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Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, First Civil Section, No. 3842/2020, 15 February 2021

Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, First Civil Section, No. 3842/2020, 15 February 2021

With Ordinance no. 3842 of February 15, 2021, the Supreme Court of Cassation examined a dispute concerning the settlement of a Roma family in the municipality of Civitanova Marche (MC).

The municipality had hindered the settlement of a woman with two daughters (one of whom was a minor) of Roma origin who asked for a safe equipped area where to settle, given the attendance at the local public school of her daughter. The municipality, in particular, had issued a series of administrative acts whose discriminatory nature was contested, including, in particular, the denial of civil registration (enactment of a local resolution that placed a ban on camping in the territory of the municipality), multiple fines and forced eviction.

The Court of Cassation, like the Court of Appeal, acknowledged the ethnic discrimination suffered by the family on the part of the local authorities and, therefore, rejected the appeal lodged by the municipality against the ruling in the second instance.

In the decision, it has been significantly noted that the right not to be discriminated against, as provided for by the constitutional (art. 3 of the Constitution), supranational (Directive 2000/43/EC), and domestic legal framework (articles 3 and 4 of Legislative Decree no. 215 of July 9, 2003), is a fundamental right to be protected by the ordinary judge. The fact that the alleged discriminatory conduct consists in the issuing of an administrative act is of no importance in relation to the division of jurisdiction. In this case, in fact, the ordinary judge can disapply the act, taking all the appropriate measures to remove its effects, without this involving any interference in the exercise of administrative power.


(Comment by Alessandro Cupri e Nadia Spadaro)