (for the legal documentation), Elisabetta Marinai and Fabrizio Turchi (for the data processing);

·        BIG – Bibliografia sull’interruzione della gravidanza e sul diritto alla vita in generale ” (Bibliography on the termination of pregnancy and, in general, the right to life, edited by Mario Fameli);

·        VIPD – Vita Indipendente per le persone con Disabilità (Independent Life for Persons with Disabilities: national and regional legislation, jurisprudence and lists of Web sites of interest in the field of the independent life of persons with disabilities, edited by Raffaello Belli);

·        LLI – Lingua Legislativa Italiana (Lexical Heritage of Italian Legislative Language: Codes, Constitutions and Fundamental Laws from 1539 to 2001, edited by Paola Mariani and Elisabetta Marinai);

·        Circolari del CNR ” (Circulars and other Directives of the Italian National Research Council);

·        Biblioteca dell’ITTIG ” (Catalogue of the ITTIG Library: Law and Legal Informatics monographs and periodicals);

·        APAM – Atti delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni ” (Acts of the Italian Public Administration; the database contains a selection of materials, acts and documents produced by Italian Public Administration).

Prior but now not-updated ITTIG online databases are:

·        “STOP – Stampa d’opinione ” (abstracts of legally important contributions published in the press from 1975 to 1993);

·        “BIGA – Bibliografia Giuridica dell’Ambiente ” (Legal Bibliography on the Environment: 1975-1995);

·        “DAUE – Recepimento in Italia delle Direttive Ambientali dell’Unione Europea ” (state of implementation in Italy of the Environmental Directives of the European Union: up until 1997);

·        EURO – Bibliografia Internazionale del Federalismo Europeo ” (International Bibliography of European Federalism).

B) the ITTIG Law Guides are:

·        Diritto Italia ” (“Law Italy”, database of references to online legal and administrative material, edited by Mario Ragona, Loriana Serrotti, Fiorenza Socci e PierLuigi Spinosa);

·        GIGO – Guida all’Informazione Giuridica Online ” (Guide to Online Legal Information, edited by Costantino Ciampi, last updated on 2002);

·         Biblioteche giuridiche ” (Law Libraries in Italy: information and online catalogues, edited by Mario Ragona);

·        Dottrina giuridica ” (Guide to Online Legal Authority, edited by Ginevra Peruginelli);

·        ELIOS – Environmental Legal Information Observatory System , edited by Elio Fameli, last updated on December 2005).

·        Diritto e Disabilità ” (Law and Disability, databases and Web sites containing information for people with disabilities, edited by Raffaello Belli).




4.7. Professional Orders, Associations and Trade Unions


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.

With regard to Trade Unions, a useful site is “ Politica on line Il Portale della Politica italiana ” (Politics online – The Portal of Italian Politics), which also has numerous links to the sites of Italian and international political parties.

The Web site “ 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.

CNN – Consiglio Nazionale del Notariato ” (National Council of Public Notaries) is divided into various subject headings, rich in information: “the Public Notary” (who he/she is, the cost of notarial deeds, studies of the Italian Notary Profession, Public Notaries and information technology, etc.), “Private Parties” (buying a house, loans, gifts, successions and wills, the family, foreigners in Italy), “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”. 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, and the Council’s journal CNN Attività (CNN Activities), with some of its issues online. The site also has an internal search engine.

  ANM – Associazione Nazionale Magistrati ” (National Association of Judges:), founded in 1906, numbers among its members 8,284 judges of a total of 8,886 judges in Italy on active service and it is a founding member of the “International Association of Judges”.

  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 from the journal “ Giustizia italiana (Italian Justice).

AIGA – Associazione Italiana Giovani Avvocati ” (Italian Association of Young Lawyers), in the section “Areas”, furnishes documentation on Administrative Law, Civil Law, Legal education, Forensic Order, Judicial System, Criminal Law, and provides a space dedicated to European Law and the Protection of Young Lawyers.

UNCC – Unione Nazionale delle Camere Civili ” (National Association of the Territorial Civil Chambers) presents a list of the Territorial Chambers and information about Conferences, Links, Members’ Pages, and News.

U.C.P.I – Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane ” (Union of the Italian Criminal Chambers) is the official site of the Italian Criminal Chambers; it contains news, forums, documents, the list of Italian prisons, penitentiaries and public welfare services (divided by region).

Consulta per la Giustizia Europea dei Diritti dell’uomo (Council for European Justice on Human Rights), set up on 13 June 1986, has the scope of making the professional and cultural associations of lawyers and judges in Italy aware of the instruments for protecting human rights, guaranteed by international rules, in particular, the procedural rules for presenting individual cases before the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, in order to denounce violations of the European Convention on Human Rights which may have been committed by the Italian State.

A.I.C. - Associazione Italiana dei costituzionalisti (Italian Association of Constitutional Lawyers) originates out of the initiative of a group of experts and aims “to encourage in-depth research into Constitutional Law and the methods for teaching it, promoting and co-ordinating both meetings between experts and common research”. The A.I.C. is a member of the International Association of Constitutional Law; the relative site not only presents a newsletter 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.




4.8. Private Initiative Sites


Iusimpresa ” 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. 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 Law, Administrative Law, Banking Law, Labour Law, Commercial Law, Criminal Law, European Community Law, etc.). Not only the section dedicated to news is interesting, but also the section regarding books, which – thanks to the publishing houses permission – enables users to browse summaries and tables of contents.




4.9. Publishing Houses

Among the publishing houses specialized in the legal sector, we would like to mention:

1) “ Leggi d'Italia Professionale ”, again for a subscription fee, 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 jurisprudencial 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 (Minors Rights) , Fisco online (Online Treasury) , and many others, as well as the catalogue, various services and a newsletter.

2) “ Giuffré ” gives access, always for a subscription fee, to the Iuris databases (national, regional and provincial legislation, the Codes, the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Regional Administrative Courts, the Council of State, etc.) and also to “ Diritto & Giustizia ” (Law and Justice) online, and the journals “ Giurisprudenza di merito on-Line and “ Il Foro amministrativo on-Line . The Giuffré catalogue, which is also available in a CD-ROM version and online, currently contains more than eight thousand titles with an annual increment of over four hundred new titles. Giuffré also publishes about sixty law journals and legal databases. 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

3) “ Il Sole 24 ore ”, 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.

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

A) “ Lex24 ” constitutes the legal-legislative database of “ Il Sole 24 Ore ”, which the user can search either on the Internet or on DVD-ROM, through which 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.

The database of “ 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:

·       State laws and decrees published in the Official Gazette from 1860 up until today in their current form;

·       the Civil Code, Criminal Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Navigation, Road Code, Code of Military Procedure in Peacetime, Code of Military Procedure in Wartime, together with their implementing provisions;

·       European Community Law: decisions, directives and regulations of the European Community issued before and after the Treaty on the European Union signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992, which have been received into the Italian legal order;

·       Regional Law: a wide selection of provisions passed by the Regions constituted under ordinary or special Statute and the Autonomous Provinces, published in the Official Bulletins since 2002;

·       Judgments of the Authorities;

·       a wide selection of judgments of the Constitutional Court, the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Council of State, the main lower Courts and the European Court of Justice;

·       a review of the Notes taken from the professional journals of “ Il Sole 24 Ore (“Guide to the Law”, “Legislative Guide”, “Guide to Local Authorities”, “Guide to Employment”, “Company Law and Practice”, “Environment and Security”, “The Building Industry and Land Use”, etc.);

·       the questions of citizens and the replies of experts taken from the column in “ Il Sole 24 Ore ” entitled “Answers from the Expert”;

·       finally, there is a special section which contains the latest News regarding legislation or News selected and commented on by the Editors.


