Heather Memess, June 2019
We also recommend the following online research guides for foreign jurisdictions.
Italy as a nation is a relatively modern creation, being the result of a unification of numerous kingdoms, duchies and principalities in 1861. The French conquest of the Italian states in the 1790s introduced the Code Napoleon, and much legislation based on the French model survived in various jurisdictions over the next 50 years.
Although Italy is a unitary state according to the Constitution of 1948, a system of regional governments was established after the Second World War. Four "Special Regions" were set up in 1948, and a fifth in 1963, while the rest of the country was divided into 15 "Ordinary Regions" in a process lasting from 1970 to 1975.
Between 1865 and 1890 the usual complement of five codes for the whole of Italy was achieved: Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Commerce, Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure. A new Penal Code was introduced in 1931 and a Code of Civil Procedure in 1940. In 1942 a new Civil Code combined both civil and commercial law, so that there is no longer a separate Commercial Code. The current Code of Criminal Procedure appeared in 1988. To these four should be added the Code of Navigation (1942), which regulates both national and international sea and air transport. In addition to these are the military codes.
As with other continental jurisdictions, IALS sources are mainly commercial publications rather than official ones.
Our collection includes copies of the Italian constitution both in Italian and English.
An online resource for material relating to foreign constitutions, started in 2010, is World Constitutions Illustrated. This is a contemporary and historical collection of documents, which is available as part of the IALS subscription to HeinOnline. It is available to all users on site at IALS. Offsite access is limited to staff and students of IALS, SAS and University of London. It includes consolidated and original texts of the Constitution for different periods in time. It also provides full text links to a range of historical commentaries and articles about the Italian Constitution, selected by the editors.
IALS also holds the loose-leaf publication by Blaustein and Flanz Constitutions of the countries of the world (Volume 9, release 2007-3), but this no longer updated.
The constitution can also be found in both English and Italian on the website of the Chamber of Deputies.
For the main codes, we have a one-volume compilation:
Reference may also be made to the one-volume commentaries on each code described below under Treatises.
The Code of Navigation is represented by
The Civil Code is represented by:
The Civil Code was published in English translation in 1969, and a second edition appeared in 1991 in looseleaf format. This has since been superseded by a new 2012 edition which is available at IALS:
The text of the Italian Civil Code (Il Codice Civile Italiano) can be found in Italian on the website of the Cardozo Institute of Comparative Law at the University of Trento
The Code of Civil Procedure is represented by:
The Code of Criminal Procedure is represented by:
Sessional legislation is officially published in the Gazzetta ufficiale della Repubblica italiana, published since the foundation of the State in 1861. IALS has the commercially published series Lex, from 1915 until 2016 when it ceased publication. This contains both national and regional legislation. The IALS set is complete except for the years 1940-1942. Shelved with it is an index of legislation in force, both national and regional.
The Normattiva website can be used to search legislation published in the Official Gazette from 1946 onwards.
The full-text of laws of the current legislature can be found on the Parlamento Italiano web site.
cod. proc. civ., art. 660 comma, 5
l.reg. 7 agosto 1953 n.47
l. 7 agosto 1990 no.250
For legislation since 1987 try the digest Giustizia civile : repertorio generale annuale di legislazione, bibliografia, giurisprudenza. Published annually, the main work is arranged alphabetically by subject. Indexes at the back allow searching by the date and number of the law. This digest can also be used to check whether any changes have been made to any particular piece of legislation in any given year since 1987.
Alternatively if you know the date you can try the indexes in the annual volumes of Lex or, if you know the subject, try the index of legislation in force, both national and regional, shelved with Lex under the title La legislazione vigente 1981. This series can also be used to locate laws pre-1987 whose date is known.
The two most widely used general series of reports are
Specialized reports include
Decisions of the Constitutional Court (Decisioni della Corte costituzionale) can be accessed in Italian via Consulta Online
There are two categories of publication which may be described as "digests". Both the Foro italiano and Giurisprudenza italiana publish a companion series called a "massimario", usually published monthly and cumulated annually. These contain the "massime" or legal principles underlying the civil and criminal decisions of the Supreme Court (Corte de Cassazione). A special department of the Court is charged with extracting these "maxims", which to an English reader look rather like headnotes or entries in a case digest.
