Chiara Bergonzini

The Overturned Pyramid: the Hierarchy of Legal Sources in Parliamentary Law

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Legal Sources, Parliamentary Standing Orders, Statute Law, Criteria of Systemisation

According to most legal scholars, Italian parliamentary sources of law are based on a heterogeneous legal corpus structured as a hierarchy. However, what is the relationship between those sources of law, when Parliament is actually exercising its functions? The article begins with a close examination of the Parliament's daily work (especially through parliamentary records), which highlights the remarkable gap existing between theory and practice in terms of concrete enforcement of parliamentary law. In the first part of the essay, the author provides an overview of parliamentary sources of law, with special focus on "precedent" and the way it is used by the Italian Parliament. In the second part of her essay the author looks at the issues of interpretation of precedent and parliamentary practice and their (disputed) compatibility with the Constitution taking the doctrine of precedent in English law as one of her parameters of analysis.

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