The immunity of judges in Italy

Following the 8 November 1987 referendum abolishing the law limiting the civil responsibility of judges, the ICJ have urged the Italian authorities in drafting new legislation to respect UN standards of judicial independence.

In a letter to Mr. GIuliano Vassalli, Italian Minister of Justice, the two organisations drew attention to the U.N. Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, which the General Assembly has called on governments to respect and to take into account in their national legislation. The Principles provide that while a judge may be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedure for wrongful acts, and while an aggrieved individual may seek compensation from the state, “judges should enjoy personal immunity from civil suits for monetary damages for improper acts or omissions in the exercise of their judicial functions.”

The two organisations, which work with judges and lawyers worldwide to promote the Rule of Law and the independence of the judiciary, consider that the immunity of Judges from personal liability is an essential safeguard of judicial independence.

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