B) “ Guida al Diritto ” (Guide to the Law), which offers subscribers of the weekly of the same name the possibility of navigating free-of-charge in the site, in order to search:

·       the “ Massimario ” (Collection of the Courts’ Holdings in Cases): database which collects together all the Courts’ findings in cases published in the journal from 1994 until today;

·       the Four Codes of the “ Guida al Diritto ”, structured in the same way as in the paper-based volume and available in pdf format, with all the legislative amendments and updates and questions of constitutional legitimacy occurring throughout the year and in-put in real time;

·       the periodical newsletter: produced by “ Lex24 ”, weekly and/or monthly with the most important news about legislation and jurisprudence;

·       the “ Guida al Diritto ” also enables the user to display the weekly issue of the same “Guida al Diritto” in advance with respect to the paper-based copy.

4) “ IPSOA ”, which, 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: “ Previdenza Web ”, regarding social security; “ ABCLavoro on Labour Law; “ Condoni and concordato 2004 ” on taxation remissions and settlements; “ CAAF Services for professionals and companies regarding taxation and VAT; “IPSOA -Camere ” providing access to the databases of the Chambers of Commerce; IPSOA Daily ) and a catalogue of all its products accessible through various search strategies, such as a very detailed subject index, a practical menu set out according to the type of product and, finally, classical full text and advanced searches .

5) “ Simone ” contains useful services (mailing list) and a great deal of information. The catalogue, made available by the publishing house, enables the user to consult the electronic cards relating to over 750 published volumes updated in real time. 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 (Legal, Roman Law, European Union legal issues, Economic, History of Italian and European Law, Accounting and Finance, Law relating to Condominium, Canon and Ecclesiastical Law).

6) “ Zanichelli ” provides documentation, catalogues and services, which are also generally offered by the best publishing houses specialized in the field, contains “ Il Foro Italiano ” online, including “ Jurisprudence ”, “ Bibliography ”, “ Architecture ”, “ Foro Italiano ”, “ Civil Supreme Court of Cassation ” and “ The Four Codes ” databases, storing more than one million documents, updated on a monthly basis.

7) “ UTET – Unione Tipografica Editrice Torinese ” – provides a multimedia online catalogue which the user can search in full text. The “ Utet giuridica ” sector, with its databases, is currently being restructured.


4.10. Online Law Journals

1) “ Diritto & Diritti (Law and Rights), historically one of the first to appear on the Web and also one of the richest, having officially come into being in 1996. Initially divided into frames, more recently it has been the object of a restyling. Today, the site displays a navigation menu subdivided into two large sections: “Legal Research”, which directs the user to the indexes for legislation, jurisprudence, legal literature and administrative acts, and “Legal Material”, which contains a very broad list of materials going from lists of the Law Faculties to sites of Law firms, to lists of Law journals, legal sites and contributions of legal literature. It was the first site to produce a rudimentary kind of retrieval system called “Cicerone”, which today has been redesigned as a real search engine (see the description in the section relating to this argument). Finally, it provides a newsletter giving the user updated information.

2) “ IusSeek ” - as we have already mentioned in the section devoted to “Portals”, this site describes itself as “a legal newspaper, search engine and portal but, above all, a community”.

3) The Cardozo Electronic Law Bulletin ” is the first European University electronic journal, directed by Professors Mattei and Monateri. Apart from containing a series of important articles and contributions, it presents the annotated Italian Civil Code, the Italian Constitution, and lists of Italian and international sites.

The following can be listed among the typically specialized journals:

1) “ InterLex ” is a periodical which appears several times a week. It contains general and scientific information and information related to the legal world. It is, therefore, a proper electronic journal, among the most prestigious within the Italian legal panorama on the Web, with many articles regarding legal literature, organized by subject matter or argument through a chronological index.

2) “ Italian Labour Law e-Journal is a journal which falls within the sphere of interest which basically coincides with that of the site Italian Labour Law on line where it is to be found: Italian labour law, in the traditional sense including industrial relations, employer-employee relations, and social security law, from their domestic and international viewpoints as well as international and comparative labour law.

3) “ Gnosis Online ” is the journal of “intelligence and professional culture”, the first issue of which was published in 1995, originated with the objective, amongst other things, of introducing new forms of communication inside and outside SISDE (“ Italian Intelligence and Security Service ”). It also portrays itself as a qualified place for reflection and in-depth study, unique in the Italian editorial panorama, on issues related to intelligence and national security. The Journal publishes essays, forums, interviews, articles, curious historical anecdota, book reviews and bibliographical notes, reports of interventions by important persons from the world of politics, culture and the institutions. It has also edited a full and systematic collection of the Italian and foreign documentation in the sector (reports of parliamentary and governmental organs, bills regarding intelligence bodies, legislation and jurisprudence of interest). The Journal also publishes the proceedings of the numerous cultural initiatives promoted by the Training School of the “Italian Intelligence and Security Service”.

4) “ Diritto & Questioni pubbliche – Rivista di Filosofia del Diritto e cultura giuridica (Law and Public Questions – Journal of the Philosophy of Law and Legal Culture) is divided into two sections. The first hosts’ articles and other contributions on a specialized topic are chosen each issue by the editorial board. The second section is subdivided into three columns: the first is dedicated to sites of legal and philosophical interest, with links to Italian and foreign online journals, universities and search engines. The second reports events, such as conferences, debates or the publication of books. The third contains notes on Italian and/or foreign court decisions, reviews of articles and books of legal and philosophical interest, as well as any critical notes on Italian or foreign constitutional or ordinary jurisprudence.

5) “ Studiumfori ”   This journal deals with civil law and procedure and tax law and procedure. It is structured in four sectors: tax law, rent and condominium law, family law and administrative penalties.

6) Jus e Internet ” is a journal edited by Gianluigi Ciacci. It is divided into several sections including: legal informatics, case law news, in-depth legal studies, and Parliamentary information. Apart from a wide range of documentation, the “File” section permits the user to consult on-line the Manuale del diritto dell’informatica [Manual of Computer Law] by Prof. Ettore Giannantonio, who dedicated many years to the study of this topic.

7) “ Lexambiente ” (Environmental Law) is a journal edited by Luca Ramacci, a Public Prosecutor’s Assistant of Venice. It is rich in information, case law and legislation on the environment contributing to the discussion on this topic, and also has a newsletter which keeps users up-to-date on what is happening in the field.


4.11. Law Libraries

Many libraries, especially if they are of a certain importance, like university libraries, have transformed their catalogues into databases, usually making them available to the user free-of-charge. These catalogues come under the name 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. By way of example, we can cite the virtual catalogue Cultural Site of the Tuscany Region , which permits this type of search (in simple or advanced mode) within a large number of Libraries in the Provinces and in the Universities within the Region.

For a full search on the OPACs and MetaOPACs we suggest:

1) SBN online is the “ Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale in linea (National Library Service online). SBN Index is the collective catalogue of over 1,000 Italian Libraries which have joined the “National Library Service”. It is a network of Italian Libraries created by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage in collaboration with the Regions and Universities; currently, it provides access to the bibliographical news which is periodically downloaded from the databases of the SBN Index: the Modern Book, the Antique Book and Music. At present, the catalogue contains about 9 million localizations and 4.5 million bibliographical descriptions.

2) Digest of the Italian OPACs of the “ Associazione Italiana Biblioteche ” (Italian Libraries Association) provides exhaustive lists of Italian Libraries, divided by type (Public Libraries, State Libraries, Ecclesiastical Libraries, School Libraries, University Libraries, Research Institute Libraries and other Libraries) within the type by geographical coverage. This digest, created and initially maintained by Riccardo Ridi, has since February 1999 automatically generated and updated from the database of the MetaOPAC Azalai Italiano (MAI), managed by the joint AIB-CILEA editorial board.

