The pandemic acted as an accelerator of pre-existing trends that see an overall dominance of Governments over legislative bodies, which are increasingly struggling to oversee executive power. This was the case both in the UK and in Italy, where the governments adopted specific institutional arrangements to manage the health crisis which did not necessarily include a prior involvement of the legislative body. An overview of the legal framework and of the instruments that the two legal orders used to face the pandemic highlights a common trend, and that is the preference for executive law-making to manage emergencies. The way statutory instruments and statutory decrees are used respectively in the UK and in Italy are issues that pre-exist the pandemic, but an analysis of their use throughout the emergency particularly sheds light on specific structural weaknesses which are evident in both exceptional and normal times, and that relate to the two Parliaments' difficulties in keeping up with the executives' law-making activity. Considering that Parliament's inability to oversee Government gives rise to a series of problems which relate more generally to the institutional arrangement of a parliamentary democracy, it is necessary to reflect about Parliament's traditional functions and ask whether these are still adequate as the legal and political systems change. The oversight and steering functions still are one of the most fundamental and determining elements of a parliamentary form of government, but as the two experiences have showed, procedures need to be re-adapted as the Government has become the main legislative actor. For these reasons it is worth exploring post-legislative scrutiny as an instrument to hold the executive into account and to counterbalance its increasing monopoly of decision-making.
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