M. Andriani, éditeur en chef de la Gazette officielle de la République italienne.
Le projet italien « Normativa » constitue un exemple intéressant de ce que peut apporter une stratégie de gestion des documents législatifs permettant non seulement de renforcer l’information des citoyens mais également à permettre à des éditeurs et d’autre tiers d’accéder aux documents normatifs sous la forme nécessaire à leur réutilisation.
Mr. Andriani, Editor-in-Chief of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Italy.
The Italian Project “Normativa” is an interesting example of what can be gained from a management strategy for legislative documents that allows publishers and other third parties to access the standards-setting texts in the form needed to reuse them for other purposes.
THE ITALIAN OFFICIAL JOURNAL’S PRACTICE IN COLLECTING AND PUBLISHING DOMESTIC, EUROPEAN AND LOCAL LEGISLATION
I warmly congratulate the Authorities, the representatives of the French Republic Presidency, the Delegations of the EU and non- EU States representing their Official Journals, as well as the Director of the Official Journal of the French Republic who, on the occasion of the French EU Presidency, has invited the sector experts to study and debate common problems together with the officials of the OPOCE, who have already organized several Forums of the Official Journals in the past years.
The Ministry of Justice is in charge of the direction and editing of the Official Journal : the legislation to be published is received, examined, and then forwarded for printing, to the establishment run by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato , which has the exclusive right, reserved by law, to print, distribute (also electronically) and sell the Official Journal in Italy.
At present, a piece of legislation is effective and mandatory, only when it is published in writing and on paper.
As far as domestic legislation is concerned, legislation strictu sensu, which includes proper laws, regulations and decrees, is published daily in the Official Journal, General Series Part I and such a publication, gives it full force “ erga omnes ” until its authenticity is not challenged.
It is required, by law, that explanatory notes accompany the above mentioned types of legislation, moreover, in the case of a Parliamentary law converting a Decree-Law of the Government, it is also required that both, the law and the decree-law, be presented together, in such a way that the final reader can get a full picture, of the references made to other legislation and of possible changes introduced by the law converting the decree (the latter are printed in bold or in italics), and a clear understanding of the date when each part of the legislation actually takes effect.
At domestic level, the Italian’s stationery office and mint, periodically issues a special edition which contains an official collection of above-mentioned legislation ( RUAN ), numbered progressively on a yearly basis, and such a numbering does not change even if corrections are later introduced.
State laws and other legislation are re-published in the RUAN collection only for preservation purposes.
The RUAN collection has an equivalent on-line, the ElectronicOfficial Journal, or GURITEL , also published by the Italian stationery office and mint.
The legislation contents, are presented in TXT format, because this allows a better hypertext search and the user can obtain the text in force in that moment, in real time, which is a valuable help towards finding a legal solution to specific cases of substantive, procedural and administrative law.
This service was set up by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato in 1987, but it misses a legal basis for the authentication of the documents on line, whose so-called “consolidation”, cannot be certified, although the documents entirely come from the Official Journal and the publishing activity.
Moreover, the relevant legislation, provides that concerned Public Administration departments, can draw up updated texts of laws and regulatory decrees, integrating the changes introduced by them and request the Official Journal to publish them, to help disseminating certain and operational information about the legislation actually in force.
These updated texts, drawn up by the competent Ministries and then published, do not have formal validity, but only the practical purpose of being of help to the public and law specialists ; the legislation concerned, takes its legal validity and effect, from its original publication in the Official Journal.
As far as Community legislation is concerned, the Italian Official Journal publishes community regulations and Commission directives in the second special - European Communities series, but this is simply a re-publication, aimed at spreading the knowledge of this legislation among the Italian public.
I will recall that directives and recommendations, for their implementation in Italy, require the adoption of secondary legislation instruments, generally administrative provisions adopted on a case-to-case basis, considering the specific subject-matter at issue.
As to local legislation, regional laws become immediately effective upon their publication in the relevant regional official bulletins, and they are reprinted in the Official Journal, third special Regions series, for public information.
A few more words on GURITEL, the Italian Electronic Official Journal.
It provides the public with a huge amount of constantly updated public information : Italian, general and local legislation, community legislation, commercial and company legislation, tax legislation, pharmaceutical legislation which, all together, create a database which is capital for the amount of legal information published and which often includes, information not published in the paper Official Journal, like that one concerning professional registers.
All laws, decree-laws, legislative decrees, presidential decrees and other instruments having the effect of law, since 1st January 1976, are available in the GURITEL database, which has also two particularly valuable archives : one containing updated law texts and the other one containing legislation collections.
