Italian justice reform

Government Approves Controversial Justice Reform


Premier Giorgia Meloni’s cabinet approved a significant justice reform bill on Wednesday, aiming to separate the career paths of prosecutors and judges within Italy’s judiciary.

This constitutional reform, drafted by Justice Minister Carlo Nordio, also proposes the establishment of a high court to discipline members of the judiciary. The decision was met with applause from ministers but sparked controversy and opposition within the judicial community.

Reform Highlights

The primary focus of the reform is to prevent members of the judiciary from switching between the roles of prosecutor and judge. Currently, the flexibility to move between these positions exists, but the new legislation will enforce a clear separation.

Justice Minister Nordio said the reform aims to create a fairer and more efficient justice system, fulfilling a long-standing promise made by the centre-right coalition.

Government’s Stance

Premier Meloni hailed the approval of the bill as a courageous move, underscoring her government’s commitment to fulfilling electoral promises. “Today the Italian government has fulfilled another commitment it had made to the Italian people,” Meloni declared in a video message.

She highlighted the historical significance of the reform, stating that it addresses an issue discussed for decades without resolution. “When it is right to do something in the interests of Italy and the Italian people, we simply do it,” she added.

The previous government led by Draghi initiated the reform.

Judicial Opposition

Despite the government’s enthusiasm, the National Association of Magistrates (ANM), the judiciary’s union, has strongly criticised the reform. They argue that it will undermine judicial independence and weaken the judiciary as a whole.

Nicola Gratteri, Naples Chief Prosecutor, described the reform as “an attempt to bring prosecutors under government control.” He noted that the actual practice of switching roles is minimal, with only 0.2% of judiciary members making such moves, questioning the necessity of the reform.

Impending Strike

In response to the bill’s approval, the ANM has announced plans to strike against the changes. Giuseppe Santalucia, head of the ANM, indicated that “every possible initiative will be weighed by the collegial bodies”. The union believes the reform threatens the independence of the judiciary and could lead to increased government influence over prosecutorial decisions.

Nordio countered the ANM’s criticisms by asserting the reform aligns with the electoral mandate given to the centre-right coalition by Italian voters in autumn 2022. He urged the magistrates to accept the verdict of popular sovereignty, suggesting that the reforms have implicit public support due to their inclusion in the coalition’s manifesto.

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