Paolo Carnevale

Constitutional Court, Electoral Laws, Self-Applicability of the Outcome Law. Dissenting from Roberto Romboli

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The article intervenes in debates about an Italian Constitutional Law doctrine which limits the ability of the Constitutional Court to declare electoral laws unconstitutional in order to guarantee the continued functionality of the said electoral laws – s.c. doctrine of self applicability of the outcome law (the parts of the law surviving after a finding of unconstitutionality). In particular, the article reacts to a recent intervention by Roberto Romboli, which appears very critical of the said doctrine. The article first traces both the origins of the doctrine of self-applicability and its most visible recent applications in Constitutional Court decisions declaring the unconstitutionality of electoral laws in 2014 and 2017. The essay then proceeds to discuss three key issues: the effects of the doctrine on the effectiveness of constitutional review of electoral laws; the interaction between the doctrine and the unusual regime of temporal effects adopted by the Constitutional Court in the same decisions; other potential approaches that could address the same problem, namely ensuring the continued functionality of the electoral law


  • Electoral Law
  • Continued Functionality
  • Declaration of Unconstitutionality
  • Self-Application of the Outcome Law


Article first page

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