16 February 2022

Italy's reform of Judiciary Council, the first steps in a complex but necessary review

The proposed reform of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM) - which has reached the Italian parliament in the last few days at the initiative of the Minister Marta Cartabia - marks a further significant and fundamental step in restoring the trust of Italian citizens in the country’s justice system. Indeed, even more than a technical matter, justice is a question of trust. It is essential for any modern country. So the proposed CSM reform is very welcomed. Although the Ambrosetti Club's vision of the issue is at times more provocative, we fully agree with many of the interventions proposed by the Minister, considering them to be in line with our vision. Starting from the review of the rules on the so-called “revolving doors”. 

In our view, it is unthinkable that a magistrate who has moved into politics, in any form, can return to the judiciary world. The proposed tightening of this rule is a fair response. Another fundamental issue is the election of the members of the CSM, and particularly the fact that it would become impossible to choose future members within existing lists, which are often an indirect reflection of the so-called “factions”. It is high time for a procedure that encourages open candidatures. This may not protect the system from all forms of “interferences”, but ensures a greater transparency. Putting a stop to group appointments, in favor of a fixed-term approach also moves in this direction.

In this regard, we consider the decision to assign less importance to seniority of service to be significant. Seniority of service and merit do not always go hand in hand. In our view, the assessment of a judge’s work is essential, and we positively welcome the greater focus on the issue proposed in this reform, also including the opinion of the lawyers in the judicial councils on the professional assessments of magistrates.

All in all, it is a complex reform with some critical points, but at last it seeks to break the rules and customs that have led to a crisis of values that was obvious to everyone. Now the Italian Parliament and its politicians have the task of carrying forward these essential developments.

Justice is first a matter of trust and then of method - read on Huffington Post the comment by Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner & CEO The European House - Ambrosetti