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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Traditionally, the courts played a subordinate role in the political system. However, the Constitution drawn up after the Fascist dictatorship in 1948 greatly increased judicial independence. Uncertainty over the political future led parties to prefer a strong judiciary independent both externally from political interference and internally from higher ranks. Judicial power has grown steadily especially since the 1970s, partially fuelled by the need to contrast political violence and organized crime. The judiciary became even more independent, developing a more activist conception of its role and gaining influence on the police. With politics in disarray after the 1992 corruption scandals, the judiciary further expanded its prerogatives. Relations between politics and courts have often been stormy, especially during Berlusconi’s attempts to curtail judicial power. Yet the judiciary’s strong position is unlikely to be reversed, and “judicialization” is likely to remain a key feature of Italian politics.

Keywords: judiciary, organized crime, Silvio Berlusconi, corruption scandals, Fascist dictatorship

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