Maria Chiara Ubiali

The problematic interaction between regional administrative offences and state criminal law in the context of animal protection legislation

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The decision of the Constitutional Court no. 121/2023 provides an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between regional administrative sanctions and national criminal law. In particular, the decision under consideration deals with the question of the constitutionally legitimate ways of interaction between the administrative offences provided for by regional law for the protection of certain legal interests and the criminal offences that may be provided for by national legislation for the protection of the same interests. As is clear, the Court’s reasoning is rooted in the affirmation of the State’s exclusive competence in the field of criminal law, as laid down in Article 117(2) (l) of the Constitution. The ne bis in idem principle will also play a key role in the economy of this question of constitutionality. Indeed, the consideration of conventional and constitutional jurisprudence, as recently developed in this area, will be decisive in defining a legitimate mode of relationship between State criminal legislation and regional sanctioning provisions, which will ensure respect for the exclusive competence of the State in the field of criminal law. The opportunity to reflect on these issues is provided by the government’s censures against a Sicilian regional law on animal protection.


  • State’
  • s exclusive competence in the field of criminal law
  • ne bis in idem principle
  • animal protection


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