02477 - Parliamentary Law

Course Unit Page


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

Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course on “Parliamentary Law and Procedure” aims at offering students a thorough knowledge of the rules and practices governing the activity of the parliamentary Assemblies, embracing their historical development. The course focuses specifically on the Chambers’ organization and functioning, also with a view to gain a better understanding of the current institutional dynamics. The course will provide a critical overview of the role of parliamentary Assemblies, seen as the quintessential venue for political representation on the national level, analysing the rules and practices governing their organisation and functioning, also in their interaction with the other branches of the State and with the political parties’ system. The role of Parliament will then be analysed in the light of the EU integration process, regarding the relationship with the European Parliament, to the process of subsidiarity analysis within the early warning system, and to inter-parliamentary cooperation with the other Member States’ representative Assemblies. The course will therefore cover the principles governing the organization and functioning of the Chambers, from bicameralism to the guarantees of parliamentary autonomy, to the absence of a binding mandate, to the immunities enjoyed by the Members of Parliament. The internal organization of the two Chambers will then be examined, with a view to highlight the role played by the different bodies operating within each Chamber (e.g. the Presidents and the respective Bureau, Political Groups, Conference of Group Chairpersons, Committees and internal control bodies such as the Committee on the Rules of Procedure and the Committee on Elections). In addition, the course will discuss the most relevant parliamentary functions (legislative, political steering, information and control, in particular in relation to the budgetary session), through the analysis of the relevant normative provisions (from the Constitution to the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber and the Senate) and the institutional practices developed across the years, in the light of the Constitutional court case law (adopting therefore a case-based approach which will entail simulations and practice). A thorough understanding of Parliamentary Law is an important tool for law students, allowing them to develop concepts and critical skills that will be beneficial both in relation to the study of other branches of law (especially those related to public law), and to the students’ career development (regarding access to the national and regional parliamentary administrations).

Course contents

1. Parliamentary law and constitutional law. 2. The evolution of parliamentary law: the history of the Parliaments' rules of procedure. 3. The sources of parliamentary law. 3.1. The Constitution and constitutional statutes. 3.2. The general rules of procedures of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate: content, approval procedure and scope of application. 3.3. Statutory law. 3.4. The contentious legal nature of parliamentary groups' statutes and regulations. 3.5. Factual sources: customs, conventions and practices. 4. The legal status of Members of Parliament. 4.1. The prohibition of binding mandate. 4.2. Parliamentary immunities. 4.3. Parliamentary allowances. 4.4. Ineligibility and incompatibility. 5. The Parliament and its organisation. 5.1. Bicameralism. Joint sessions of the Chambers. 5.2. The Presidency and its Bureau. 5.3. The meeting of the representatives of parliamentary groups. 5.4. Standing committees. Special committees and councils. 5.5. Parliamentary groups. 6. Competences and procedures. 6.1.The organisation and planning of plenary and committee meetings. 6.2. The legislative function. Ordinary legislative procedure and special procedures (approval of the budget, enactment of EU legislation). 6.3. The function of political steering. Motions, resolutions, agenda setting. 6.4. The control function. Question time, interpellations, and enquiry committees. Parliamentary information. 6.5. Deliberations and voting. 7. The Italian parliament and the European Union. 7.1. The principle of subsidiarity and the role of national parliaments. 7.2. Inter-parliamentary cooperation. 8. The publicity of Parliamentary proceedings.



The exam is based on the following texts:

1) L. Gianniti, N. Lupo, Corso di diritto parlamentare, Bologna, il Mulino, 2018.

Case Law

Decisions of Corte costituzionale may be found on the official website of the Corte costituzionale (www.cortecostituzionale.it ) and on the website Consulta on-line (www.giurcost.it ).


Legislation may be consulted at the webpage www.normattiva.it . To better prepare for the exam, students may consult a public law code.

For example:

1) M. Bassani, G. Bottino, M. Della Torre, V. Italia, G. Ruggeri, A. Zucchetti (ed.), Leggi fondamentali del diritto pubblico e costituzionale, Milano, Giuffrè, 2020;
2) A. Celotto (ed.), Costituzione annotata della Repubblica italiana, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2018;
3) P. Costanzo (ed.), Testi normativi per lo studio del diritto costituzionale italiano ed europeo, vol. I, Profili organizzativi, Torino, Giappichelli, 2019;
4) A Mattioni (ed.), Codice costituzionale, Piacenza, La Tribuna, 2021.

Teaching methods

Class Timetable

Classes will take place during the first semester, according to the schedule that will be published subsequently. Course units of the DSG programs taken place in the first semester will be organized by one of the models described here.

Assessment methods

Final Exam

The students learning will be verified through a final exam, testing the formative outcomes of the course.

Final exam consists of a general oral exam, led by the professor and his assistants.

The final grade will consider the results of each part of the exam.

The assessment will take into account the general knowledge of the main topics of the course, as well as the ability to analyze case law and its theorical implications, the critical approach and and argumentative clarity.

By way of example, the following criteria will be used to assess the final grade (that will be out of 30/30):
- sufficient or barely sufficient knowledge of the programme, limited reasoning ability, some difficulties in using technical and legal language → 18-21/30; - fairly good knowledge of the programme, adequate critical reasoning ability, sound use of technical and legal language → 22-25/30; - comprehensive knowledge of the programme, notable reasoning ability, good command of technical and legal language → 26-29/30; - extensive knowledge of the programme, very good reasoning ability, and ability to fully master technical-legal language → 30-30L/30.

Final Thesis

The thesis topic is given after a talk with the Professor, who will mark the topic and the student name in the Thesis Book. The time and date for the assignment of the thesis will be established by the Professors at the beginning of the course. The editing modalities will be fixed in accordance with the Professors. The final thesis will be delivered to the Professor one month before the delivery to the administration office.

For editing the thesis students may read the following thesis guide:

T.F. Giupponi, A. Morrone, D. Tega, La tesi di laurea in scienze giuridiche, Libreria Bonomo Editrice, Bologna, 2002.

Note for Socrates/Erasmus students

Incoming students - Socrates/Erasmus students are required to study all the textbooks.

Teaching tools

During the course the Professor will set a seminars schedule to elaborate on the main course topics. Moreover, a learning support will be set at the very beginning of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Tomaso Francesco Giupponi