The Institute has only the Massimario della Giurisprudenza italiana on subscription (IALS incomplete holdings 1931-1980 then 1981-2007)
Other massimarii relating to specific areas of law are published, but none is received currently (there are a few random out of date volumes in the reserve collection).
Slightly wider in scope are publications with the title Repertorio, published annually. These reproduce not only massime from a large range of reports and periodicals, but also references to legislation, books and articles published during the year. Arrangement is alphabetical by subject.
You should be able to find an Italian case if you have any one or more of the following pieces of information:
Cass.civ.sez III, 27 aprile 1998 n.4285
Foro it . 1999, 1289
The main index is the digest Giustizia civile : repertorio generale annuale di legislazione, bibliografia, giurisprudenza [IALS 1987- 2012]. There are indexes at the end of each year allowing entry by party name, court name or date.
For cases pre-1987 for which you have the date you could try the annual indexes to the volumes of Foro italiano or Giurisprudenza Italiana (or its companion series Massimario della Giurisprudenza Italiana ) which allow searching by subject, date, party names or type of law (eg code, national, regional legislation). Foro italiano, which holds opinions from the Constitutional, civil, criminal and administrative courts, is available on JSTOR from 1876 to 2011.
Two publications may be placed in this category: the Digesto Italiano, which is not held by IALS, and the Enciclopedia del Diritto, which we do have.
The Enciclopedia del diritto is published by Guiffre in around 46 volumes since 1958.
There are several works on a grand scale in Italian legal literature, of which the Institute has very few. These are:
Our main work on company law is really an annotated collection of statutes and cases:
We have a collection of the Manuali giuridici : "manuals" or one-volume textbooks published by Giuffrè:
A series of useful one-volume "short commentaries" on the major codes are published by CEDAM under the collective title Breviaria Iuris . The Institute has the following volumes:
Recent acquisitions include:
Some recent English language books include:
Titles on current subscription are:
Together with the major law report series, these are all indexed in the Index to foreign legal periodicals. Italian titles in international and European law are excluded from this list.
The Institute holds an annual index to Italian legal literature from 1865 up to 1990 which includes not only periodical articles but also books published during the year: Dizionario bibliografico delle reviste giuridiche italiane edited by V. Napoletano. Giuffre, 1865-1961 in two volumes, then annual from 1962 to 1990.
The DoGi database of the Istituto per la Documentazione Giurdica (Institute for Legal Documentation) contains abstracts in Italian of articles published in around 350 Italian legal journals since 1970. A list of Italian libraries of legal interest with online information and catalogues can be found on the same site
The Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico is a government office merging all Italian public library catalogues into a single OPAC. The catalogue is reached via the National Library Service website. Several of the major Italian legal publishers have their catalogues available on the internet including Giuffre, Cedam, Utet and Zanichelli.
IALS holds the following Italian legal dictionaries:
For further abbreviations see Sprudzs, A. Italian abbreviations and symbols: law and related subjects (1969)
Useful starting points to sources of Italian legal information include:
Salvatore D'Elia, E and Ragona, M. Italy in Winterton, J and Moys, E (eds). Information sources in law (2nd ed). Bowker Saur, 1997.
Guide to Italian legal research and resources on the web, by Elio Fameli and Fiorenza Socci, was published in June 2006, and updated in July 2017 by Maria Angela Biasiotti and Elio Fameli on the Globalex website.
The site of the Instituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell' Informazione Giuridica (Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques) outlines the databases which it publishes, and includes some useful guides in Italian.
The Italy section of WorldLII, the law index and search service maintained by the Australasian Legal Information Institute, allows the browsing and searching of selected sites containing Italian primary legal materials.
The Eagle-i Internet Portal for Law, a guide to good quality law resources on the internet, includes over twenty items on Italy.
Diritto.net is a privately maintained portal to Italian legal information on the web.
Documentazione di Fonte Pubblica in Rete is a site created by the Italian Libraries Association providing access to public information on the web.