03317 - Institutes in Criminal Law

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Law (cod. 9232)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to analyse the constitutional principles and fundamental aspects of criminal law; the structure and main aspects of Italian Criminal Code; the ‘general part’ of criminal law. At the end of the course, the student knows notions and structure of criminal offences, different expressions of criminal liability and the main aspects of penalties.

Course contents

The course, informally divided in different modules, focuses on the ‘general part’ of criminal law, considering the constitutional principles which rule the area, together with the fundamental elements of crimes. In addition, it aims to highlight the European law’s influences upon the national dimension.

Among the selected topics:

  1. the analysis of constitutional guarantees, the principle of legality and mens rea; the influence exerted by the harm principle, the reasonableness and equality principle upon criminal law, in particular examining the evolution of the Constitutional Court case law;
  2. focus on the impact of fundamental rights upon the criminal law as the European Convention of Human Rights and the Strasbourg Court’ case law implemented individual guarantees and provided mandatory requirements for penalties protecting essential rights;
  3. influences of European law on criminal subjects, above all after the Lisbon Treaty and the first Directives in the criminal field;
  4. the exam of the fundamental components of crimes (actus reus, mens rea, unlawfulness), together with the main features of offences (in particular, attempted crimes and conspiracy);
  5. the evolution from the scopes of traditional penalties towards the new strategies of sanctions, referring to modern forfeitures.

Furthermore, particular seminars will be dedicated to the discussion of current unsolved issues, developing the course’s topics through the more recent law and case law innovations.


For those students who regularly attended classes and seminars, the exam focuses on the topics discussed and analysed during the course. It is suggested to study the following book which further explores those different topics:

INSOLERA, MAZZACUVA, PAVARINI, ZANOTTI (eds), Introduzione al sistema penale , Vol I, Torino, Giappichelli, 4° ed, 2012, referring only to Part III, Part IV (a part from chapter VI) and Part V.

In addition, attending students are required to study specific materials (judgements, papers) provided by the Professor during the course which are part of the exam programme for attending students.


Optional reading:

V. MANES (ed), Principi costituzionali in materia penale, Quaderno predisposto dal Servizio studi della Corte costituzionale, 2014, available at www.cortecostituzionale.it/studiRicerche.do

M. PAVARINI, Corso di Istituzioni di diritto penale. Dispense delle lezioni tenute nell'A.A. 2012-13, Bologna: Bononia University Press, 2013.

Non-attending students need to study the above mentioned books, only focusing on the parts explicitly indicated.

As for non-attending students, it is suggested to study these handbooks which deeply examine the relevant topics.


Teaching methods

During the course, different seminars are organised for the attending students. Topics, date and locations are communicated to students during classes.

Assessment methods

Istituzioni di diritto penale can be attended exclusively by students who had already passed the exam of Constitutional Law and Institutes in Private Law.

The exam focuses on the topics of the course.

Attending the course and seminars is strongly recommended and it is specifically verified during classes.

Attending students:

The students are required to attend the 70% of classes and seminars.

The attending students may start the exam with a question at will. Lastly, the attending students are favoured for thesis in Institutes in Criminal Law.

Teaching tools

Specific learning materials will be provided during the lectures to the students in order to deepen the topics analyzed.

Office hours

See the website of Vittorio Manes


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