Decision of the Court of Cassation, III Criminal Section, No. 31378 of 14 January 2015

The Court of Cassation rejected an appeal concerning the fact that an administrative sanction and a criminal one were imposed upon the same person and for the same facts. For the claimant, this was in contrast with the ‘ne bis in idem’ principle and the right to a fair trial as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights in its decision of 2014 on the case Grande Stevens v. Italy.  The Court of Cassation was satisfied that Italian norms must be interpreted and applied in accordance with the ECHR and, if this is not possible, the question of their constitutional legitimacy must be deferred to the Constitutional Court. These principles are established in two important decisions of the Constitutional Court (No. 348 and 349 of 2007). No questions of constitutional legitimacy could however arise in the case, because the administrative sanctions was completely different, as for its nature and consequences, from a penalty, also in light of the criteria resulting from the European Court’s jurisprudence.