The role of the Italian Corte dei conti
1. The Italian Corte dei conti is an Institution with the role of
safeguarding public finance and guaranteeing the respect of jurisdictional system.
The Corte pursues these two aims through two functions: the audit function and the
Article 100 of the
the Corte is responsible for the “a priori” audit of the legality of
Government acts, and also for the “a posteriori” audit of the State Budget’s management.
It participates, in the cases and in the manners foreseen by the law, in the assessment of the
financial management of those bodies funded by the State on a routine basis. It directly
reports to the Chambers of Parliament on its audit findings. The Corte is neither an organ of the
Parliament nor of the Government. Article 100 of the Constitution places it in the particular
position of organ of constitutional relevance.
2. In the audit field, in order to better enact the Art.100 of the
Constitution, the Art. 3 par. 1 of the
Law n. 20 of January 14th, 1994
establishes that the Corte dei conti should carry out an “a priori” audit,
exclusively of the most significant Government acts expressly listed in the article: they are,
essentially, general planning acts of the administration, audited “a priori” for the consequences
they produce on the following implementation acts. The provisions of art.3 par. 4 of Law n. 20
introduce the new methodology of auditing, entrusting the Institution with the task of carrying out
the “a posteriori” audits on the management of the budget and the capital assets of State
departments and of the European Community funds.
This audit takes into account effectiveness (results), efficiency (time and methods) and
economy (costs). For this purpose the legislator entrusted the Corte dei conti with the task of
setting, on a yearly basis, audit programmes and criteria. Paragraph 4 of the above mentioned
article 3 entrusts the Corte also with the task of verifying the functioning of internal audit in
each State Department.
The Corte reports, at least once a year, to Parliament and to Regional Councils on the results
of audit carried out. There is no obligation to discuss the reports at Parliament or Regional
3. In the jurisdictional field the Corte’ duties are:
a) judgement of responsibilitiy, which concern economic responsibility for damages caused
to the State or other public bodies by their own civil servants or public administrators.
b) judgements of accounts, which regard a special responsibility for accounts, connected
with the management of public money or property;
c) judgements on pension matters, concerning civil, military and war
The new law regarding the jurisdictional function of the Corte dei conti (Law n. 19/1994)
provides for setting up Jurisdictional Chambers of the Corte in each region with the seat in the
capital of the region.
Appeals are allowed against the sentences of the Regional Jurisdictional Chambers before the
Central Jurisdictional Chambers.
Regional Prosecutor General offices have been set up as a result of the decentralization of
the Jurisdictional Chambers.