Nel diritto parlamentare il ricorso al precedente è sempre stato assai frequente. Le norme codificate nei regolamenti parlamentari coprono solo una parte limitata dei casi che possono presentarsi nella vivace attività che si svolge nelle assemblee politiche. Nella Camera e nel Senato italiani, i precedenti hanno giocato un ruolo particolarmente significativo dopo i mutamenti registratisi nel sistema politico-istituzionale nel 1993. In parte ciò è dovuto al fatto che i regolamenti delle due Camere hanno subìto poche e limitate modifiche negli ultimi due decenni. In altra parte ciò deriva dalle profonde trasformazioni che si sono registrate sia nella forma di governo, sia nella forma di Stato, e che si sono riflesse anche, come era prevedibile, sul funzionamento delle assemblee parlamentari. Il volume, che raccoglie contributi sia di studiosi di diritto parlamentare, sia di funzionari della Camera e del Senato, si propone di offrire un panorama critico della questione, offrendo punti di vista anche assai diversi. Si tratta di un lavoro utile tanto nel caso in cui, nei prossimi anni, si avvii un percorso di riscrittura integrale dei regolamenti delle due Camere, quanto ove invece questi testi restino immutati, almeno nel loro impianto di fondo: nell’una come nell’altra ipotesi, infatti, sembra particolarmente avvertita l’esigenza di accompagnare i regolamenti vigenti con raccolte aggiornate e pubbliche dei precedenti, avvalendosi delle tante possibilità offerte dalle nuove tecnologie e dalle potenziate forme di pubblicità dei lavori parlamentari.
The resort to precedents has always been very frequent in parliamentary law. The written provisions of the parliamentary Rules of procedures cover just a limited part of the innumerable cases and events that can arise within the lively and often unpredictable life of the elective assemblies. Often the great pressure put on the Parliament by politics and by political circumstances is so strong that a certain interpretation of the Rules of procedure can become mandatory or that their derogation or non-application is somewhat compulsory. On those occasions, usually a significant precedent is established.
Furthermore, uncodified rules have always played a major role in parliamentary dynamics and with regard to the actual functioning of the forms of government. Since the setting up of the Italian parliamentary system and throughout the history the Chamber of Deputies and Senate precedents have counted a lot, as has been pointed out by parliamentary advisors, although an explicit acknowledgment of the word "precedent" is lacking in the Rules of procedure. In particular – as has been shown by Nicola Lupo in his foreword – parliamentary precedents seem to have become crucial following the transformation of the political and institutional system of 1993. This depends, on the one hand, on the fact that in the last twenty years the Rules of procedure of both Chambers have undergone few and very limited modifications. Thus their structure is still that the one established in 1971, though with the substantial amendments approved in the 1980s (and to a lesser extent in the following decade, in the Chamber of Deputies). On the other hand, the centrality of parliamentary precedents is the result of the material changes which took place in the last two decades in the form of government (as regards the relationship between the Executive and the Parliament and between majority and opposition) and in the form of state (as a consequence of the enhancement of self-government and the deepening of the European integration process); changes which have been mirrored in the functioning of parliamentary assemblies.
In the first place, thanks to the invaluable cooperation of many parliamentary counselors, this volume is intended to shine a light on the aura of mystery that – as has been recalled – often surrounds the creation, the archiving and the use of parliamentary precedents. With regard to this, the introductions by Annamaria Riezzo and Giuseppe Filippetta provide a personal "view from the inside", which is particularly precious: the former contribution reveals, in a critical and even fascinating way, the evolution of the administrative structures of the Chamber of Deputies devoted to the archiving and the selection of precedents (also considering the different expressions used to define this specific activity); the latter outlines, by means of scholarly references and engaging arguments, the reasons explaining the flexibility of parliamentary law which derives from the political culture and from the value of the "time factor" in the present scenario of global financial capitalism
Afterwards and in the light of these two introductions, the volume is devoted to the critical examination of the creation, the features and the resort to precedents. Indeed, this topic presents uncertain boundaries and can be studied from several standpoints. For instance, Renato Ibrido analyses it according to the perspective of the methods of interpretation of parliamentary law, emphasising the importance of a "results-driven methodology". Chiara Bergonzini frames this topic from the viewpoint of the status of the precedent within the sources of parliamentary law, in particular with regard to the iter of the Finance Bill, which has traditionally represented a topical subject: when the Rules of procedure are subject to a very strong tension. Not by chance, the contribution by Giovanni Piccirilli, who focuses on the "expansion" of the precedents (which appear to "migrate" from one parliamentary procedure to another), highlights that there are several hypotheses in which a certain procedure, originally applied only during the budget session, has then been used well beyond that.
Piero Gambale highlights the role of the Committees on Rules – that are the collegial bodies supporting the Speakers when he/she acts as "judge" of parliamentary law – in the rule-making and in the interpretation of the Chamber and Senate’s Rules of procedure, putting the current features of the Committees on Rules into question. Finally, Cristina Fasone deals with parliamentary precedents within the standing committees, showing that one of the main features of the Parliaments equipped with a real and effective "committee system" is in fact the circulation of precedents amongst committees and thus the consistency of the overall enforcement of those Rules in these minor bodies.
Two "remarks", by prominent parliamentary counselors of the Senate and scholars, Luigi Ciaurro and Daniele Piccione, follow the series of "reports" on specific issues concerning parliamentary precedents. Luigi Ciaurro’s contribution wishes for a new codification of parliamentary law in both Chambers; while Daniele Piccione offers a re-reading of the several dualisms and the unavoidable contradictions affecting parliamentary law and its interpreters.
In the first of two closing contributions Eduardo Gianfrancesco faces the challenging issue of the transparency and publicity of parliamentary precedents, hoping for their prompt increase and highlighting how many and which legal constraints coming from the national Constitution or rather from the European Union institutions are put on the parliamentary activity. In the second contribution, Michela Manetti, founding her discourse on the thesis of the flexibility of parliamentary law, underlines the deep transformations that took place in parliamentary procedures from 1993 onwards, finally being in favour of a more incisive constitutional review of parliamentary Rules of procedure by the Constitutional Court.