Participation and democratic legitimation of indipendent authorities in Italy: myth or reality?

In the nineties, legal scholars have argued that allowing a broad participation in the regulatory procedures undertaken by independent authorities could have compensated their lack of democratic representativeness and legitimation : the legislator followed suit, by widening the application of the participatory rights beyond the scope of what the Italian procedures act prescribes (art. 13 l. 241/ 1990). The analysis of the relevant case-law however shows that participation is still only seen as a tool to acquiring a broader knowledge of the subject matter, while its role in settling conflicts between interests, using different knowledges in a collaborative manner, is largely ignored. Furthermore, Italian administrative courts tend to exclude those who participate in defense of general interests from the judicial process, arguing their lack of standing, therefore strongly reducing the scope and impact of participatory rights.