The website Sign and Sight (an English-language version of Perlentaucher ) is a year old, and I’ve only just noticed it. There’s lots of excellent stuff there, including a piece by Friedrich Christian Delius on the state of Italy , which tells us, inter alia, that the World Bank ranked the Italian legal system 135th/136 (just ahead of Guatemala!) for effectiveness:
The main reason is that the limitation period for crimes continues to run after a trial has opened, and even after a verdict has been passed, right up until the final day of the final instance. Consequently lawyers try to prolong legal proceedings as long as possible. In 2004 alone 210,000 cases fell under the statute of limitations. The perfect scenario for well-off defendants to get away scot-free. Berlusconi himself has profited this way several times.
A well-governed state might have an interest in changing this state of affairs, for example by introducing the usual procedure of suspending the statute of limitations when a trial begins. The governing majority has indeed gathered the energy to make changes, but in an unexpectedly creative way. The limitation periods have now been considerably shortened, from fifteen to seven and a half years, specifically for economic crimes and corruption. There will be no more sentences for the top ten thousand criminals, Mafiosi, corrupt politicians.
There’s much much more.