Stefano Sicardi

The principle of 'laicità' in the Italian Constitutional Court case-law

  • Abstract

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In the present work, the Italian Constitutional Court case-law on the principle of 'laicità' is closely analysed. Unlike other system (as, for instance, the French one), in Italy the principle of 'laicità' is neither explicitly recognised nor defined at the constitutional or legislative levels. Recognition, nonetheless, has been granted by the Constitutional Court. Ever since 1989, the Court has ruled that the principle of 'laicità' is one of the 'supreme principles of constitutional system' on the basis of articles 2, 3, 7, 8, 19 and 20 of the Constitution (sentenza 203/1989). Later, the Court adjudicated various cases - examined in the work - where the principle of 'laicità' was applied to different matters. The Constitutional Court decisions are then confronted with lower courts (both ordinari and administrative) decisions on the display of religious symbols (the crucifix, in particular) in public spaces (classrooms, hospitals, and polling stations); and ultimately, the consistency of the latter decisions with the rulings of Constitutional Court in narrowly assessed.

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