Administrative procedure

The Author briefly reviews the major problems of administrative justice in the Third Millennium. These include: digitalization and judicial review of automated decisions by administrative judges; the relationships between national and EU law; legal measures to reduce delays in judgments without affecting their effectiveness and the uncertainty of rules and the excessive discretion left to judges.

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In the current emergency situation, national legislators attempt to manage the invariance in public procurements by means of analytical rules of mechanical application. The consequent regulatory chaos (in a continuous – almost inconsistent – reformulation of the rules) makes it preferable to manage the emergency through undetermined legal concepts (good faith, first of all), which better perform the homeostatic function in the legal system.

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The following paper shows how the introduction of electronic instruments and databases for contracting authorities, like the e-procurement portal “Tutto Gare” used by Brescia Infrastrutture S.r.l., has brought a substantial simplification in public commitment procedures, allowing for the adjudication of public tenders even during the lockdown period caused by the COVID–19 pandemic. However, the path to digitalisation of tendering procedures hasn’t been concluded yet. The hope is that in the aftermath of the pandemic all the information concerning economic operators and tendering procedures could be found on uniform and centralized databases (like the so-called Economic Operator’s Dossier ex art. 81, c. 4, d.lgs. n. 50/2016), which will help both the contracting authorities in the selection of the contractor as well as the economic operators themselves.

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The paper aims to reflect on legislator’s vain and repeated attempts to simplify the regulations and procedures concerning public contracts. The attempts have mainly been through emergency responses which often create uncertainty and difficulties in interpreting and applying rules. The author urges the pursuit of legal stability and a true simplification through the development of discretionary powers, professionalism and responsibility on the part of the contracting authorities.

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Public administration has long been regarded as an obstacle to economic development because of high degrees of complexity, formalism and inefficiency. On the assumption that one can do without an inefficient administration, we are witnessing an expansion of administration by law. To cope with this phenomenon, there have been several reforms aimed at the so called “de-bureaucratisation”. Administrative simplification, however, cannot be conceived as a simple reduction of complexity, which in fact reflects that of the reality administered. The regulation of Special Economic Zones offers an interesting opportunity to reflect on the different types of administrative simplification that can be envisaged. On the one hand, it allows one to isolate some mutations suffered by traditional institutions, such as the conference of services. On the other hand, it allows one to define the tension between the decision-making and the "cognitive" instance, as it is precisely the latter that makes it possible to highlight the need for a recovery of the administrative technical capacity, which could help identify fruitful paths of administrative reform. Simplification alone is not a sufficient solution to solve the crisis in public administration. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan seems to be starting from this consideration, promoting the selection of the best skills and qualifications, through a review of the public competition’s procedures and the promotion of merit in the context of Public Administration.

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The Italian Civil Code has been characterised, ever since the original text dated 1865, and also in the legislative act issued in 1942, and still in force today, by its durability and resistance over time: first of all the paper analyses the reasons underlying this temporal permanence. In the same way, and also over the course of time, strong connections have been highlighted between the rules contained in the Civil Code, and their application with regard to public administrations: these connections are also discussed in the paper, both with regard to specific areas of the organisation of public administrations, and with regard to the general principles, deriving from civil law, that are applied today within administrative activity.

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This contribution outlines the provision of preliminary assistance in administration as seen in recent legislation and case law. First, the key elements of preliminary assistance are described. Then, the analysis addresses the jurisprudential orientations related to its application in the context of digitalized administrative action. The authors propose that, on the one hand, preliminary assistance is an essential means of overcoming technological problems and the digital divide between citizens and government administration, and, on the other, it is a tool for implementing the principles of simplification by helping to reduce the burdens on private individuals who participate in the administrative procedure.

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By judgment No. 2309 of 17 March 2021, the Council of State has further confirmed – overcoming the idea that the term for the conclusion of ARERA’s sanctioning procedure is merely ordinary – the peremptory nature of such term, therefore its overrun affects the challenged sanctioning measure, implying that it is unlawful. Indeed, the provision of a procedural time frame, to be determined by the Authority on a case-by-case basis, shall ensure that the time of sanction ascertainment is close to that of its punishment, thus meaning that the undue time lapse of the administrative action implies the unlawfulness of the sanction measure.

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The article aims to analyze in a linguistic perspective the administrative measures taken by the government to deal with the health emergency. More specifically, the contribution highlights the linguistic difficulties as well as the poor understanding of regulatory texts, or of their provisions, which result from a fragmentary and hasty legislative technique. Hence the difficulty for interpreters, and especially for those called upon to apply the same rules, to have a stable regulatory framework over time, and such as to allow a smooth and timely application and implementation.

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The article traces the evolution of Italian legislation regarding marine state property concessions: from the transitional regime of the extensions ex lege of existing concessions, adopted by the Italian legislator in the Nineties, up to the last extension of such concessions to 2033, and taking into account the European Commission’s position. The nature and multiple functions of the concessions for tourist-recreational uses are analyzed. On the basis of that analysis, the objectives and contents of necessary reform of the field are outlined, with the aim of adapting domestic law to EU competition rules. In addition to the obligation to award concessions by tender, the article highlights the need for reform to include the right to compensation of outgoing operators in such a way as to be truly equitable, satisfactory and in accordance with principles of EU law. It should also be noted that the criteria for determining license fees must be revised by introducing the principle of remuneration in order to ensure a genuinely competitive system, one which is efficient and economically sustainable for the State.

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