Italy is a southern European, parliamentary republic bordered by Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and France and includes the islands of Sardinia and Sicily as part of its territory. The Vatican City and San Marino are sovereign states existing within Italy while the Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia is located in Switzerland. With the fourth biggest economy of any European Union member, Italy is also an influential Regional and Middle Power and an established participant of NATO, the World Trade Organization and all three annual "G" summits.
Italy's government is a bicameral parliament consisting of two houses--the Senate of the Republic and the Chamber of Deputies. The "Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri" (President of the Council of Ministers or Prime Minister of Italy) is head of government and is elected to office by the President of the Republic. The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies are independent entities that never meet unless under specific circumstances as described in Italy's constitution.
Italy's Legal System
Administrative, criminal and civil courts comprise Italy's legal system. Criminal cases involve tribunals, judges and juries, unlike administrative and civil courts that only require lawyers to complete litigation. Following judgment, a party in criminal court can appeal to a higher court up to Italy's Supreme Court, if applicable. Civil court justice is allocated by the "giudice di pace" (the justices of the peace), judges, tribunals, appeals and supreme courts.
Protection of individual and legitimate interests is the function of Italy's administrative courts. Cases heard in administrative court primarily deal with public interests, public funds and problems surrounding estates, wills or city/village issues.