This book originates from an attempt to investigate whether, and, if so, to what extent, the Parliaments of today, are, notwithstanding the complex transformations that have occurred in legal orders, still “Parliaments in committees”, as they were depicted by Leopoldo Elia in the past century. Relying on the assumption of prominent scholars and politicians, such as Josep Barthélemy, Woodrow Wilson and Michel Debré, the research aims to place the arrangement and powers of the various parliamentary committee systems in relation to the actual form of government, by looking at constitutional and legislative provisions, standing orders and rules of procedures, conventions and parliamentary practices. This allows us to test several hypotheses which form the basis of the present work: whether the structure, functions and prerogatives of standing committees determine the level of autonomy of parliamentary decision-making towards the executive; thus, whether the strength of legislatures largely relies on the position and the role of its committee system; and, finally, whether the attempts to undermine the committee systems pose a challenge to the institutional balance between the executive and the legislative branch, and, in the end, also de-legitimise the policy-making process. The analysis is carried out using the comparative law methodology, and, in particular, the so-called “prototypical case logic”, employed by Ran Hirschl, in selecting the case-studies. Five “models” have been identified in order to consider parliamentary organisation, especially the committee system, and the form of government: the U.S. Congress, the British, French, Italian and the European Parliaments. The inclusion of the European Parliament, and, therefore, of the European Union, is justified by its distinctive features: first of all, although it has a different nature, the European Union’s aspiration to mirror the functioning of nation states by combining national constitutional traditions in a new and creative way makes it a suitable model (in its constant tension between fused and separated power systems) for investigation; secondly, particularly after the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament has become a truly powerful institution, with regard to its legislative and oversight powers; thirdly, the European Parliament, mirroring the European Union, is the result of a combination of national parliamentary traditions which aims to make a potentially cumbersome decision-making process rapid and effective. Trying to develop the arguments raised by constitutional law scholars in the Twentieth century further, it is argued that, in the new century, not only should the mere existence of parliamentary standing committees be considered, but also the way in which “committee systems” are shaped and function. The term “committee system” encompasses the coherent and rational organisation of standing and specialised committees, in their mutual relationship, in their relationships with other parliamentary bodies and with the executive. After the definition of what a committee system is, and their historical origins in the five legal orders, the analysis is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the strength of the five committee systems, initially examining their discipline in terms of the number of committees, their size, appointments, internal organisation, party influence, transparency and resources, and then taking the procedural and organisational tools for inter-committee co-ordination into account as well as their autonomy with regard to other parliamentary bodies. The second part considers committee systems in their relationship with the executive branch, and, in particular, the presence of the executive in the committee system; the status of the opposition; how the agenda of committees is defined; the acknowledgement of veto or decision-making powers to committees; and the way in which committees exercise their legislative and the oversight functions. The definition of four types of committee systems (“weak”, “partially influential”, “strong”, and “predominant”), according to their level of specialisation, mutual co-ordination and autonomy vis-à-vis other parliamentary bodies, and then of four different forms of government based upon the features of the committee systems and their relationship with the executive (“insignificant”, “majoritarian”, “consensual”, and “decisive”) aims to explain how each committee-system model fits into a constitutional legal order, and thereby determines certain characteristics. Otherwise, the adoption of a non-corresponding committee system can be dysfunctional for the performance of the form of government and can cause schizophrenic effects for the determination of the general political directions and priorities (“indirizzo politico”). This is what happened, during the first forty years of the Italian Republic (1948-1992), when a form of government based upon a “decisive” committee system operated in the presence of “the confidence relationship” between the Parliament and the executive, further enhancing the fragmentation of the indirizzo politico. Indeed, especially in parliamentary forms of government, the organisational features, functions and powers of standing committees as a system strongly influence the stability of the executive. Given the ability of parliamentary committee systems to shape the form of government, albeit in combination with other elements – such as the provision of the “confidence relationship” – it would seem appropriate to protect and eventually enhance standing committees, as well as their co-ordination, through ad hoc legislative provisions and the amendment of parliamentary rules of procedure. Only a “strong” committee system is capable of striking an effective balance between politics and the technical constraints of legislation, and between transparency and the informality of decision-making processes, of dealing with public policies that have become more and more cross-sectional, of contributing to the definition of a unitary and coherent “indirizzo politico” amongst the different policy sectors, and of making the executive-legislative relationship more balanced, especially when the oversight powers of standing committees have been re-inforced.

Sistemi di commissioni parlamentari e forme di governo / Fasone, Cristina. - 9(2012), pp. 1-694.