3) The “Guide to Libraries”, created by the ITTIG - “ Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica ” del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (see above among the Public Bodies) is also worth mentioning because it is dedicated, in particular, to Law Libraries.


C. Italian Legislation, Jurisprudence and Legal Authority on the Net: Institutional Web Sites, Off-line Databases, Mailing Lists and Newsgroups *


1. The NIR – “Norme in Rete” (Italian Legislation on the Net) Project


The “ Norme In Rete ” – NIR (“Italian Legislation on the Net”) Portal deserves attention because it is both the major institutional portal for Italian and Community legislation, and because of the innovative techniques it uses.



Figure 8 : Home Page of the Portal “ NIR –Norme In Rete


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. To better understand its importance, it is worthwhile mentioning that, in November 1999, the Assembly of the Italian Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution regarding Government policy in which the NIR Project was given the highest priority within the ambit of initiatives for administrative simplification.

·        The Project, financed by the “ Autorità per l’Informatica nella Pubblica Amministrazione – AIPA [v] (“Authority for Information Technology in the Public Administration”), on the proposal of the Ministry of Justice which jointly with AIPA has co-ordinated it, intends to aid and simplify the retrieval of legislative and legal documentation made accessible, through the Internet, by Institutional Bodies. European Institutions, the Italian Parliament and the Constitutional Organs, Independent Authorities, Local Authorities, National Bodies, Judicial Bodies, Universities, Research Institutes and Professional Orders are taking part in the Project. It is open to the participation of all Public Institutions and Administrations which, on their Web sites, make legislative-type documentation available; it also avails itself of the technical-scientific contribution of the ITTIG (“ Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica – “Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques”) of the CNR (“ Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche ” – “Italian National Research Council”) of Florence and of the Inter-university Consortium CINECA (“ Consorzio Interuniversitario per il Calcolo Automatico dell’Italia Nord Orientale ” – “Inter-university Consortium for Automatic Calculus of North-east Italy”) of Bologna.


1.1. Search Functions and Online Utilities

1)       “Textual Search” on the more than 145.529 indexed documents (last updated: April 9, 2004);

2)     a more Advanced Search uses the “Catalogue of Laws”, a database containing the relevant information (title, date of promulgation, date of publication, number, type of provision, Internet address if there is one, subject matter, etc.) regarding Italian State provisions (about 44,325; last updated: April 2, 2004) with legislative validity, published in the “Gazzetta Ufficiale” (“Official Gazette”) from 1948 up until today;

3)     Online Services of the Public Administration (in particular, it should be noted how this last service is very rich and very useful even in a practical sense);

4)     Access to Specialized Databases, to the Bills, and to the “Gazzetta Ufficiale” (last 60 days);

5)     News, FAQ, Glossaries, Institutional Links, Newsletter.



2. The “Suprema Corte di Cassazione” (Italian Supreme Court of Cassation) Databases

The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation was a pioneer in the sector: through 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 1970’s, 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, regulated by law (DPR 21/5/1981, No. 322), requires a link-up with the database of the CED through the “ Italgiure-Find ” retrieval system adopted by the Supreme Court or through the “ Easy-Find ” interface. The links are made via Telnet (one of the services of the Web [vi] ) or via “ Easy-Find ”, subject to installation on the user’s personal computer. Only recently the new documentary retrieval system in the database of the Supreme Court, called “ ItalgiureWeb ”, has become available on the Internet .

At present, the possibility of consulting it is reserved only for users who have the right to link up free-of-charge and it will be come into effect through a gradual release organized by categories.


The ItalgiureWeb documentation system includes 41 databases, with a total of over 4 million documents.


In particular, in the field of international and European Community legislation there are:

1)          CONVES: full text of the international agreements not subject to ratification (only the titles of agreements ratified by law are stored);

2)          TITCON: particulars of the international agreements in which Italy is a party and which are currently in force;

3)          EURLEX: full text of Community legislation (regulations, directives, decisions).

4)          EURVAR: this database is subdivided into three sub-databases: a) EURPRE: full text of the opinions expressed by Community organisms in the preparatory phase of the procedure for drafting Community law; b) EURNAZ: particulars and sources of the publication of the legislation with which Member States implement directives; c) EURPAR: full text of the written and oral questions presented by Members of the European Parliament to the Council or the Parliament starting from June 1979, the date of the first direct election.

In the field of national and regional legislation there are:

1)          CODICI: current text: a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure approved under D.P.R. 22 September 1988, No. 447; b) of the implementing, co-ordinating and transitional provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (D.LG. 28 July 1989, No. 271); c) of the regulations bringing the Code of Criminal Procedure (Decree 30 September 1989, No. 334) into force; d) of the new Highway Code (D.LG. 30 April 1992, No. 285); e) of the regulations bringing into force and implementing the new Highway Code (D.P.R. 16 December 1992, No.495);

2)          LEXS: full text of the legislative measures and only the title of measures of strictly administrative kind published in the Official Gazette from 1971 up until now;

3)          LEXPRE: full text of the legislative measures published from 1/1/1904 until 31/12/1970;

4)          TITLEX: references to legislative measures (the title of the laws and decrees of which the full text has been stored in the LEXPRE and LEXS databases and the title of other measures amongst the most important published in the Official Gazette from 1860 up until now);

5)          LEXR: full text of the legislative measures of the Regions both under ordinary and special statute published since 1947;

6)          ECO: references and/or full text of measures of a legislative, administrative or statistical kind on ecological and environmental matters;

7)          LAVORO: full text of national collective employment contracts.

In the field of national, Community and foreign jurisprudence there are:

1)        COSTMS: “ massime ” (case abstracts or headnotes) of the rulings of the Constitutional Court;

2)        CIVILE: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Civil Division of the Supreme Court;

3)        PENALE: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court;

4)        CONSTA: “ massime ” of the decisions and opinions of the Council of State, Council of Administrative Justice of the Council of the Region of Sicily and the Special Commission;

5)        ACQUE: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Supreme Tribunal of Public Waters and of Regional Water Tribunals;

6)        TRIBUT: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Central Taxation Commission;

7)        MILIT: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Supreme Military Tribunal;

8)        CORTEC: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Auditors’ Court;

9)        TAR: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Regional Administrative Courts (selection);

10)     MERITO: “ massime ” of the rulings of the Magistrates’ Courts, Courts of Appeal, Courts of Assizes, etc. (selection);

11)      COSTSN: full text of the rulings of the Constitutional Court;

12)     EURIUS: full text of the rulings of the European Court of Justice;

13)     LIBERT: “ massime ” of the jurisprudence on the Human Rights Convention;

14)     ENLEX: “ massime ” of the jurisprudence of the Member States of the European Union in the field of the environment.

Ministerial circulars databases include:

1)        CIR: Ministerial circulars published in the Official Gazette since 1st January 1992;

2)        CIRMGG: circulars of the Ministry of Justice;

3)        CIRPCM: circulars of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (since 1976);

4)        CSM: rulings of the Italian Council of the Judiciary (circulars, resolutions, answers to questions and opinions).

