Glossary


Applicant: the state, a region or an autonomous province, or the branch of state which commences proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws by direct application to the Court, or proceedings concerning a jurisdictional dispute between the state and the regions, or between different branches of state.
Application: is the petition for certiorari for proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws where the Court is seized directly and for proceedings concerning jurisdictional disputes between branches of state and between public bodies.
Constitutional principles: the provisions of the Constitution, constitutional laws or other sources referred to by them or on which they are based, which are claimed to have been violated.
Contested measure: the measure subject to review by the Court. In proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws, whether commenced on an interlocutory basis or by direct application to the Court, it is a provision or rule contained in a state or regional law. In proceedings concerning jurisdictional disputes between the state and the regions and between different branches of state it generally concerns any non legislative act, including the failure to take action.
Decision or judgment: the measure which concludes the constitutional proceedings. It is comprised of the headnote, the statement of facts, the reasons and the order. It may take the form of a judgment or an order.
Headnote: the initial part of the judgment containing an indication of the members of the Court, the details of the petition for certiorari, the public hearing or hearing in chambers in which the question was discussed, the judge rapporteur and the counsel heard by the Court.
Hearing in chambers: the forum in which the Court examines the questions not discussed in the public hearing and takes all decisions.
Judgment: one of the two forms which the rulings of the Court may take. It contains a decision. Operative part: the concluding part of the judgment or order which contains the Court's ruling (for example, ?declares that Article ? is unconstitutional?; ?rules groundless the question of the constitutionality of law ??).
Order: one of the two forms which the Court's rulings may take. It contains a brief statement of the reasons and its content may take the form of a decision or an interlocutory order.
Order for measures of inquiry: the decision by which the Court formally orders the measures of inquiry considered appropriate in order to decide on particular questions.
Pending proceedings: proceedings concerning petitions for certiorari that have been placed before the Court and are awaiting decision.
Petition for certiorari: the act which initiates proceedings before the Court. It takes the form of a referral order in proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws on an interlocutory basis, and an application in proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws where the Court is seized directly and in proceedings concerning jurisdictional disputes between the state and the regions and between different branches of state. In proceedings concerning the admissibility of referenda for the repeal of legislation, the power ? and duty ? of the Court to rule arises following an order by the Central Office for Referenda established with the Court of Cassation which rules on the legitimacy of the request for a referendum. Finally, criminal proceedings against the President of the Republic are commenced by a resolution to bring charges adopted by Parliament in plenary assembly.
Proceedings concerning a jurisdictional dispute between branches of state (conflict between branches of state): the proceedings commenced by a branch of state requesting the Court to protect its sphere of competence guaranteed under the Constitution against infringements ? generally non legislative ? by another branch. The proceedings are comprised of two stages. In the first stage the Court adopts an order in chambers by which it evaluates the admissibility of the dispute filed by the Applicant authority. During the second stage, which concerns the merits of the dispute, the Court establishes by judgment which state power is vested with the disputed competence.
Proceedings concerning a jurisdictional dispute between the state and the regions or between regions (conflict between public bodies): the proceedings commenced by the state (or by a region) requesting the Court to protect its sphere of competence guaranteed under the Constitution against (non legislative) infringements committed by a region (or by the state, or by another region).
Proceedings concerning the admissibility of referenda for the repeal of legislation: the proceedings by which the Court rules admissible or inadmissible a referendum seeking to repeal a state law in whole or in part, which has already been ruled formally valid by the Central Office for Referenda at the Court of Cassation.
Proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws on an interlocutory basis: the constitutionality proceedings commenced, during the course of a trial, by a court which requests the Court to review the constitutionality of a statutory provision which it is required to apply.
Proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws in which the Court is seized directly: the constitutionality proceedings commenced by the state against a regional law or by a region against a state law or the law of another region.
Proceedings on charges brought against the President of the Republic: the criminal proceedings, initiated pursuant to a resolution by Parliament in plenary assembly, in which the Court tries the President of the Republic for the offences of high treason and the attempt to change the Constitution by unlawful means.
Public hearing: the forum in which the Court examines the questions in the presence of the public, hearing the report from the designated judge and the interventions by counsel of the parties and the state or regional representative.
Publication in the Official Journal of the Italian Republic: is the form of legal publication of petitions for certiorari and the decisions of the Court.
Question: a question placed before the Court. A question is precisely defined as regards the contested provisions or measures and the constitutional principles claimed to have been violated.
Reasons: the part of the judgment or order in which the Court sets out the reasons on which its decision is based.
Referral order: is the petition for certiorari for proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws made on an interlocutory basis.
Referring court or lower court: the judicial authority which commences proceedings concerning the constitutionality of laws on an interlocutory basis, suspending the trial pending before it.
Register of Applications: the list, available on the Court's website, of the applications by which the Court is seized directly and pending decision.
Register of disputes between branches of state: the list, available on the Court's website, of applications concerning jurisdictional disputes between branches of state received by the Court and pending decision.
Register of disputes between public bodies: the list, available on the Court's website, of the applications concerning jurisdictional disputes between public bodies received by the Court and pending decision.
Register of Orders: the list, available on the Court's website, of the referral orders received by the Court and pending decision.
Register of proceedings concerning the admissibility of referenda for the repeal of legislation: the list, available on the Court's website, of the applications for referenda placed before the Court for review and pending decision.
Register of proceedings on charges brought against the President of the Republic: the list, available on the Court's website, of pending criminal proceedings.
Rubric of decisions: concise description, sub-divided into several parts, of the terms of the question and the outcome of the decision adopted by the Court.
Rubric of petitions for certiorari: concise description, sub-divided into several parts, of the terms of the question and of the challenges made by the applicant or referring body.
Schedule of cases: the measure adopted by the President of the Court which identifies the cases to be discussed in each public hearing or hearing in chambers, indicating also the judge rapporteur.
Source of law: the measure or fact which produces legal rules. The principle sources for the production of law in Italy are the Constitution and constitutional laws, the laws of the state and the regions, measures adopted by state with the force of law (legislative decrees and decree-laws), regulations and customs or conventions.
Summary: brief description of the reasons and the operative part of the Court's judgments.
Suspensory order: the decision by which the Court formally suspends the effects of the provisions or measures contested respectively pursuant to a direct application or a jurisdictional dispute between public bodies.
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