Nicolle Purificati

Unreviewability of opinions expressed by members of Parliament in the case law of the Italian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights

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The article is based on some recent decisions taken by the ECHR concerning the freedom of expression of elected members of collegial bodies. The ECHR accepts all domestic provisions on parliamentary immunity provided that they do not interfere with due process. In other words, the Court establishes a violation of due process when the relationship between the interests to be protected and the measures adopted is disproportioned. Notwithstanding a certain process of harmonization the author highlights the differences between the case law of the ECHR and the Italian Constitutional Court. In particular, she underlines the different criteria used to decide which opinions are to be covered by immunity and the different role played by the principle of proportionality. The latter plays a central role in the case law of the ECHR while it plays a much more marginal role in that of the Italian Constitutional Court. In conclusion, the author describes the most problematic aspects of the relationship between the ECHR and the Italian legal system following the approval of Constitutional law 3/2001 that amended art. 117 of the Italian Constitution.


  • unreviewability
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • proportionality


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