National and international legal authority databases include:

1)        BID: abstracts of Italian and foreign publications on “Computers and the Law”;

2)       BNI: bibliographical information on books published in Italy as listed in the Italian National Bibliography;

3)       BIGIUR: bibliographical units relating to volumes acquired by the Central Law Library of the Ministry of Justice;

4)       DOTTR: abstracts relating to: a) Legal authority taken from specialized publications that can be searched through the DoGi (“ Dottrina Giuridica ” – Italian Legal Authority) sub-database (since 1970); b) Political and legal de iure condendo debate taken from Italian daily newspapers and periodicals that can be searched through the STOP (“ Stampa di Opinione ”) sub-database (1975-1993);

5)       FIURIS: study and interpretation of Roman Law sources. It is organized in two sub-databases that can be searched independently: a) FIURIS: bibliographical references to contributions published in the main European Roman Law journals; b) INDEX: indexes of “ Corpus Iuris Civilis ”;

6)       RIV: bibliographical details of law journals in which the decisions from which the “ massime ” taken from the jurisprudence databases ( Civile , Penale , Costit , Consta , Cortec ) are published or noted. It also contains the titles of articles of legal authority from 1975 up until now;

7)       CASLIB: bibliographical details edited by the “ Libreria Casalini ” of Italian works published abroad.



Figure 9: Home Page of the “ ItalgiureWeb ” documentation system

Information, documentation and utility databases include:

1)        ALBO: contains, for every lawyer or trainee lawyer registered on the roll, the data transmitted to the National Bar Council;

2)       ARMI: description of the arms registered in the National Catalogue of Common Fire Arms;

3)       CULTUR: list of registered buildings under Law 1 June 1939, No.1089, sent to the Superintendency of Architectural, Artistic, Historic and Environmental Heritage;

4)       SCHEMA: general classification table for documents stored before 31 December 1988;

5)       SCHEMB: general classification table for documents stored since 1989.



3. The Italian Legal Authority Portal

This is one of the tools being experimented with at ITTIG, the objective of which is to give unified access to material relating to legal authority distributed on the Web by different public or private, institutional, scientific and commercial organizations to provide a series of specialist services (forums, distribution of documents, data interchange, etc.).  It is also to create the maximum integration with the other national and international initiatives in existence, both legal initiatives, directed towards different documentary types (for example, the NormeInRete Project for the legislation), and those on a more general level (for example, the “Dafne” Project for academic-scientific literature).




Figure 10 : Home Page of the Portal “Italian Legal Authority”


The “ Portale della dottrina giuridica ” (“Legal Authority Portal”) should be able to provide:

a) identification of the material with research tools based on the semantics of the documents (bibliographical and conceptual elements) and on specific identifiers;

b) access to information supports, like tables of contents, summaries, abstracts, reviews, etc.;

c) localization of material through links to legal libraries, catalogues of journals, publishing houses, sites, etc.;

d) specific services such as mailing lists, lists of links to sites of interest, FAQs, reviews, surveys, online courses;

e) utilities aimed at professionals in specific sectors (software for public notaries, public registries, etc.) or simply aimed at users (forms, encyclopedias, glossaries);

f) more advanced tools, like interactive dictionaries (databases containing definitions and legal institutes descriptions), e-books (online text and handbooks), intelligent agents and customized desktops.


4. CD-ROMs

Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana ” (“Official Gazette of the Italian Republic”): issued 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 + 4 Special Series).

“Juris Data”, edited by Giuffré, certainly deserves a special position. It is a series of CD-ROMs (also available now on DVD), often with the possibility of updating online, relating to:

·      Legislazione e Codici ” (“Legislation and Codes”): legislative collection on two CD-ROMs of legislative measures of the Italian State, in the original historic version accompanied by a rich selection of legislative texts, and in the current text in force together with the collection of the Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Criminal Military Codes and the Code of Navigation;

·      Giurisprudenza (“Jurisprudence”): collection of “ massime ” with online updating divided into two CD-ROMs, one constantly up-dated, covering the years from 1992 up until now, and the other with the years covered by the Digest from 1979 until 1991;

·      DVD-ROM Juris Data ”: national legislation (both historic and currently in force) and the Codes, the “ massime of the jurisprudence based on the decisions of 64 Authorities, the decisions of the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Supreme Court, the decisions of the Constitutional Court, regional legislation;

·      DVD-ROM Juris Data Maior ”: national legislation (both historic and currently in force) and the Codes, the “ massime ” of the jurisprudence based on the decisions of 64 Authorities, the decisions of the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Supreme Court, the decisions of the Regional Administrative Courts and the Council of State, the decisions of the Constitutional Court, regional legislation, Notes and Legal Authority;

·      CD Juris Data - Leggi Regionali (“CD Juris Data – Regional Laws”): collection of the legislative measures of all the Italian Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano;

·      CD Juris Data - Sentenze della Cassazione Civile (“CD Juris Data - Decisions of the Civil Division of the Italian Supreme Court”): collection of decisions in full text format and officially reported, on two CD-ROMs containing decisions from 1986 until 1995 and decisions from 1996 to the present.



Also edited by “Giuffré” publishing house are:

·      CD Arianna ”: a database that collects together all the legislation in the credit and financial sector. It applies the rules of the legislation in force so the users are given a complete and effective picture;

·      CD Teseo ”: a specialized and innovative database originating from the integration of brief “forms” relating to all the financial tools and banking products existing on the market which refer to both legal and financial measures;

·      CD – Il processo penale (“CD – Criminal Proceedings”): hypertext of schemata, legislation and jurisprudence on criminal procedure;

·      DVD-ROM Enciclopedia del Diritto (“DVD-ROM Encyclopedia of Law”): 52 volumes of “entries”, an index of 18,000 terms, an alphabetical list of more than 1,600 authors, each followed by the title of the published entries;

·      CD – Lavoro ”: database of labour law and social security;

·      ReMIDA - Rivalutazione monetaria e interessi (“King MIDAS – Currency and Interest Revaluation”): software allowing the user to perform, with utmost simplicity and precision, all the operations necessary for calculating interest (legal and ordinary interest, or that relating to special taxes) and the ISTAT (“ Istituto Nazionale di Statistica ” – “Italian Institute of Statistics”) revaluation on monetary credits, guiding the user in the in-put phase in terms of the data requested;

·        ReMIDA - Danno alla persona (“King MIDAS - Personal Injuries”): software for personal computers, which consists of an electronic legal advisor in Windows version. It enables the computer calculation of the amount of damages for personal injuries, using the tables for biological injuries laid down in the Law 57/2001 and those used in most of the Italian Courts;

·        E-LEX Software Gestionale ” (“E-LEX Management Software”): for legal firms, developed by Datamat and distributed by Giuffré Editore. It is an integrated software environment for lawyers, which has the important added value provided by a communication environment, based on Internet, allowing lawyers to link up and exchange information with the Court Offices;

·        CD Le Società ” di Giuseppe Alessi (“CD Companies” by Giuseppe Alessi): Jurisprudence, Bibliography, Legislation, Forms. This work contains all the jurisprudence, the legislation and the bibliography regarding the civil, criminal and bankruptcy regulation of companies, co-operatives and consortia.

