This article offers a brief description of an extensive research on "Justice in Italy in the 2000s", conducted in the last decade by a group of social scientists led by the author. This project, whose results have been collected in nine volumes containing twelve monographic studies, focused on the structure and functions of the system of justice, as well as on how it relates to certain other systems of social action, such as the family, politics, the European context and the Bar. The author portrays the Italian judiciary as relatively closed towards society and highlights the main dysfunctions of both civil and penal proceedings. He adds that congestion seems to be a common feature of many modern justice systems and, echoing some recent American studies, lays down the hypothesis that they only succeed in functioning when semi-institutional alternatives are also available, even if prima facie incompatible with their basic principles, such as plea bargaining in criminal and negotiation in civil proceedings.
Keywords: Justice system - Structure - Functions - Intersystem relationships - Endemic crisis