65065 - Public law

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Economics and Finance (cod. 8835)

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide students with the fundamentals of public law. Topics include: sources and interpretation of the law, national and supranational institutions, the government and associated regulatory authorities in real and financial markets (competition authorities, stock market authorities, central banks, etc.), the role of the European Union in real and financial markets and the relations between the European Union and national government, and the legal relations between businesses and the public administration.

Course contents

Premises. The contemporary Public Law.

I. Introductive Issues.

Legal Systems. Law and Norms. Binding and non-binding rules. Principle of Legality and The Rule of Law (1). Sanctions and Penalties.

Common Law and Civil Law. Stare decisis and the Courts' role.

Public Law and Private Law.

The State's Constitutive Elements. Sovereignty. Fundamental powers. Principles and Safeguards.

Forms of State, and of Government. Unitary, Federal and Regional States.

National and Supranational Legal Systems. The State into the international framework. The International Law and EU Law.

II. Sources of Law.

- Sources of Law. Formal and Informal Sources. Changing in the legal orders: soft law and informal measures.

Sources of law. Definitions. Sources of production and sources on the production. Legal knowledge and the Legal Notice. Intra ordinem and extra ordinem Sources.

Sorting the Sources of Law: chronological and hierarchical principle. Competence and Specialization. Pre-emption.

The Law-Making Process. The Rule of law and the Due Process of Law (2).

- Constitution and Constitutional Sources. Laws amending the Constitution; other constitutional acts. Constitutional Conventions and Constitutional Praxis.

- International Sources of Law. Treaties, Agreements, Conventions, and International Customaries. The European Convention of Human Rights.

- EU Sources of Law. The Treaty on European Union. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEU-TFEU). The Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union.

Derived EU Sources: Regulations; Directives; Decisions. Other (formally not binding) Measures. Opinions and Advisories, Recommendations, Guidelines.

- The National Sources of Law. Law of the Parliament. Statutes. Statutory limits. The Law-Making Process.

Acts having the force of Law (Legislative Decrees. Law Decrees). Abrogative referendum. Standing Orders.

Regional Laws.

Secondary sources. The Executive's Regulations. Regional and Local Authorities’ Regulations.

Other Regulatory measures issued by Administrative Authorities and Agencies.

Fact sources. Customaries and Praxis.

III. Organization of Constitutional Powers.

- The Parliament. Representative principle and Legislative Power.

Bicameral and mono-cameral systems. Chambers of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.

Chambers' Powers and Functions. Prerogatives.

The President of the Senate; the President of the Chamber. Parliamentary Groups. Legislative Committees.

- The Government. Mandate and Executive Power.

Appointing Process. Political confidence. Constitutional Standards and Praxis. The Government's Crisis. Lack of Confidence.

Bodies. President of the Council of Ministers. Council of Ministers. Ministers. Not-essential bodies. Boards and committees.

Executive power and the Administrative State. Constitutional principles of the Administrative State. The Separation between Policy-Makers and Public Offices. The contemporary Administrative State.

- The President of the Republic.

Constitutional Status. Checks and balances. The Election Process. Requirements and Terms.

Presidential Functions related to the fundamental State’s Powers. Presidential Acts. Presidential Crimes.

- The Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Review. The Constitutional Court as Constitutional body.

The Italian Constitutional Court. Functions and Jurisdiction. Judgment about the constitutionality of primary sources of law. Direct Access to Trial; the Incidental Procedure.

C.Court’s Rulings: Full Judgments and Ordinances.

Conflicts about the allocation of powers. Judgment about the President’s impeachment. The admissibility of the Abrogative Referendum.

- Jurisdictional Power and the Judiciary.

Judicial function. Independence of the Judiciary. The Judicial branches. The Supreme Court. Civil and Criminal Courts. Administrative Courts. Other Jurisdictions (hints).

Right to a Fair Trial and other Constitutional principles. The Rule of Law and the Due Process of Law (3). Habeas corpus. Writ.

Courts' Rulings layout and structure.

IV. The European Union.

EU Bodies. Powers and Functions. The European Parliament. The European Council. The European Commission.

Court of Justice of the European Union.

European Central Bank (ECB). The Eurosystem.

Other EU Agencies. 2nd level Agencies.

V. Administrative Power.

The National Public Administration. Agencies. Civil offices and Civil Servants.

Administrative Function and Power.

Administrative Provisions and Measures. Orders.

The Administrative Proceeding. Adversarial Principles.

Discretionary and Tied Measures. Afflictive Measures.

Lack of Legitimacy. Lack of Merit.

Administrative Remedies. The Judicial Review (hints).

VI. Special Issues.

(Independent) Administrative Authorities. Regulatory and Adjudicating (quasi-judicial) Agencies.

Antitrust Agencies. The Competition Law. Collusive Agreements. Abuse of dominant position. Administrative Procedures. Inquiry and Adversarial. Measures, Orders, and Sanctions. Remedies.

Case Law.


- Giuseppe Franco Ferrari, Introduction to Italian public law, Giuffrè, 2018. 

- Elisabeth Zoller, Introduction to public law: a comparative study, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008.

- Docs and Materials (Lecture slides, Courts' Rulings and other Case Law, etc.) will be available on Virtuale Platform (Dashboard).

Teaching methods

Theoretical and case law-based Lectures.

The lessons of the first semester will be organized by one of the models described as follows: http://dsg.unibo.it/en/teaching/projects-and-teaching-methodologies/teaching-modes-at-dsg-on-i-semester-a-y-2020-2021

Assessment methods

Students’ knowledge and abilities will be assessed through a discussion focused on subjects as mentioned above (see, “Program and contents” section) to evaluate the actual achievement of the learning outcomes.

Three full exams will be scheduled along each Academic Year.

Moreover, two sub-term exams will be scheduled only for attending students:

  • 1st midterm at the end of the 1st sub-cycle, according to the pandemic situation, either as both multiple choice test and case law report (written), or as oral exam;
  • 2nd midterm at the end of the 2nd sub-cycle, as oral exam.

Attending students are expected to attend at least the 75% of the lectures (both sub-cycles).

To attend the exam, each student must be enrolled before the deadline (see, AlmaEsami webpage).

Any problem must be promptly communicated to the teacher/tutor.


By way of example, the following criteria will be used to assess the final mark (that will be out of 30/30):

- sufficient or barely sufficient knowledge on the programme, limited reasoning ability, some difficulties in using technical and legal language → 18-21/30;

- fairly good knowledge of the programme, adequate critical reasoning ability, sound use of technical and legal language → 22-25/30;

- comprehensive knowledge of the programme, notable reasoning ability, good command of technical and legal language → 26-29/30;

- extensive knowledge of the programme, very good reasoning ability, and ability to fully master technical-legal language → 30-30L/30.


Teaching tools

Slide, docs, case law (rulings, etc.), and other case studies (decisions, etc.) will be accessible on "Virtuale" Platform (Dashboard).

Students requiring compensatory measures and/or due to disabilities or Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) should communicate it as soon as possible to the teacher to be addressed to the appropriate office to evaluate and agree on the most suitable measures and tools.

Office hours

See the website of Daniele Senzani


Quality education Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.