·         “ Le leggi d’Italia ” (“Laws of Italy”) by Vittorio De Martino: Italian laws in their current and co-ordinated version, with comment on the jurisprudence of all the Highest Courts;

·      I Codici d’Italia ” (“The Codes of Italy”): the Codes of Italy in their current and co-ordinated version, 153,000 “ massime ” of the Highest Courts, more than 30.000 grounds for the decisions of the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Supreme Court, all the decisions of the Constitutional Court since 1956;

·      Prassi delle Leggi d'Italia ” (“Practices of the Laws of Italy”): collection of circulars and other documents interpreting the provisions of the laws starting from 1996, and passed by over 35 different bodies;

·      Leggi regionali d'Italia ” (“Regional Laws of Italy”): the legislation of the 20 Italian Regions and the 2 Autonomous Provinces (more than 60.000 legislative measures);

·      Leggi d'Italia Compact ” (“Compact of Laws of Italy”): in an agile synthesis, the Codes, national legislation and the regional and provincial laws;

·      DVD Opere Legali (“Legal Works DVD”): the most complete and up-to-date Legal Works, capable of being consulted on a single computer support medium;

·      Diritto Comunitario e dell'Unione Europea (“Community and EU Law”): all the Law of the European Union classified under 25 wide subject areas;

·      Enti locali (“Local Authorities”): the first Legal Encyclopedia on the world of Local Authorities;

·      I Diritti della famiglia (“Family Law”): 200 monographic entries classified in 40 subject areas;

·      I Diritti dei minori ” (“Minors’ Law”): 130 monographic entries classified under 60 subject areas;

·      Diritto del Lavoro ” (“Labour Law”): all the topics relating to work under an employment contract, quasi-subordinate employment, self-employment and employment in the public sector. The published documentation is appropriately classified and linked through a system of logical links and references;

·      Repertorio di Giurisprudenza ” (“Digest of Jurisprudence”): from 1981 up until now, the Digest collects together over 600.000 “ massime ”, relating to decisions on the law and on the merits, published in the main Italian and foreign law journals.


“IPSOA” publishing house co-ordinates all national and regional legislation, in its current and prior version, and gives the interpretation of all the Highest Courts, linking it to the individual articles of the law. In particular:

·      the official texts of new laws published in the Official Gazette can be searched in full text directly in the database (each measure is immediately available in its co-ordinated version with all the latest amendments that have been made);

·      all national and regional legislation in its current version and all the prior versions beginning from its publication; with links among the various provisions;

·      the jurisprudence of all the Highest Courts, classified and correlated to the legislation, with an indication of precedents in conformity or dissenting from the decision, so the subscriber can evaluate the issues in the light of the approaches taken by the different Courts;

·      in addition, the online up-dating, which interacts directly with the La Legge ” (“The Law”) database, both on CD-ROM and DVD, informs the subscriber daily about new developments concerning legislation and any amendment that have been made;

·      also, by purchasing the “Plus Version”, the subscriber is provided with several autonomous databases on the one DVD – “ La Legge (“The Law”) , La Giurisprudenza di merito (“The Jurisprudence on the Merits”) , La Legge dell’Unione Europea (“The Law of the European Union”) , Le Società (“The Companies”) , I Contratti (“The Contracts”) , Famiglia e Diritto (“Family and Law”) , Penale (“Criminal Law”) , Enti locali (“Local Authorities”) –, capable of interacting and conversing during the search for legislative measures.


“Simone” publishing house encloses the relative CD-ROM with their paper-based publications (Civil Proceedings, Criminal Proceedings, proceedings before Judges of the Peace, proceedings before Labour Judges).


With regard to “Il Sole 24 ore” (“The Sun Twenty-Four Hours”) let us just mention:

·      LEX ”: legal-legislative database (online and on DVD) for retrieving all the Laws and Decrees of the State currently in force, with Jurisprudence, Notes taken from professional journals, and the Questions of the “Answers from the Expert” column;

·      Diritto di famiglia (“Family Law”): database on CD-ROM relating to the many civil and criminal aspects of Family Law, Successions and Gifts;

·      Unico Lavoro ” (“Only Employment”): a database available on CD-ROM and online, contains legislation, jurisprudence, interpretations, collective bargaining and operational reports, tables, formulas and software;

·      I Formulari del professionista (“Formularies for Professionals”): interdisciplinary collection of more than 3,000 prearranged forms for Accountants, Lawyers, Judges, Public Notaries, Experts, Technical Consultants and Liquidators;

·      Codice del Condominio e delle Locazioni (“Code of the Condominium and Renting”): it contains, on CD-ROM and online, laws, practices and jurisprudence (10,801 documentary units and 10,750 UNI – Italian Standards Organization – standards);

·      The “ Guida Normativa ” (“Legislative Guide”) offers a double CD-Rom database, rich in content: a) all the issues of the “ Guida Normativa ” from 1991 up until all of 2003, complete with annexes; b) the last three years of the “Answers from the Expert” column, relating to taxation, employment, companies, credit, the Regions, the environment and other sectors.


“UTET” publishing house presents:

·      DVD Banche Dati Giuridiche AURUM ” (“DVD AURUM Legal Databases”) which collect together six databases on the one DVD:

·      Lex + Codex ” (“Lex + Code”): approximately 82,000 norms of the State from 1861 up until now in their historic version and, to a large part, in their constantly updated current version; the rulings of the Constitutional Court where there has been unconstitutionality; the Constitution and the four main Codes, accompanied by their implementing and transitional provisions;

·      Lex - Regioni ” (“Lex - Regions”): the Regional laws of all the Regions of Italy and the Provincial laws of the Autonomous Provinces of  Trento and Bolzano;

·      Lex – La Prassi ” (“Lex – The practices”): the Circulars issued from 1996 onwards by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and all the Ministries, including the Ministries from past Legislatures;

·      Repertorio della  Giurisprudenza Italiana” (“Digest of Italian Jurisprudence”): the “ massime ” published in the main Italian law journals dating from 1981, relating to decisions handed down by approximately sixty different adjudicating bodies (on the merits and on the Law); reports of the main legal writings published since 1981; information about the legislation in force, organized by subject matter; authored notes commenting on the “ massime ”;

·      Cassazione Civile (“Civil Division of the Supreme Court”): over 65.000 decisions in full text of the Civil Division of the Supreme Court, officially reported and handed down from 1986 up until now;

·      Cassazione Penale (“Criminal Division of the Supreme Court”): a wide selection of the decisions in full text of the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court, handed down from 1995 up until now.



Also there are:


·      I Codici regionali ” (“The Regional Codes”);

·      Giurisprudenza ipertestuale ” (“Hypertextual  Jurisprudence”);

·      “Liability for the Management of Corporations”: the CD-ROM accompanies every volume of the series and contains the following:

·      Giurisprudenza (“Jurisprudence”) : contains a Digest of the decisions and other rulings relating to the topics dealt with.

·      Biblioteca (“Library”): contains the bibliographical units regarding every citation to legal authority.

·      Inventario ” (“Inventary”): a list of the topics dealt with in the grounds for the decisions on the liability of company directors and auditors.

·      Materiali” (“Topics”): contains documents concerning the different topics dealt with, as well as some Italian and foreign legislation.


·      LEX ” collects together the full text of the legislation of the Italian Republic from 1861 up until now.

·      Repertorio della Giurisprudenza Italiana (“Digest of Italian Jurisprudence”): this collects together the “ massime ” published every year in the main Italian law journals (concerning decisions handed down by all adjudicating bodies), the bibliographical details of the most important authored law (notes to decisions, articles, volumes or entries in Encyclopedias) and the citation of legislation in force regarding the main Headings under which all the documents are classified.

·      La Cassazione Civile (“The Civil Division of the Supreme Court”): this contains, in full text, all the decisions handed down by the Civil Division of the Supreme Court dating from 1986, officially reported by the Court Reporter’s Office and available to the public.

·      La Cassazione Penale (“The Criminal Division of the Supreme Court”): it contains the full text (heading, particulars, fact and law, grounds, etc.) of a very wide selection of criminal decisions of the Supreme Court dating from 1995. Each decision is classified under the same system used in the Headings of the “ Repertorio della Giurisprudenza Italiana”

·       “ Il Diritto di famiglia ipertestuale (“Hypertext Family Law”): accompanying the volume, this is the complete work of legal authority on CD-ROM, created on the basis of a very analytical index of the material to which all the topics useful for the research are combined.