Sistemi di commissioni parlamentari e forme di governo

FASONE, CRISTINA
2012

Abstract

This book originates from an attempt to investigate whether, and, if so, to what extent, the Parliaments of today, are, notwithstanding the complex transformations that have occurred in legal orders, still “Parliaments in committees”, as they were depicted by Leopoldo Elia in the past century. Relying on the assumption of prominent scholars and politicians, such as Josep Barthélemy, Woodrow Wilson and Michel Debré, the research aims to place the arrangement and powers of the various parliamentary committee systems in relation to the actual form of government, by looking at constitutional and legislative provisions, standing orders and rules of procedures, conventions and parliamentary practices. This allows us to test several hypotheses which form the basis of the present work: whether the structure, functions and prerogatives of standing committees determine the level of autonomy of parliamentary decision-making towards the executive; thus, whether the strength of legislatures largely relies on the position and the role of its committee system; and, finally, whether the attempts to undermine the committee systems pose a challenge to the institutional balance between the executive and the legislative branch, and, in the end, also de-legitimise the policy-making process. The analysis is carried out using the comparative law methodology, and, in particular, the so-called “prototypical case logic”, employed by Ran Hirschl, in selecting the case-studies. Five “models” have been identified in order to consider parliamentary organisation, especially the committee system, and the form of government: the U.S. Congress, the British, French, Italian and the European Parliaments. The inclusion of the European Parliament, and, therefore, of the European Union, is justified by its distinctive features: first of all, although it has a different nature, the European Union’s aspiration to mirror the functioning of nation states by combining national constitutional traditions in a new and creative way makes it a suitable model (in its constant tension between fused and separated power systems) for investigation; secondly, particularly after the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament has become a truly powerful institution, with regard to its legislative and oversight powers; thirdly, the European Parliament, mirroring the European Union, is the result of a combination of national parliamentary traditions which aims to make a potentially cumbersome decision-making process rapid and effective. Trying to develop the arguments raised by constitutional law scholars in the Twentieth century further, it is argued that, in the new century, not only should the mere existence of parliamentary standing committees be considered, but also the way in which “committee systems” are shaped and function. The term “committee system” encompasses the coherent and rational organisation of standing and specialised committees, in their mutual relationship, in their relationships with other parliamentary bodies and with the executive. After the definition of what a committee system is, and their historical origins in the five legal orders, the analysis is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the strength of the five committee systems, initially examining their discipline in terms of the number of committees, their size, appointments, internal organisation, party influence, transparency and resources, and then taking the procedural and organisational tools for inter-committee co-ordination into account as well as their autonomy with regard to other parliamentary bodies. The second part considers committee systems in their relationship with the executive branch, and, in particular, the presence of the executive in the committee system; the status of the opposition; how the agenda of committees is defined; the acknowledgement of veto or decision-making powers to committees; and the way in which committees exercise their legislative and the oversight functions. The definition of four types of committee systems (“weak”, “partially influential”, “strong”, and “predominant”), according to their level of specialisation, mutual co-ordination and autonomy vis-à-vis other parliamentary bodies, and then of four different forms of government based upon the features of the committee systems and their relationship with the executive (“insignificant”, “majoritarian”, “consensual”, and “decisive”) aims to explain how each committee-system model fits into a constitutional legal order, and thereby determines certain characteristics. Otherwise, the adoption of a non-corresponding committee system can be dysfunctional for the performance of the form of government and can cause schizophrenic effects for the determination of the general political directions and priorities (“indirizzo politico”). This is what happened, during the first forty years of the Italian Republic (1948-1992), when a form of government based upon a “decisive” committee system operated in the presence of “the confidence relationship” between the Parliament and the executive, further enhancing the fragmentation of the indirizzo politico. Indeed, especially in parliamentary forms of government, the organisational features, functions and powers of standing committees as a system strongly influence the stability of the executive. Given the ability of parliamentary committee systems to shape the form of government, albeit in combination with other elements – such as the provision of the “confidence relationship” – it would seem appropriate to protect and eventually enhance standing committees, as well as their co-ordination, through ad hoc legislative provisions and the amendment of parliamentary rules of procedure. Only a “strong” committee system is capable of striking an effective balance between politics and the technical constraints of legislation, and between transparency and the informality of decision-making processes, of dealing with public policies that have become more and more cross-sectional, of contributing to the definition of a unitary and coherent “indirizzo politico” amongst the different policy sectors, and of making the executive-legislative relationship more balanced, especially when the oversight powers of standing committees have been re-inforced.
978-8813-33305-8
forme di governo, Parlamenti, sistemi di commissioni permanenti, diritto pubblico comparato, Francia, Italia, Regno Unito, Stati Uniti, Unione europea
Sistemi di commissioni parlamentari e forme di governo / Fasone, Cristina. - 9(2012), pp. 1-694.
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