All the texts referred to above, are provided together with any textual modifications, including sentences of constitutional legitimacy, “notices of rectification” and “errata-corrige”, subsequently published in the Official Journal.
As regards decree-laws, it is also possible to know whether they have been converted into a law, or renewed, or if any of their effects has been preserved by a subsequent law and, as regards the codes in force, it is possible to know their latest updated text.
The present wide use of Guritel, providing the Official Journal in PDF, raises the issue – which is widely felt also at a Community level – of a full equivalence of the legal effects of the electronic copy of the Official Journal, with its paper version and also of the changes in the mode of research for legislative sources, from a character based one, to a hypertext and graphic based one.
In this perspective, the Italian project called “Norme in Rete”, i.e. legislation on the web, taking up a proposal of the Ministry of Justice, has the aim of realising a free access portal to the legal and legislative documents, published also on the institutional web sites of the Parliament and of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Once effective, all this, will entail that the present legal framework of reference will be radically modified, since today’s informatics-based reality, goes definitely faster than the time needed for adapting the relevant legislation, despite having enacted - with Legislative Decree no 72 of 7 March 2005 , the Code of the Digital Administration , which nonetheless still remains the fundamental legal reference for enabling us to evolve with our times.
Having said this, it is useful to describe, although very in general, the project of the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato called “GUFLOW”. This is a project involving the publication and archiving process of documents based on a work flow which is aimed at guaranteeing all the phases of the publication process, in terms of legal information and of certified authenticity, ever since the acquisition of a piece of information, up to its publication.
This project, interfaces with the IOL system (an application enabling to request that a notice be published in the Official Journal), with the use of the digital signature and of the digital seal, and in the end, with the GURITEL system (a Web environment for accessing the Official Journal on-line).
The GUFLOW project is characterised by the following features :
the total traceability in digital form of all the activities performed by the actors of the production process ;
the digital signature for closing the publication (PDF) in order to guarantee and certify that the digital version is an official publication, bearing in mind the digital publication of the Official Journal, will have legal force in Italy as of 1st January 2009, free of charge at last ;
the complete dematerialisation of the production flow of the Official Journal and of its distribution. The GUFLOW interface, has indeed enabled to involve all the editorial staff in the preparation of the texts for press and in the management of the digital archive of the national library for a web-based consultation ;
the elimination of corrigenda originated by production errors ;
the optimization of resources and the reduction of production time, through the independent processing of the composition, correction and approval activities, leading to a dynamic final layout of the page, so that any text can be put together and processed autonomously and at a different time.
When another system – called “ X leges ” – which is being perfected, will be operational, the first step – the easiest one to be implemented - will be receiving normative acts, legislation, through Pec (Certified Electronic Mail) from the Government, the Public Administration and finally from the Parliament itself.
The Chamber of Deputies together with the Senate of the Republic and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, is sponsoring a much awaited project called “ Normattiva ”, which is the most significant effort to set up a free public service, enabling the public to access on line a highly complex corpus of legislation, built-up in time and with a strong tendency to stratification.
Pinpointing, the notion of “legislation in force” is the main challenge, the co-existence of different legislative and regulatory sources, for instruments adopted at different times, makes it difficult to establish when they came into force and if they are still effective.
It is undeniable that recently attention to a better wording and quality of the legislation has begun to increase and difficulties connected are being tackled in the following ways :
applying XML mark-ups to the automatic processing of the means used to explicitly amend previous legislation, and creating a system to make the connections between legislative documents and relevant documents fully traceable ;
creating a system of notes, pointing out at implicit abrogation, modifications or updates ;
producing an official edition containing texts of consolidated legislation
providing “metadata” so that it will be possible to place parts of legislation or single provisions in sections arranged by subject-matter.
The “Normattiva” project, which was devised together with the above-mentioned project “Norme in rete” (NIR), has already given good results in connection with data standardisation, the production of an edition of consolidated texts of legislation in XML format and the inclusion of all regulatory measures adopted since May 2001 ; this project will have to integrate into a new global system, following the launch of the “X leges” system, for the digitalization of the entire law-making process.
All the above is in line with the 2002 Montreal declaration on “Free Access to Law”, as subsequently amended at Sidney and Paris meetings, and in 2007 at a further meeting in Montreal, which aims at making the right of citizenship, the principles of justice and the rule of law, fully effective, free of charge, and on a non-profit basis..
In this context, meetings like this one and the more and more frequent international events , promote the cooperation necessary to achieve these shared goals of effective democracy.