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“Damages for unlawful exam failure”

Parents’ Liability: The Italian Supreme Court hands down judgement on what constitutes rebuttal evidence pursuant to article 2048 of the Italian Civil Code

Law-Decree no. 212 dated December 22, 2011 containing Provisions for the efficiency of the Italian civil justice system

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The case at hand concerned a pupil studying at Florence Artistic High School who failed his final school exams in July 2004.


After having been examined in only three subjects (History, Italian and Artistic Anatomy), he was awarded an extremely low grade of 52 out of 100.

He decided, therefore, to repeat his final year and enroll with a private school. This time round he managed to pass and get the much desidered school leaving certificate.

In the meantime, however, he had also commenced legal proceedings, applying for judicial review of the decision to fail him taken in the previous year. The Tuscany Regional Administrative Tribunal handed down judgment on February 11, 2006 granting his application for judicial review on the grounds that he should have been examined in all the subjects for which he had registered.

Ministerial Order no. 35 dated April 8, 2003 foresaw, in fact, that the aforementioned examination should have commenced with a topic chosen by the student in question and then continue with topics given to the candidate concerning diverse subject matters (also grouped together in disciplinary areas).

The Ministerial Order provided that: «The examination, in observance of its multi-disciplinary nature, cannot be considered to have been completed if all of the above-described phases and subject-matters (grouped together in disciplinary areas) have been not completed».

The student’s lawyers, after having obtained the aforementioned judgment quashing the decision to fail him in 2004, decided once again to turn to the Regional Administrative Tribunal on the grounds that he had suffered a loss as a result of the examiners’ unlawful conduct.

The Regional Administrative Tribunal granted his claim for damages, awarding him economic damages amounting to Euro 5.000,00 (corresponding to the tuition fees paid by him to the private school)”.

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