·      Digesto ipertestuale (“Hypertext Digest”), edited by P.G. Monateri (2003): approximately 2,100 entries relating to civil, commercial, criminal and public law are collected together on a single CD-ROM, with the possibility of directly searching most of the citations found in the comments.

·      Manuale ipertestuale del diritto privato ” (“Hypertext Manual of Private Law”): conceived and created for the first time in hypertext format in order to utilize the teaching potential of the computer tool, this manual is made up of a paper-based and electronic version, designed to complement each other.



“Zanichelli” publishing house produces:

Cd-ROM Repertorio del Foro Italiano (“CD-ROM Digest of Italian Court”)


Cd-ROM Foro e Cassazione civile ” (“CD-ROM Forum and Civil Division of the Supreme Court”) presents material found in the following databases:

·       Foro Italiano ”;

·       Civil Division of the Supreme Court.


DVD of Foro Italiano ” contains more than a million documents, divided into the following databases:

·        Jurisprudence;

·        Bibliography;

·        Architecture;

·        Foro italiano ”;

·        Civil Divisions of the Supreme Court;

·        The Four Codes



5. Mailing Lists and Newsgroups

We shall cite, as an example, “ Diritto & Diritti ”, which offers various “Mailing Lists” (one dedicated to Administrative Judges, one focused on online Administrative Proceedings, one aimed at the Judges of Taxation Commissions, and one on “Cybercrime” and procedure).

Among the best services available, we would like to mention not only that offered by Google , which through a special search engine enables the user to carry out a full text search within the messages, but also that offered by Arianna .




D. Appendices


1. Main Italian Legal Web Sites * *



1.1. Italian Parliament, Government and Ministries


1.1.1. Italian Parliament

·      Bibliografia del Parlamento Repubblicano

·      Leggi dalla XIII Legislatura  (dal 9 maggio 1996)


Camera dei Deputati

·        Leggi Regionali (banca dati)

·        Fascicolo degli Atti di Indirizzo e di Controllo (banca dati)


Senato della Repubblica

·      Banche dati : progetti di legge, ordini del giorno, attività dei senatori, giunte e commissioni



1.1.2. President of the Italian Republic



1.1.3. Italian Government


Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri

·      Uffici e Dipartimenti

·      Comitati e Commissioni Ministries


Ministero degli affari esteri

·      Accordi Internazionali

·      Archivio Trattati Internazionali

·      Italiani nel mondo ( Italia Estera )


Ministero del commercio internazionale


Ministero dell’ambiente e della tutela del territorio

·      Rete Ambientale: rete nazionale delle Autorità ambientali e delle Autorità della programmazione dei fondi strutturali comunitari 2000-2006


Ministero dello sviluppo economico

(già Ministero delle attività produttive e Ministero dell’Industria, del Commercio e dell’Artigianato)

·      Direzione Generale dell’energia e delle risorse minerarie

·      TuttoConsumatori: il portale del Consiglio Nazionale dei Consumatori e degli Utenti

·      Ufficio Italiano Brevetti e Marchi


Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali

·      Direzione Generale per i Beni Librari e gli Istituti Culturali

·      Sistema archivistico nazionale


Ministero delle comunicazioni

·      Bollettino ufficiale


Ministero della difesa


Ministero dell’economia e delle finanze

·      CIPE - Comitato Interministeriale per la Programmazione Economica

·      La nuova valuta Euro
(a cura del Comitato Euro)

·      Dipartimento dell’Amministrazione Generale, del Personale e dei Servizi del Tesoro

·      Dipartimento per le Politiche fiscali

·      Dipartimento per le Politiche di Sviluppo

·      Dipartimento della Ragioneria Generale dello Stato

-       Banca Dati Normativa Summa Lex

(provvedimenti normativi primari e secondari dal 1865 in materia di Contabilità pubblica e organizzazione delle Amministrazioni Pubbliche)

·      Dipartimento del Tesoro

·      Agenzia del demanio

·      Agenzia delle dogane

·      Agenzia delle entrate

·      Agenzia del territorio


Ministero della giustizia

·      Bollettino ufficiale


Ministero delle infrastrutture e dei trasporti


Ministero dell’interno

·      Agenzia della Protezione Civile

·      Dipartimento per gli Affari interni e territoriali

-       Direzione Centrale della Finanza Locale

·      Dipartimento della Pubblica Sicurezza

-       DCSA - Direzione Centrale dei Servizi Antidroga

-       DIA - Direzione Investigativa Antimafia

·      Consulta per l’Islam italiano

·      Consulta giovanile per il pluralismo religioso e culturale


Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca

·        Studenti e Diritto allo Studio

·        Università

·        Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica

·        Alta Formazione Artistica e Musicale


Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione


Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale

·      SIL - Sistema Informativo Lavoro

·      Portale Italia Lavoro – Orientamento, formazione e lavoro in Italia


Ministero della Solidarietà Sociale


Ministero delle politiche agricole e forestali


Ministero della salute

·      DROnet (in collaborazione con il Coordinamento Regioni sulle Tossicodipendenze) Ministers without portfolio


·       Affari Regionali e autonomie Locali

·       Attuazione del Programma di Governo

·      Riforme e Innovazioni nella Pubblica Amministrazione

-     Funzione Pubblica

-     Innovazione e Tecnologie

·      Diritti e Pari Opportunità

·      Rapporti con il Parlamento e Riforme Istituzionali

·      Politiche Europee

·      Politiche per la Famiglia

·      Politiche Giovanili e Attività Sportive


1.2. Italian Public Bodies

ACI – Automobile Club d’Italia

AGCM – Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato

Agenzia per la protezione dell’ambiente e per i servizi tecnici

·      SINAnet – Rete Nazionale di Informazione in campo Ambientale

ARAN – Agenzia per la rappresentanza negoziale delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni

·      Contratti del settore pubblico (banche dati dei Contratti ARAN e delle Ordinanze)

Autorità per l’energia elettrica e il gas

Autorità per la vigilanza sui lavori pubblici

Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni

Banca d’Italia

·      Ufficio Italiano dei Cambi (UIC)

·      CCIAA - Camere di commercio, industria, artigianato e agricoltura

·      Unioncamere - Unione italiana delle CCIAA

·      Il Portale delle Camere di Commercio italiane

·      Camera di Commercio di Milano

-   RisolviOnline (servizio di risoluzione online delle controversie)

CIDE – Centro Nazionale di Documentazione e Informazione Europea

CNEL – Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro

·      Archivio nazionale dei contratti e degli accordi collettivi di lavoro

CNIPA – Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica nella Pubblica Aministrazione

Commissione Europea – Rappresentanza in Italia

CONI – Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano

CONSOB – Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa

Esercito Italiano

Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali

ICE – Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero

·        eMarket Services Italia

IPA – Indice delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni

IPZS – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato

·        Ispolitel-Guritel: servizio di banche dati online

ISS – Istituto Superiore di Sanità

ISTAT – Istituto Nazionale di Statistica

Marina Militare

Polizia di Stato

·      Sicurincittà (in collaborazione con Kataweb)

SIAE – Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori

UNI – Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione

( oppure )

URL degli URP: gli URP in rete


1.2.1. Regions

Conferenza dei Presidenti delle Regioni e delle Province autonome

·      Coordinamento per i Beni Culturali: leggi e documenti

Conferenza dei Presidenti dell’Assemblea dei Consigli Regionali e delle Province autonome

Costituzioni Regionali

Centri Regionali di Competenza per l’ e-Government e la Società dell’Informazione



