Course 2012-2013 a.y.



Department of Legal Studies

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 16 - 17 - 18
BIEMF (6 credits - I sem. - OBBC  |  IUS/01)
Course Director:

Classes: 16 (I sem.) - 17 (I sem.) - 18 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

The course is designed to offer a comprehensive introduction primarily to the fundamentals of Italian civil law within the broader framework of European legal culture. 
After a brief discussion of the main legal principles and the relevant sources of law, the course deals with several issues related to property interests, contract law, tort law and insurance law, which are addressed both primarily - in a domestic and comparative perspective. 
Starting from the rules governing Italian law, the selected topics are addressed in a broader European perspective, taking into account the influence of EU's legislation, as well as the most recent developments in the progressive harmonization and unification of European private law. 
In the last part of the course, emphasis is placed on the rules that govern consumer contracts, focusing on the implementation of the Directive 93/13/EC of the European Parliament on unfair terms in consumer contracts, as well as on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

Course Content Summary

  • General introduction: the notions of legal rule and legal system - a comparative approach to legal systems: common law, civil law and beyond - the sources of law within the Italian legal system - the Constitution - EU and EC Treaties - Community legislation - the Civil Code - statutes and regulations - the role of courts and legal scholars.
  • Natural persons and legal entities - rights and remedies - the enforcement of rights and other protected interests in court - the procedural perspective - limitation of action.
  • Topics in the law of property: ownership and possession - basic elements.
  • Topics in the law of obligations: sources - performance - default - excuses - liability - remedies.
  • Topics in the law of contracts: enforceability of promises - the notion of agreement - nominate and innominate contracts - requisites of the contract - contract formation: offer and acceptance - pre-contractual duty to inform - liability for breaking off negotiations - contract interpretation (construction) - default rules and mandatory rules - invalidity - performance - breach - excuses - termination - remedies - the Principles of European Contract Law (PECL).
  • Topics in the law of torts: a comparative overview of different approaches to the law of torts in Europe - the general provision of article 2043 c.c. - strict liability vs. negligence - wrongfulness - causation - compensation - damages - joint and several liability - vicarious liability - environmental liability - products liability.
  • Topics in the law of insurance contracts: risk, liability and insurance - social and economic functions of the insurance mechanism - the contractual relationship between insured and insurer - the duty of utmost good faith - basic elements.

Topics in the law of sales: consumer sales vs. commercial sales - the Directive 99/44/EC on the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees - domestic and international transactions - the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Oral exam.


  • G. Iudica, P. Zatti, Language and Rules of Italian Pirvate Law. An Introduction, Edited by A.P. Scarso, Padua, 2010, last edition
  • K. Zweigert, H. Kötz, Introduction to Comparative private law, last edition
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 28/06/2012 17:22