Legality vs Constitutional Principles: the Italian Experience after the Second World War

Prof. Claudia Storti
Full Professor of Legal medeval and modern history at Università degli studi of Milan – Italy


In the history of Europe, the affirmation of the principle of legality began to take shape between the 16th and 17th centuries, its path becoming especially complex and tortuous between the 19th and 20th centuries.
This research aims to outline some aspects of the debates and clashes between institutions that took place in Italy after its defeat in World War II, when it was necessary to rebuild the State and to re-found the relationship between government and citizens according to the principles of the new democratic constitution that came into force in January 1948.
On the one hand, this situation led to a clash between the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court, the former acting as a defender of legality, the latter as defender of the constitutionality of laws. On the other hand, it required continual adjustments in the checks and balances of powers, first and foremost as concerned the judicial branch and the legislative and executive branches of government.

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