1.2.2. Provinces

UPI - Unione delle Province d’Italia

UPITEL - Rete Telematica delle Province d’Italia



1.2.3. Communes

ANCI – Associazione Nazionale dei Comuni Italiani

Ancitel – La Rete Telematica dei Comuni Italiani

Comuni d’Italia



1.3. Judicial Bodies and Offices

Ministero della Giustizia

Corte Costituzionale

·      Pronunce e massime

(testi delle pronunce dal 1999 e delle massime dal 1956)

Corte dei Conti

Corte Suprema di Cassazione

·      Centro Elettronico di Documentazione

·      Sistema Italgiure Web

CSM – Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura

Giustizia amministrativa (Consiglio di Stato e Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali)

Giustizia tributaria (Commissioni Tributarie Regionali e Commissioni Tributarie Provinciali)

Giustizia militare italiana


1.4. Associations and Labour Unions

ABI – Associazione Bancaria Italiana

ANM – Associazione Nazionale Magistrati

Associazione culturale per lo studio del Diritto e dell’Informatica

Associazione italiana della comunicazione pubblica e istituzionale

Associazione Nazionale Forense

Consiglio Nazionale Forense

Consiglio Nazionale del Notariato

Consulta per la Giustizia Europea dei Diritti dell’Uomo

ELSA – The European Law Students’ Association - Italia

EuroJuris Italia – Gli studi legali italiani in Europa

FTI – Forum per la Tecnologia dell’Informazione



1.5. Traditional and Online Magazines

Cahiers européens – European Forum of Public Law

The Cardozo Electronic Law Bulletin

Ciberspazio e Diritto

Diritti & Doveri

(Rivista telegiuridica)

Diritto & Diritti

Diritto & Giustizi@ – Quotidiano di informazione giuridica

European Law Journal

Foro Europa

(Rassegna di giurisprudenza comunitaria e diritto europeo)

(Il portale del giurista - rivista giuridica telematica)

Il Foro Italiano

(Rivista on line)

Gazzetta Ufficiale gratuita

(Ultimi sessanta giorni)

Guida al Diritto on line – Il Sole-24 Ore


(Rivista di Informatica, Telematica e Diritto)

Informatica e Diritto

(Rivista Internazionale di Informatica e Diritto)

InterLex – Diritto, Tecnologia, Informazione

Leggi d’Italia – quotidiano giuridico

(Guida aggiornata per aree tematiche su tutta la normativa italiana ed europea)

(Rivista Internet di diritto pubblico)


( Notiziario Giuridico Telematico )

Le Nuove Voci del Diritto

(Rubrica settimanale di dottrina)

Palomar – Osservatorio di diritto costituzionale

(Notiziario trimestrale di diritto costituzionale redatto nell’ambito del Dottorato di ricerca in Diritto pubblico comparato della Facoltà di Economia dell’Università di Siena)

Studiocelentano. it

Quotidiano di diritto e delle nuove tecnologie informatiche


1.6. Private Initiative Web Sites

Censis – Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali



(Portale giuridico delle nuove tecnologie)

E-jus .it

(Legislazione e Giurisprudenza italiana inerenti al Diritto di Internet)


Gazzetta no problem

(consultazione gratuita di tutti i sommari della Gazzetta Ufficiale, Serie generale)

GIURAMM – Giurisprudenza Amministrativa

( also here )

Giustizia italiana

GURI – La Gazzetta Ufficiale

(a cura di Connect; servizio a pagamento)

Index Europea

(fornisce a pagamento “Emana”, banca dati online nell’area legislativa, giurisprudenziale e del lavoro)


(Internet e le sue leggi)

JeI – Jus e Internet

(servizi in abbonamento per il giurista)

Leggiweb – Leggi italiane

(ricerche sui 4 codici, codice della strada, Costituzione)


(tutto sulla tutela dei dati personali)

Il Processo telematico

STING – Sistema Telematico d’Informazione Giuridica

(Gazzetta Ufficiale italiana e avvisi di gare d’appalto [a pagamento])

[actually “Under Construction”]


1.7. Law Libraries

Ministero della giustizia: Biblioteca centrale giuridica



1.8. Research Institutions

CNR - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

(for a complete List of Research Institutions click here )

·      IRSIG – Istituto di Ricerca sui Sistemi Giudiziari – Bologna

·      ISGI – Istituto di Studi Giuridici Internazionali – Roma

·      ISSiRFA – Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali Federali e sulle Autonomie “Massimo Severo Giannini” – Roma

·      ITTIG – Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica - Firenze

ENEA- Ente Nazionale per l’Energia Alternativa

Dipartimento Ambiente - Bologna

(leggi e sentenze ambientali)




1.9. Italian Legal Documentation



1.9.1. Legislation

Accordi Internazionali [Min. Esteri]

Contratti del settore pubblico [Aran]

(Banche dati dei Contratti ARAN e delle Ordinanze)

Contratti e accordi collettivi di lavoro [CNEL]

Direttive comunitarie [Min. Politiche Comunitarie]

Gazzetta Ufficiale gratuita [IPZS]

(ultimi 60 giorni)

Gazzetta Ufficiale [Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato]

Gazzette, leggi e normative [Rete civica Aesinet]

Leggi dalla XIII Legislatura (dal 9 maggio 1996) [Parlamento]

Leggi [InfoLEGES]

Leggi italiane [LeggiWeb]

(4 codici, codice della strada, Costituzione)

Leggi Regionali [Camera dei Deputati]

Legislazione comparata [ParlaLex]

Normativa europea [Unione Europea]

·      Eur-Lex (il diritto dell’UE)

·      Celex (tutto il diritto comunitario)

·      Ted (gare d’appalto)

·      Scad (sintesi della legislazione)

·      PreLex (procedure interistituzionali)

Normativa italiana ed europea [NIR - Norme in Rete]

(documentazione proveniente dai siti istituzionali)

Normativa comunitaria e internazionale, codici e leggi nazionali e regionali, contratti collettivi – ItalgiureWeb [Ced-Cassazione]

(ricerche a pagamento)

Trattati Internazionali [Min. Esteri]



1.9.2. Jurisprudence

Giurisprudenza comunitaria [Unione Europea]

(Corte di Giustizia e Tribunale di primo grado delle Comunità Europee)

Giurisprudenza costituzionale [Corte Costituzionale]

(pronunce dal 1999 e massime dal 1956)

Giurisprudenza costituzionale [Consulta Online]

Giurisprudenza della Cassazione e delle altre supreme Corti,

comunitaria, di merito, TAR, tributaria - ItalgiureWeb [Ced-Cassazione]

(ricerche a pagamento)

Giurisprudenza  amministrativa  [Segretariato  generale  giustizia  amministrativa]

[Consiglio di Stato e Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali]



1.9.3. Parliamentary Acts

Disegni di legge, ordini del giorno, resoconti assemblea, attività senatori, giunte e commissioni [Senato]

Atti di controllo e di indirizzo politico

(interrogazioni, interpellanze, mozioni, risoluzioni, ordini del giorno) [Camera dei Deputati]



1.9.4. Legal Authority

Bibliografia con abstracts delle riviste giuridiche – DoGi [ITTIG-CNR]

Bibliografia dei periodici di economia, diritto e scienze sociali [ESSPER]

Dottrina giuridica e sentenze  edite e annotate – ItalgiureWeb  [CED-Cassazione]

Dottrina giuridica []


1.10. Web Guides to Italian Law

Diritto e Società onLine

Diritto Italia (ITTIG - CNR)


DFP – Documentazione di Fonte Pubblica in rete

GIGO – Guida all’Informazione Giuridica Online (ITTIG - CNR)

LIUC  Virtual Library: diritto

Ricerche  giuridiche  in rete

(a cura della Biblioteca di Giurisprudenza, Lettere e Filosofia dell’Università di Milano)



