Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to offer a current picture of the financial system. It combines the legal, structural and constitutional analysis of the forms of taxation, with the financing choices of the functions and services made in the budgets of the State, Regions and local authorities. These guarantee budgetary equilibrium, in compliance with the constitutional law and the European constraints and the sustainability of those social rights that the Constitution protects at the various levels of territorial government of public finance. Public budgets thus integrate national and European choices about fiscal plicy with administrative efficiency in the management of financial resources, according to the accounting procedures. Therefore, financial law immediately enhances the training acquired studying constitutional Law and subsequently helps to better understand tax law, administrative law, European law, thus contributing to completing the education in Law, with particular reference about current issues.

Course contents

The aim of the course is to make the student acquire the knowledge of the fundamental notions regarding: structure and functioning of the tax system for financing public expenditure; principles, structure and functions of the state budget; essential legal institutions that characterize the accounting and public finance system. In line with this objective, the program will analyze Italian public finance in its legal dimension, dedicating a significant part of the discussion to interactions with supranational (European Union) and infra-national (regional and local public finance) levels of government.

The teaching program will tend to be divided into 6 parts.

The object of examination coincides with the topics covered in class and with the topics covered in the manual suggested (students who have completed attendance in a previous academic year and intend to take the exam in the academic year 2021/2022 are invited to update their study based on the textbook indicated for the academic year 2021/2022). Additional documents (legislation, case law) will be published on "virtual.unibo.it" website. Reading these documents is necessary to prepare the exam, as well as any additions and updates to the textbook.

part I. Principles and functions of public finance law
1. Introduction to the course. Framing of the legal issues of public finance.
2. Interdisciplinary dimension of public finance: economics, law, politics.
3. Evolution, structure and configuration of the public finance system. Its fundamental partitions.
4. The legal sources of the public finance system and their peculiarities. Historical-systematic development.
5. Gross domestic product and other indicators for the business cycle. Laws of economics and laws for economics. Neutral and functional public finance.
6. The fundamental functions of state public finance systems in the market economy: allocative, redistributive and economic stabilization and development functions. Their coordination.
7. The characteristics of the public budget and the financial activity of the State and other local authorities. Financial and economic-patrimonial accounting. Budget estimates and reports.
8. The functions of the public budget: administrative-managerial, information, political-economic planning function.
9. Budget balances and general public finance balances: typology and meaning.
10. The general principles of budget and public accounting.
11. Harmonization of budgets, the integrated chart of accounts and the European system of public accounts
12. The democratic principle and the budget: the budget law in the dialectic between Government and Parliament.

part II. Public revenue and the different ways of financing the budget
1. Classification and taxonomy of revenue in the state budget.
2. Tax revenue and fiscal function. The notion of tax in legislation and in the development of jurisprudence and doctrine.
3. Legal types of taxes (tax, tax, special contribution, monopoly, environmental taxes). The economic and political criteria for the distribution of public spending among the citizens (sacrifice and benefit).
4. Tax financing in the Constitution: tax sovereignty and legal reserve (art. 23 and 75 of the Constitution)
5. Tax financing in the Constitution: the ability to pay as the basis and legal limit of the taxing power (art. 53.1 of the Constitution).
6. Tax financing in the Constitution: fiscal progressiveness and redistributive effects of the tax financing (art. 53.2 of the Constitution).
7. The tax system. The principles of the tax system. Rise and crisis of the law in tax issues.
8. Multilevel taxation: decentralization, fiscal federalism and vertical subsidiarity. The "fiscal federalism".
9. The expenses of Regions and Municipalities, the "LEP" about social, civil and political rights and their sustainability. Accountability, tax coordination and tax equalization.
10. Structure and types of the main taxes in force in Italian law. Direct and indirect personal and real taxes, general and special taxes on income, assets, trade and consumption.
11. The main effects of taxes: translation, removal, tax evasion and tax avoidance.
12. "Extra-fiscality": the taxation of negative externalities; tax benefits.
13. Compulsory and compensatory of no-tax revenues. The choice between public or private financing of expenses. Public tariffs.
14. Revenue from the alienation of assets. The financial repercussions of the management of the state property and of the state assets.
15. The “parafiscality”: the financing of the social security system between the insurance model and the fiscal model.
16. Public loans and debts (see part III).

