The panel focuses on the so-called defensive bureaucracy. Several empirical and theoretical studies have been carried out on the topic. The Italian legislator has recently adopted measures to limit public officers‘liability and to reduce the scope of the criminal provision on the abuse of power, showing an increasing awareness of the issue. The aim of the panel is to analyse how the legal framework, including the case-law and praxis, influences public officers‘risk perception and their defensive attitude. We assume that, along with the provisions on liability, other elements play a significant role in this regard, such as, the contradictory and overflowing legislation, its lack of predictability, the instability of Governments, and the lack of incentives for good and fast decision making. We will attempt to collect evidence on that hypothesis by providing suggestions on how to balance the need for an efficient PA with the need for holding public officials accountable for their actions.