Public Law Quarterly Review

The Rivista trimestrale di diritto pubblico (in English, Public Law Quarterly Review) was founded in 1951 and has since been the main scientific point of reference for Italian constitutional and administrative law scholars. Over the years it has been directed by the most renowned Italian public law scholars of the twentieth century: Guido Zanobini since  foundation through 1965, Massimo Severo Giannini from 1965 to 2000, Sabino Cassese from 2000 to date.

The Review’s principal focus is on publishing salient and original essays in public and administrative law, written by leading academics as well as promising young scholars. In addition to essays, the journal features short articles, legal news, book reviews, bibliographic profiles and information. The Review also publishes yearly reports, on EU law and on Italian constitutional and administrative law – which provide a brief overview of the main tendencies and events occurring in the field during the year under examination -, reviews of documents and parliamentary inquiries, and commentaries of the main constitutional and administrative law books. The Review requires authors to commit to not publish elsewhere the works that it accepts for publication. The approval of articles follows a rigorous and highly selective process of peer review.


no. 1 - 2019 January / March

What Remains of the Public Administration

On the subject of the public administration, many critical voices have been levelled. Some express the impatience of those who hold political power and expect the administration to be the faithful and mechanical executor of their will; others are more concerned with the effective capacity of the administration to carry out its tasks; others still react to the excessive weight of rules and controls. Against this background, many factors give rise to crisis: some originate externally from the administrations, and the rest from within the same administrative body. On the whole, they cause a significant nar- rowing of the perimeter of action of public administrations, which is in turn the result of a more general tendency to consider administrative law as a field that is dominated by only two tensions: the tension between the law and the administration, and that between the judiciary and the administration.

Politics and Administration: «The Italian Style»

This article focuses on a crucial issue for understanding the vices and virtues of the Italian public sector: the relationship between politics and the public administration, especially in the case of the administration of the central State. The author analyses the reasons for and effects of two significant phenomena that illustrate how in Italy, politics and the public administration are not separate: the legislative «overflow» by the Parliament and the Government, which affects and limits the power of administration, and the evolution of the public management. The article also provides an account of two instances of administrative reform of the public management, one suc- cessful and one unsuccessful. Last, the author presents the main problematic issues relating to the relationship between politics and the administration, as well as possible remedies for the short and the long term.

How the Activities of the Court of Auditors Affect Public Administrations

The activities of the Court of Auditors can pervade the daily actions of public administrations, especially at the functional level. This essay examines how, with regard to the main categories of activity carried out by the Court (checks, accounting agents and ascertainment of administrative responsibility), the administrations are conditioned in many aspects of their action, including on the basis of conditioned reflexes or — more or less founded — fear. This analysis takes into account the enormous complexity of the regulatory framework governing controls on public administrations and malfunctions that arise also due to the overlapping of tasks and roles. The persistent crisis of public finances exacerbates such a situation. However, at the territorial level, where the Court’s activities cannot have the same pervasiveness that they reach at central level, inopportune uses of public resources are more frequent and widespread.

Editorial Board

The Rivista trimestrale di diritto pubblico (in English, Public Law Quarterly Review) was founded in 1951 and has since been the main scientific point of reference for Italian constitutional and administrative law scholars.

Editorial Director:
Sabino Cassese
Scientific Advisory Board:
Jean-Bernard Auby
Francesca Bignami
Armin von Bogdandy
Mark Thatcher
Joseph H.H. Weiler
Editorial Vice-Director:
Bernardo Giorgio Mattarella
Board of Editors:
Stefano Battini
Lorenzo Casini
Marco D’Alberti
Giulio Napolitano
Aldo Sandulli
Luisa Torchia
Giulio Vesperini
Managing Editor:
Elisa D’Alterio
Web Editors:
Elisa D'Alterio
Bruno Carotti
Giuseppe Sciascia