00218 - Canon Law

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Gender equality Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The Canon Law course aims to introduce a knowledge of one juridical system based on a religious not changeable source . This assumption gives to the law of the catholic Church a strong originality in comparison to the world of the secular laws. Its history is fundamental for the knowledge of European legal culture. Many institutions and many solutions of the juridical problems adopted by the States laws, are derived, in fact, from the canonical models. The configuration of the hierarchical Church and its"constitutional" right will be, with the marriage (and its crisis), the main topics of the lectures.
These references show the character of this educational and cultural discipline that interesting the both profiles: the positive law and the history of law.

Course contents

The course of Canon Law is designed to have the students undestand how a legal sistem on a religious basis was originated and works. The most important themes will concern the sistem of souces and the legal costitution of tha Roman Church. A specific treatment will be devoted to religious marriage and its links with civil marriage.


For the integration of 1, 2, 3, credits, the student must contact the teacher by e-mail to decide a custom program.

Erasmus students must contact the teacher by e-mail to agree a custom program.


G. CAPUTO, Introduzione allo studio del Diritto Canonico moderno. Tomo I: Lo jus publicum ecclesiasticum, Padova, Cedam, 1987 (appendici escluse), pp. XVI-355;
A. ZANOTTI, Il matrimonio nell'età della tecnica, Torino, G. Giappichelli editore, 2007, pp. VII-225.
G. BONI, A. ZANOTTI, La Chiesa tra nuovo paganesimo e oblio. Un ritorno alle origini per il diritto canonico del terzo millennio?, G. Giappichelli editore, Torino, 2012, pp. XIV-198.

The textbooks suggested to Erasmus students are those by Giuseppe Caputo, for the parts already mentioned in this giude.

Teaching methods

The course will be lessons held by the professor. He will have the task of tracking the general framework and address the crucial joints of the conceptual structure of the course. Italian and foreign scholars will be invited for lessons on specific topics.

Lectures will be given in the I nd semester. As a consequence, students obtaining their attendance certificate in the current academic year are allowed to take their exam only from the month of January.

In the first semester, teaching will be carried out according to the criteria outlined at the following website:


Assessment methods

The verify of learning consists in a final proof which will explore the acquisition of knowledge and skills requested trough an oral examination sustained directly with the professor. Only the student who has already supported the exams of Constitutional law and Private law is admitted to the oral exam. In this way the student will be can show not only the learned knowledge, but also the critical and methodological capacities gained. In the same time he will must demonstrate to have some specific abilities. First of all, the possess of a mastery of expression and an appropriate technical language. The second one is the ability to move in safely within the system of the sources of this matter. The student moreover must have a clear perception of the information received and, finally, he must have properly understood the issues addressed in class and elucidated in the text books of reference. Learning such skills is easier during the course, the attendance of which is recommended in order to improve the learning process and therefore the student’s performance during the exam.

The exam will cover the issues described in the “Course contents” section. The examination entails the assignment of a grade.

Namely, about the oral exam:

 As previously mentioned, the aim of the oral exam is to assess the actual achievement of the learning outcomes: therefore, both the knowledge of the relevant legal issues and the student’s capability to apply it in order to realize the required logical-deductive connections will be taken into account.

By way of a mere example, the assignment of the final grade will be based on the following criteria:

Sufficient knowledge of a very small number of the topics addressed during the course and analytical skills that only emerge through extensive support by the interviewer, with the use of a language that is not incorrect but is not completely accurate either → 18-19;

Fairly good knowledge of a limited number of the topics addressed during the course and analytical skills that are autonomous only on purely executive issues, with the use of a correct but not fully confident and exhaustive language → 20-24;

Good knowledge of a wide number of the topics addressed during the course and capability to develop autonomous analytical skills, with an efficient and confident use of a technically specific language → 25-29;

Extensive and substantially exhaustive knowledge of the whole program addressed during the course, capability to develop very good legal reasonings and to critically analyse and connect different topics, with a fully confident use of a technically specific language that shows a mature ability to develop original reflections → 30-30L.

Students who need compensatory tools for reasons of disability or Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) will communicate to the teacher their needs so as to be directed to the dedicated person and arrange on the adoption of the most appropriate measures: the same also applies with regard to the final exam.

Students have to book the final exam on the web application AlmaEsami.


For the assignment of thesis the student must go to the reception of the teacher to discuss and decide the theme.

Teaching tools

Teaching material will be distributed during the lessons.

Students will be informed about dates and times of the seminars and the meetings with experts during the lectures and through notices on the Faculty website.

Students who need compensatory tools for reasons of disability or Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) will communicate to the teacher their needs so as to be directed to the dedicated person and arrange on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.

The collaborators of the Chair and the Professor will receive the students on the same day.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Zanotti