The italian administrative procedure act: back to the future
Were one to ask any Italian
academic which piece of Italian legislation is currently the most important for
administrative law, the reply would invariably be the law on administrative
procedure (Law no. 241 of 1990).
From its very beginnings, Law no. 241 of 1990 has occupied a special place in the Italian legislative terrain. Indeed, it is the fruit of the work carried out by a commission of academics appointed in 1979 by the then Minister for the Civil Service, Massimo Severo Giannini, and presided over by Mario Nigro (two of the greatest professors of administrative law active during the second half of the twentieth century). Thus Law no. 241 was the product of the intellectual ambition of a narrow circle of academics. Basing their work not only on the consolidated line of administrative case-law but also on comparative legal research, they introduced the principles of participation, simplification and transparency: consider, for example the rules on timeframes and the officer responsible for procedures, as well as those governing agreements, the conference of services (a meeting of the representatives of the various public bodies involved in a procedure, who discuss possible solutions and take a decision by way of a majority of those present), communication of the commencement of a procedure and access to administrative documents.