Making a Centralized System of Judicial Review Coexist with Decentralized Guardians of the Constitution: The Italian Way 

by Paolo Passaglia 

In the aftermaths of World War II, a mechanism for constitutional review was set up, to provide the system with means of reacting against infringements of the Supreme Law. Even though a Constitutional Court was established, the Italian system of constitutional adjudication is only partially inspired by Kelsen’s centralized model: actually, one its main features of the system is the cooperation between the Constitutional Court and ordinary courts. In the last decades, major changes have increased the system’s rate of decentralization, in connection with European integration and, most notably, with the new role for ordinary courts in the context of constitutional review. In this regard, the Constitutional Court required ordinary courts to refrain from submitting a question of constitutionality until they had examined – and excluded – the possibility of interpreting the provision at issue so as to render it constitutional. The constitutionally oriented legislative interpretation can be linked to the fact that Constitution has deeply penetrated society and the courtrooms, to the point that currently the protection of the Constitution can be effectively achieved by ordinary means, so that Constitutional Court’s guidance is needed much less frequently than in the past. 

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