part III. Public debt and budgetary balancing
1. General characteristics, structure and types of public debt.
2. Relations between public debt and budgetary deficit.
3. Legal discipline of public bonds.
4. The effects of public debt.
5. The need for European governance on national debt policies. The "Europeanisation" of the debt.
6. Trends in the Italian public debt starting from the 80s of the twentieth century
7. The principles of budget balance and public debt sustainability
8. Budgetary balance of the consolidated account of all public administrations and the Medium-term Objective.
9. The European fiscal rules of budgetary equilibrium: rule of the budget balance, the debt rule and the expenditure rule.
10. Deviations from the budgetary equilibrium or from the approach path
11. Rules of balance and constraints on the debt in the State budget
12. Rules of balance and constraints on the debt in the budget of Regions and local authorities
13. Balance rules and debt constraints on the debt in the budget of non-territorial administrations
14. Budgetary balance as a parameter of the constitutionality of law

part IV. Public spending and financial coverage principle
1. Public expenditure: general characteristics. Trend and quantitative and qualitative composition of public spending in Italy
2. The causes of the increase in public spending
3. The government of public spending: classification, planning, monitoring, efficiency and revision
4. The classification of expenses: administrative, economic, functional
5. Flexibility and rigidity of spending in the planning phase: discretional power of the administration and rescheduling of expenses.
6. Tax expenses
7. The "spending laws" and the relationship with the budget law.
8. The constitutional obligation of financial coverage of the spending laws.
9. The main means of coverage.
10. Criteria for quantification in the expenditure laws and in the budget law.
11. Monitoring and control of public spending of a political, administrative and accounting nature; object and procedures for correcting the variances in expenditure. Spending review. The safeguard clause.
12. The "cost of rights" and public spending as a guarantee of effectiveness of rights
13. Public spending and financial balance as a "value" in the case-law of the Constitutional Court

part V. The State budget: planning, decision and implementation
1. Historical evolution of the discipline of art. 81 of the Constitution and the so-called "financial maneuver" (from Law 468/1978 to Law 196/2009 to Law 243/2012). From the Finance Law /Stability law to the unified Budget law.
2. Budget cycle and Budget process in Italy
3. The legal instruments of planning and political direction of the Italian budget cycle. From the European semester to the European budget calendar: Economics and Finance Document and Update of the EFD; Budget Planning Document.
4. The law approving the State forecast budget. Structure and contents.
5. Forming the Budget document: procedures
6. Approving the Budget Law: the budgetary parliamentary session
7. The law authorizing the provisional financial year
8. Laws related to the public financial decision
9. The budget adjustment law, corrective measures and administrative changes to the budget
10. The State General Account
11. The Judgment of "parificazione" by the account Court
12. Budget management. Reserve funds
13. The Treasury service
14. Administrative-accounting procedures for the management of revenues: assessment, collection and payment
15. Administrative-accounting procedures for the management of expenses: commitment, settlement, order and payment.
16. Active and passive residues.
17. The time schedule for the management of expenses and the strengthening of the cash balance sheet.
18. Administrative and accounting responsibility related to the handling of public money.
19. Internal and external controls on public finance acts and activities.

part VI. The supranational government of public finances
1. The European coordination of national economic policies and fiscal policies.
2. European economic integration and national tax systems.
3. The Stability and Growth Pact.
4. The “alert mechanism” and the procedure against excessive macroeconomic imbalances.
5. The European tools for managing economic and financial crises: the European Stability and Financial Assistance Mechanism, enhanced surveillance procedures, the Recovery Fund and the use of common European debt.
6. European monetary policy and national public finance.
7. The currency (economic and legal issues)
8. The instruments of monetary policy.
9. The interrelationships between fiscal policy and monetary policy.
10. The recent unconventional monetary policy measures of the European Central Bank and the case-law of the European Court of Justice.


To pass the examination, the study of the following textbook is suggested:

A. Mondini, Public finance law course (Corso di diritto della finanza pubblica), Cedam-Wolters Kluwer, Milano, 2021 (at the beginning of the lessons and on the website "virtuale.unibo.it" the teacher will indicate the parts of the textbook to be studied and those to be read only).

During the course of the lessons, on the website "https://virtuale.unibo.it" supplementary teaching materials will be made available for consultation (laws, public finance and public accounting documents, sentences, schemes, notes and in-depth analysis of specific topics. Guided reading paths of any legislative innovations in the field of public finance, not dealt with in the textbook, may be available on the same website.

In any case, consultation of the main laws on public finance (version in force) is required: Italian Constitution, Treaty of the European Union, EU Reg. 1466 and 1467 of 1997, Law 196/2009, Law 243/2012.

