Francesco Alicino

The reasonable accommodation of Italy’s secularism. The display of the crucifix and lessons coming from comparative law

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Italy, secularism, comparative law, religion, accommodation, equity, symbols, public spaces.

On September 9, 2021, the Joint Section of the Italian Supreme Court ruled on the compulsory display of the crucifix in State-school classrooms. The Joint Section took the opportunity to clarify the role of Italy’s supreme principle of secularism (principio supremo di laicità) in light of foreign and supranational precedents, such as those referring to the Grand Chamber of ECtHR, the Supreme Court of Canada and Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court. The Joint Section thus underscored the importance of an open-public debate involving all school bodies and aimed at reaching reasonable and equitable results. Accordingly, both the principle of proportionality and the nature of the balancing test should aim at accommodating the rights and freedoms of all parties involved. This essay analyses the impact of comparative laws on the Court’s ruling and the related legal perspectives.

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