AuthorFavilli, Chiara
The national legal system
The Italian legal system is based on a written Constitu tion, which entered into force on 1
January 1948 and is guaranteed by a relatively ce ntralised judicial review of enacted laws
adopted by either the national Parliament or regional legislative bodies.
The Italian regions have increasingly important law-making powers within the limits of
the state’s exclusive competences, in accordance with Article 117 of the Italian
Constitution. Measures for social integration and the practical organisation of public
services (social and health services, for instance) fall within the competence of the
regions; however, it is the role of central Government to determine ‘the basic level of
benefits relating to civil and social entitlements to be guaranteed throughout the national
territory’ (Article 117(2)(m)). Moreover, according to Arti cle 177(7) of the Italian
Constitution, ‘regional laws shall remove all obstacles which prevent the full equality of
men and women in social, cultural and econom ic life, and shall promote equal access of
men and women to elected office.’
The regi ons an d the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano participate in the EU
legislative process and apply and implement international agreements and European
Union legal acts. The regions with special constitutional status (Friuli Venezia Giulia,
Sardinia, Si cily, Trentino-Al to Adige and Valle d’Aosta) have particularly extensive
legislative powers.
The munici palities, provinces and metropol itan cities have regul atory powers in
accordance with the system of organi sation and mode of operation that has been g ranted
to them.
This division of compet ences i s far from clear and has generated considerable case law
from the Constitutional Court. As far as discri mination laws are concerned, in a judgment
of 2006 the Constituti onal Court quashed the section of a law enacted by the region of
Tuscany, which imposed (subject to an administrative sanction) an obligation of non-
discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation in commercial activities, since the
imposition of such an obligation falls under the exclusive competence of the state at
national rather than regi onal l evel, being an infringement of th e i ndividual’s freedom o f
Any laws, regulations, admini strative acts or municipal acts must comply with the
Constitution. In a ddition, provisions derived from international human rights instruments
(and the related jurisprudence from international courts) are also employed by Italian
courts, either in order to interpret Italian enacted law or to directly decide cases.
The equality principle and anti-discrimi nation laws can be applied by either ordinary or
administrative court s; case law is therefore ge nerated by decisions of the Constitutional
Court, ordinary judges and admini strative judges, dependin g on whether the case
concerns a constitutional review, a dispute among private individuals, a dispute with
public entities or a specific action against discrimination.
List of main legislation transposing and implementing the directives
The two anti-discrimination directives have been impl emented in Italy through the
adoption of two legislative decrees in 2003. Thos e legislative decre e are still in force and
only minor changes have been adopted later on.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT