Crime and Court news

The Italian judges’ parliament

A plenary session of the Higher Council of the Judiciary.

The first Italian Constitution, the Statute of the Kingdom of Piedmont, ensured the independence of the judiciary. However, it was a weak constitution, since it could be simply ignored by the Parliament. Therefore, the fascist Government easily took control of the judiciary amending the laws in force and increasing the powers of the Minister of Justice.

To avoid this happening again, the current Constitution is binding on the Parliament and states that judges and prosecutors can be promoted or demoted only by the Higher Council of the Judiciary, an assembly where two thirds of the seats are reserved for elected judges and prosecutors.

Unfortunately, this created unofficial judiciary politics, with magistrates organizing themselves into “factions” (officially associations). Such factions, rumored to be politically oriented, fight to lead their members to the highest layers of the judicial pyramid, taking into account their affiliation rather than their service record.

All of this is well known. However, changing the system would require a reform of the Constitution which no party looks seriously willing to attempt. The judiciary has a strong lobbying power and is generally supported by the public, which sees District Attorney’s Offices as the sole defense against the widespread political corruption.

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