Informations and abstract
The choice, cultivated by historians and archivists over the past thirty years, to enhance the use of archival sources in the history of institutions, has also helped usher in a new season in the history of the judiciary. Three crucial issues have emerged from these recent studies. The first concerns the social background and geographical origin of Italian judges; the second their culture within national legal traditions; the third their relationship with political power. First, the judicial profession has, since early post-Unification, been dominated by a very sharp cleavage between the «high» and «low» judiciary, separated by a large and obvious gap in income. Second, the culture consists of positive law, learned in university studies, but the jurisprudence also affects juridical language and the substance of the decisions. Last is the role of politics and the tension, throughout the entire experience of Unification, with regard to the autonomy that seems to characterize the judiciary.