1.11. Italian Legal Search Engines and Portals

Altalex – Quotidiano di informazione giuridica


Diritto & Diritti


Diritto Online


(il motore di ricerca della dottrina)

Duralex online

Erga Omnes – Diritto alla fonte

ItaLex il portale nazionale del cittadino

(a cura del Dipartimento per l’Innovazione e le Tecnologie)

IusReporter – esplorazioni giuridiche



Kataweb – i portali giuridici

·      CittadinoLex

·      AziendaLex

·      EuropaLex

·      PensioniLex

MDM Juris

NIR – Norme in Rete

(catalogo sistematico delle pagine Web giuridiche)

SuperEva: Leggi e Diritto

Yahoo! Italia: Diritto



1.12. European Community, Foreign, and International Law

Unione Europea

·      Ufficio delle pubblicazioni

·      GUCE - Gazzetta Ufficiale delle Comunità Europee

·      Ricerca numeri della GUCE

·      Biblioteca Centrale

·      ECLAS - catalogo integrato delle biblioteche

Banche dati dell’Unione Europea

·      Eur-Lex (il diritto dell’UE)

·      Celex (tutto il diritto comunitario)

·      Ted (gare d’appalto)

·      Scad (sintesi della legislazione)

·      PreLex (procedure interistituzionali)

Parlamento Europeo

·      OEIL – Osservatorio legislativo (in inglese)

·      Ufficio per l’Italia

Consiglio dell’Unione Europea

Commissione Europea

·      Bollettino dell’Unione Europea

·      Direzioni generali e Servizi

·      Rappresentanza in Italia della Commissione europea

Corte di Giustizia e Tribunale di primo grado delle Comunità Europee

Corte dei Conti Europea

Banca Centrale Europea

Banca europea per gli investimenti

Fondo europeo per gli investimenti

Comitato economico e sociale

Comitato delle Regioni

Europol – European Police Office


Mediatore europeo

UAMI – Ufficio per l’Armonizzazione nel Mercato Interno (marchi, disegni, modelli)

Ufficio comunitario delle varietà vegetali

Consiglio d’Europa

·      Corte europea dei Diritti dell’Uomo

·      Commissario per i Diritti dell’Uomo

ONU – Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite

·        Corte internazionale di giustizia

·        ONU – International Law

·        ONU – Tribunale penale internazionale




2. Glossary of the Most Frequently Used Italian Legal Terms





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 advise 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 judgements 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, treatment of foreigners).

Disposizioni transitorie e finali della Costituzione [Transitional and Final Provisions of the Constitution] : provisions, marked by Roman numbers, that 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, that 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 behaviour 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 [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.).


F ree of charge databases


As a result of a brief survey of the Internet legal resources above mentioned, only few ones can be classified as free of charghe.


As far as the Italian Legislation we can cite:

1)      NIR ( Norme In Rete ). The NIR system contains UE legislation, Italian State and Regional laws, judicial decisions and relevant legal documentation [See paragraph C.1.];

2)     IPZS ( Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato ) contains the Italian legislation published on the “Gazzetta Ufficiale” during the last sixty days [See paragraph B.4.2.];

3)     Parlamento Italiano (Italian Parliament), Camera dei Deputati , Senato della Repubblica . Through the Italian Parliament Web site we have access to the Italian Constitution (in English, French, German, Spanish, Arabian), Constitutional laws, Italian State laws (from 1996 – thirteenth Legislature), Italian State laws of particular relevance , laws of the Italian Regions and the autonomous Provinces from its establishment (in full text), electoral laws , Rule of the Chamber , other Rules ;

4)     the oldest one is an initiative of the Municipality of Jesi (Ancona) able to offer to the end user: 1) the Italian Official Gazette collecting Italian legislation from 1998 to 2007 ( ); 2) a data bank of the published normative acts from 1998 to 2007 ; 3) the Italian Official Gazette of the public competitions from 1997 to 2007 (); 4) access to the European Union Official Gazette and 5) Italian legislation of particular relevance, divided in sixteen thematic areas and chronologically arranged ;

5)     Archivio di legislazione : it is a very large database of Italian legislation from 1889 to 2006; the relative Guide is divided in many categories and it is possible to ask the introduction of missing laws.


In relation to the Italian Jurisprudence we can consult:


1)       The Corte Costituzionale (Italian Constitutional Court) Web site offers, in addition to Normative Texts , the Court’s Jurisprudence ( Pronunce – Court Pronouncements - e Massime – Summaries of Judgements) from 1956 to the present;

2)       in the field of Constitutional Law we have also the “ Consulta Online ” Web site, in which it is possible to search normative texts of constitutional relevance and the Constitutional Court decisions (until from 1956 up until today), as well as “Cronache” (Current Events), “Fonti” (Legal Sources), “Studi” (Scientific Contributions and Surveys);

3)       in the “ Giustizia Amministrativa ” (Administrative Justice) Web site there are databases  relative to the judicial activity (Ricorsi, Sentenze, Decreti, Ordinanze –Recources, Judgements, Decrees, Ordinances) of the Consiglio di Stato (Council of State) and of the Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali (TAR – Regional Administrative Courts);

4)       the Corte dei Conti Web site contains a database of the Court judicial decisions from 2001 to the present;

5)       the databases of the Corte Suprema di Cassazione are free of charge only for specified categories of users (see here )



In the field of the Italian Legal Literature :


1)       The DoGi (Dottrina Giuridica Italiana) database is actually accessible via subscription, whereas on the Web site only  a Demo version is available;

2)       free of charge is indeed the consultation of the “ Iusimpresa ” database (in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese), that is a ‘transversal’ collection of legal information covering the following areas: Private Law, Administrative Law, Civil Law, Law of Banking and Financial Intermediation, Labour Law, Commercial Law, Insolvency Law, Industrial Law, Criminal Law, Tax Law, European Union Law, Information and Communication Technologies Law, Accountancy, Economics and Finance. The archive provides the user with the following bibliographical data: author; title of the article, case note or monograph; title of the journal in wich the article or the case note is contained and the name of the  publisher;

3)       Italian Legal Literature relative to many sectors of the Law is accessible on the “ Diritto & Diritti ” Portal, in the Web page ;

4)       the Italian Legal Literature with relevance for specific areas is often available in the corresponding Web sites (see, for example, in addition to the above mentioned sites, “ ”);

5)       some Web sites contain as legal literature as legislation  and judicial decisions, especially in relation to determined fields of the Law (see, for an example, the mentioned site “ Diritto & Diritti ”).

[i] Sarah E. Thomas , (“ Carl A. Kroch Cornell University Library ), in her interesting article L’impiego del Portale per l’individuazione di risorse elettroniche specialistiche says: “Il termine ‘portale’ è diventato molto di moda e spesso è usato in modo piuttosto improprio” (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”).

[ii] See Marco Calvo, Fabio Ciotti, Gino Roncaglia, Marco Zela , Internet 2004, Bari, Laterza, 2004 .

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

[iv] 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.

[v] Actually the AIPA changed into CNIPA Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica nella Pubblica Amministrazione (National Centre for Informatics in the Public Administration).

[vi] This is a Web protocol that enables a user situated at a computer to link up to a remote host. After having established the link, the work station operates as a computer terminal (terminal emulation), allowing the local user to carry out an interactive dialogue sessions with this.

*In relation to this Section of the Guide interesting observations are in G. Peruginelli , Legal Information on the Web: the Case of Italy , in “International Journal of Legal Education”, 2006, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 327-357.

* * This Guide has been extracted and freely elaborated from M. Ragona , Guida ai siti Internet con materiali d’interesse giuridico , Technical Report No. 9/2006, Firenze, ITTIG-CNR, 39 pp.