The program for ERASMUS students is the same as for Italian students.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons.

Attendance at lectures is recommended for a better understanding of the technical aspects of the subject.

The lessons will take place in the presence mode. Should it be necessary in relation to the epidemiological conditions, the lessons will take place in mixed mode with classroom in presence and remotely (on the MS Teams platform of Unibo), according to the calendar and the shifts that will subsequently be communicated before the start of the lessons, and in any case subject to different communications and/or provisions of the authority (only online mode). The lessons held in the classroom can however also be made available in online streaming.

The study of the manual and other teaching materials indicated in the appropriate section "Texts / Bibliography" corresponds to the examination program.


Assessment methods

Registration for exams. Students must only use the "Almaesami" web platform. Registrations must close four days before the appeal date. Students already enrolled who no longer intend to take the exam must unsubscribe within the same deadline. The enrolled student who no longer wants to take the exam, but has not canceled in time, must show up on the day of the appeal to record the withdrawal. The student who, due to an impediment occurring after the expiry of the deadline for unsubscribing from the list, cannot attend the exam, is required to inform the teacher within the exam starting time (for e-mail).

Examination mode. The exam will mainly take place in oral and discursive form. However, a preliminary written test may be provided by the teacher for each session, in the form of multiple choice or true/false questions. The written test will be delivered through the appropriate EOL applications. The test will not be awarded the grade, but only the students who have passed it positively, answering correctly to a minimum number of questions, will be able to access the oral test, on the same day or the following day.
The oral exam can in any case be organized in several consecutive daily shifts, based on the number of members. Students enrolled in the test must all present themselves on the first day of the exam. If the number of staff present exceeds the maximum limit of students that can be examined by the Commission during the first day, the surplus students will be examined, according to the order in which they were enrolled in the examination list, in subsequent days which will be communicated to those present by the Commission.

Conduct of the oral examination. During the oral examination, the examining commission will ask the candidates questions (usually 3-4), both theoretical and practical, based on the notions and knowledge learned through the attendance of lectures and the critical reading of the study texts and teaching materials. The questions of the oral interview focus on the topics indicated in the "Program and contents" section. To prepare for the exam, the study of the texts and readings indicated in the "Texts / Bibliography" section and consultation of the main legislation referred to in the textbook and during the lessons is required. The questions are aimed at verifying, among other things, if the student has learned the notions relating to the legal institutions studied, if he is able to explain through correct legal reasoning the main problems concerning the topics of the course, if he has acquired the ability to necessary argument for the interpretation of the laws and for the analysis and solution of legal problems, and if it is able to critically apply the acquired knowledge, also referring to the content of the laws, jurisprudence and case-law and doctrine.

Assessment evaluation. In particular, the evaluation of the test will be carried out taking into consideration:

  • knowledge of institutional profiles;
  • the ability to make connections between the different parts of the program;
  • the articulation, accuracy and completeness of the exposition;
  • the degree of learning and the ability to use the notions and technical terminology characterizing the subject;
  • the ability to systematically frame, also taking into account jurisprudential and doctrinal orientations, the institutes, topics and problems proposed;
  • the ability to develop adequate analysis of the proposed issues and critical arguments.

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;
  • adequate knowledge of the programme, adequate critical reasoning ability, adequate use of technical and legal language → 22-24/30;
  • fairly good knowledge of the programme, adequate critical reasoning ability, sound use of technical and legal language → 24-26/30;
  • comprehensive knowledge of the programme, notable reasoning ability, good command of technical and legal language → 27-29/30;
  • extensive knowledge of the programme, very good reasoning ability, and ability to fully master technical-legal language → 30-30L/30.

Students who attend the course for the first time in the academic year 2021/2022 (second semester) will be able to take the exam starting from the 1st exam session in May 2022.

For the assignment of the thesis it is necessary to have already successfully passed the exam. The thesis, if any, is assigned by the course professor, after a necessary meeting with the student and after the approval of a brief written project of the thesis (abstract).


Teaching tools

Through the web platform "virtuale.unibo.it" the following tools to support studying can be available to students:

  • readings, insights, lecture notes, slides, documents presented and discussed in the classroom during lectures;
  • self-assessment questionnaires; verification tests on understanding the key concepts.

Students who for reasons dependent on disabilities or specific learning disorders (SLD) need compensatory tools will be able to communicate their needs to the teacher in order to be addressed to the referents and agree on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.


Office hours

See the website of Andrea Mondini


No poverty Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

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