07230 - Comparative Judicial Systems

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Patrizia Pederzoli

  • Credits 8

  • SSD SPS/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students are expected to know concepts, models and methods of analysis allowing them to understand the role of judicial institutions in contemporary democracies, how courts of justice can affect collective choices and their impact on political systems. By comparing the two main legal traditions - common law and civil law - students will learn to detect similarities and differences between individual national cases, along with their respective variations over time, and will be able to relate their recent evolution with supranational developments.

Course contents

I Introduction: Political system and judicial system - The role of the judge: independence and accountability -The judicialisation of politics

II The judiciary and the political system: The institutional settings: the relevant variables - Cases analysis -The governance of the judiciary

III The relations between justice and politics: The scope of jurisdiction - The role of supreme courts -Access to justice and public prosecution - The powers of the bench: inquisitorial v. accusatorial sytems - The judicial review of legislation: role and functions of constitutional courts - The enforcement of judicial decisions: political factors and the role of public opinion

IV The supranational dimension: The Europena Court of justice - The Ecj and the national courts


C. Guarnieri e P. Pederzoli, Il sistema giudiziario. L'espansione del potere giudiziario nelle democrazie contemporanee, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017.

(*) A. Panebianco, Il potere, lo Stato, la libertà, Bologna, il Mulino 2004, capitolo IV

(*) P. C. Magalhaes, C. Guarnieri, Y. Kaminis, Democratic Consolidation, Judicial Reform, and the Judicialization of Politics in Southern Europe, in R. Gunther, P.N. Diamandouros, D.A. Sotiropoulus (eds), Democracy and the State in the New Southern Europe, Oxford, Oxford U.P., 2006, pp. 138-196

(*) M. Tabarelli, Le politiche giudiziarie inglesi negli anni 2000, in "Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche", n. 3, 2010, pp. 115-139

(*) L. Hilbink, The Origins of Positive Judicial Independence, in "World Politics", Vol. 64, No. 4, 2012, pp. 587-621

(*) G. Di Federico, Il giudice italiano come giudice europeo, in G. Di Federico (a cura di), Ordinamento giudiziario, Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2019, pp. 235-265.


(*) texts will be available on the website of the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures. Depending on the actual number of students, seminars could be held with the active collaboration of participants. 

Assessment methods

Oral exam aimed at assessing the knowledge of the required bibliography, the ability to connect the various parts of the syllabus, and overall the proper use of theories and concepts enabling students to carry out a comparative analysis.

Teaching tools

No slides. When pertinent, institutional web sites will be visited. 

Office hours

See the website of Patrizia Pederzoli