• May 28, 2023

Referendum on Justice, the reasons for yes and no (explained simply)

Sunday will be decisive for the future of the country. The Referendum on Justice, promoted by nine regional center-right councils – and supported by the Radicals – has finally reached its final act.
referendum justice the reasons for yes and no
Between 07:00 and 23:00 tomorrow the Italians will in fact be called to vote. Five referendum questions, ranging from the repeal of the Severino law to the clear separation of the careers of magistrates. But, as always, it will take the quorumthat is, the vote of 50% plus one of the persons entitled to it, so that the outcome of the vote can be considered valid. But what does the Referendum on Justice consist of specifically? And what is at stake? Let’s find out together.

Repeal of the Severino Law

The first referendum question concerns the repeal of the Severino Law which in practice imposes a ban on candidacy, to any public office, to anyone who has committed crimes. Not only that, the law also establishes forfeiture or suspension from office: for parliamentarians it comes after the final sentence, while for local administrators after the first degree of judgment.

  • The reasons for yes: Those in favor of the repeal argue that this law excessively penalizes the career of local administrators.
  • The reasons for the no: Who is against is opposed because the referendum provides for the elimination of the whole law and not just the part relating to administrators. This would allow those convicted of corruption, collusion with organized crime and terrorism to run for Parliament.

Limitation of pre-trial detention

The second referendum question it’s about pre-trial detention. This measure usually applies to a defendant, involved in a process, to prevent them from escaping or polluting the evidence. The question therefore asks to limit this activity.

  • The reasons for yes: Those in favor argue that pre-trial detention is an abused practice, because it aims to restrict the freedom of the individual, even those considered as not dangerous.
  • The reasons for the no: Who is against is opposed because the referendum would cancel all other preventive measures such as prison or house arrest. If canceled, these measures could incentivize domestic violence crimes and beyond.

Separation of the careers of judge and prosecutor

The third point concerns the careers of judges. Here a clear separation of the careers of the judges who will have to choose is requested, after finishing schoolbetween pursuing a career as a prosecutor, who has the criminal initiativeand that of a judge, who instead issues sentences.

  • The reasons for yes: Those in favor of the repeal argue that this is the only way to obtain fairness and independence of the Italian justice, as well as a clear and distinct separation of competences.
  • The reasons for the no: Those who are against are opposed because the reform should be treated from a constitutional point of view, since the principles governing the career of a magistrate are contained in Title IV of the Constitution. Finally, according to the opposites, a real separation of careers would not be obtained, because training, competition and governing bodies would remain the same.

Evaluation of the work of the judges

The fourth question provides for the possibility of also having lawyers and university professors (from the jurisprudential branch) vote as part of the assessment of the work of the judges. Currently this prerogative belongs only to the magistrates of the Court of Cassation and to those who make up the judicial councils.

  • The reasons for yes: Those in favor of the introduction of this rule argue that in this way the judgments can be more objective, and above all more attentive to the reality that surrounds them.
  • The reasons for the no: Those who are against this eventuality fear that conflicts of interest may arise. Lawyers represent the counterpart of judges in trials and giving them the right to vote would mean calling into question the independence and objectivity of judges.

Elections of the members of the Superior Council of the Judiciary

The last question intends to repeal the obligation to collect the 25 signatures necessary for magistrates to be able to apply for members of the CSM.

  • The reasons for yes: Those in favor argue that the collection of signatures is a formality that does not reward merit and that, on the contrary, encourages the interference of political currents in the world of the judiciary.
  • The reasons for the no: Those who oppose it instead believe that the elimination of the signatures would not lead to any benefit, since the currents would still remain in the judiciary. Furthermore, the signatures are seen as necessary because they form an initial consent for the magistrates.

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