Unicameralism, Bicameralism, Multicameralism: Evolution and Trends in Europe

Abstract

An analysis of the structure of parliaments in European countries shows that a wide range of options developed across the centuries. However, many of these patterns (among which tetracameralism, tricameralism, and qualified unicameralism) did not survive, despite their sometimes-remarkable historical interest. Currently, parliaments in Europe are either unicameral or bicameral: while unicameralism is the most common option, bicameralism is generally adopted in more populous countries and/or States with strong territorial autonomies. As a matter of fact, among varieties of bicameralism, the most common is characterized by a ‘territorial’ second chamber. Nevertheless, other types of bicameralism deserve attention too, not only to provide a comprehensive outline of the comparative scene, but also to find features that can define emerging trends. For this purpose, a classification of bicameralism will be outlined, mainly examining the patterns displayed by second chambers and the relationships between the two chambers. Combining this classification with the outcomes of the choice between unicameralism and bicameralism, some trends can be detected, although national experiences are so diverse that reliable norms are difficult to identify.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Avakian Suren, 2006, ‘The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 911-960.

  • Biaggini Giovanni and Sarott Chasper, 2006, ‘The Swiss Council of States (Ständerat / Conseil des États)’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 721-780.

  • Boogaard Geerten, 2018, ‘Mixed Democracy in The Netherlands’, in Ferrari Giuseppe Franco, Passchier Reier and Voermans Wim (eds), The Dutch Constitution Beyond 200 Years. Tradition and Innovation in aMultilevel Legal Order, Eleven, The Hague, 229-242.

  • Delpérée Francis, 2006, ‘The Belgian Senate’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 697-719.

  • Di Manno Thierry, 2006, ‘The Sénat of the French Republic’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 153-256.

  • Fitzgerald Gerald E., 1971, ‘Message to the Congress of Bolivia’, in Fitzgerald Gerald E. (ed), The Political Thought of Bolivar, Springer, Dordrecht, 95-105.

  • Gamper Anna, 2006, ‘The Austrian Bundesrat’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 781-828.

  • Garvin Tom, 1969, The Irish Senate, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin.

  • Granat Mirosław, 2006, ‘The Senate in Poland’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 961-1001.

  • Hathaway Oona A., 2001, ‘Path Dependence in the Law: The Course and Pattern of Legal Change in a Common Law System’, Iowa Law Review, LXXXVI(1): 101-165.

  • Hawke David, 1961, In the Midst of Revolution, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

  • Kotzur Markus, 2006, ‘Federalism and Bicameralism - The German «Bundesrat» (Federal Council) as an Atypical Model’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers.

  • Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 257-290.

  • Krynen Jacques, 1987, ‘La représentation politique dans l’ancienne France: l’expérience des États généraux’, Droits, 6: 30-44.

  • Kysela Jan, 2006, ‘Bicameralism in the Czech Republic: Reasons, Functions, Perspectives’, in Luther

  • Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studieson Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 1003-1034.

  • Lijphart Arend, 1999, Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, YaleUniversity Press, New Haven (CT).

  • Llanos Mariana and Nolte Detlef, 2003, ‘Bicameralism in the Americas: Around the Extremes of Symmetry and Incongruence’, The Journal of Legislative Studies, IX(3): 54-86.

  • Marongiu Antonio, 1968, Medieval Parliaments: A Comparative Study, Eyre and Spottiswoode, London.

  • Money Jeannette and Tsbelis George, 1992, ‘Cicero’s Puzzle: Upper House Power in Comparative Perspective’, International Political Science Review, XIII(1): 25-43. Norton Philip, 2007, ‘Adding Value? The Role of Second Chambers’, Asia Pacific Law Review, XV(1): 3-18.

  • Palermo Francesco and Kössler Karl, 2017, Comparative Federalism. Constitutional Arrangements and Case Law, Bloomsbury, London.

  • Passaglia Paolo, 2006, ‘Suggestions to Find a «Parliament» Within the Institutional Organization of the EU’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 1085-1213.

  • Passaglia Paolo, 2015, ‘From Qualified Unicameralism to Genuine Unicameralism: the Norwegian Experience’, in Ferrari Giuseppe Franco (ed), Two Centuries of Norwegian Constitution: Between Tradition and Innovation, Eleven, The Hague, 85-95.

  • Perceval R.W., 1953, ‘The Origin and Development of the House of Lords’, Parliamentary Affairs, VII(1): 33-48.

  • Pinard Danielle, 2006, ‘The Canadian Senate: An Upper House Criticized Yet Condemned to Survive Unchanged?’, in Luther Jörg, Passaglia Paolo and Tarchi Rolando (eds), A World of Second Chambers. Handbook for Constitutional Studies on Bicameralism, Giuffrè, Milan, 459-520.

  • Romaniello Maria, 2016, ‘Bicameralism: a concept in search of a theory’, Amministrazione in cammino, 20 September: 1-16, http://www.amministrazioneincammino.luiss.it/app/uploads/2016/09/Romaniello.pdf.

  • Romeo G., 2017, ‘The Italian Constitutional Reform of 2016: An ‘Exercise’of Change at the Crossroad between Constitutional Maintenance and Innovation’, in Passaglia Paolo (ed), The 2016 Italian Constitutional Referendum: Origins, Stakes, Outcome, The Italian Law Journal, Special Issue: 31-48.

  • Rommetvedt Hilmar, 1992, ‘The Norwegian Storting: The Central Assembly of the Periphery’, Scandinavian Political Studies, XV(2): 79-97.

  • Russell Meg, 2000, Reforming the House of Lords. Lessons from Overseas, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Russell Meg, 2013, The Contemporary House of Lords. Westminster Bicameralism Revived, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Scharpf Fritz W., 2007, German Federalism: A reform that misses its mark, MaxPlanckResearch 2/2007, https://www.mpg.de/207429/federalism.

  • Smith Eivind, 2008, ‘Norway - The end of bicameralism’, Public law: 393-395.

  • Watts Ronald L., 1989, Executive Federalism: A Comparative Analysis, Institute of Intergovernmental Relations - Queen's University, Kingston (Ont.).

  • Watts Ronald L., 2010, Federal Second Chambers Compared, Presentation at Conference on ‘Federalizing Process in Italy. Comparative Perspectives’ (Rome, February 17‐ 19, 2010): 1-21 (http://pti.regione.sicilia.it/portal/page/portal/PIR_PORTALE/PIR_LaStrutturaRegionale/PIR_AssessoratoEconomia/PIR_Federalismofiscale/PIR_SeminarioIlprocessofederaleinItalia/watts%20intervento.pdf).

  • Welsh David, 1984, ‘Constitutional Changes in South Africa’, African Affairs, 331: 147-162.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search