Education and academic and other qualifications
He was educated at the “Liceo Classico Plinio Seniore” in his home town, Castellammare di Stabia (Italy, full marks, 1977) and then took a U.S. “High School Diploma” (McAllen, Texas, U.S., summa cum laude, 1978) as an AFS scholar.
He read law at the University of Naples (later renamed “Federico II”; among his professors, Antonio Tizzano for EU Law). His thesis dealt with comparative law issues in references to Islam contained in some constitutions vis-à-vis international human rights texts (Italy, summa cum laude, 1983). Upon recommendation by prof. Benedetto Conforti, chair of his thesis examining board, he was awarded by Italy’s “Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche” (National Research Agency) a grant to pursue these studies at the University of Alexandria (Egypt, 1985; the scholarship was then given up due to start of employment with the Bank of Italy- see infra III.b.1).
Upon leave from the Bank of Italy (see infra III.b.1), he received an MCJ (Master of Comparative Jurisprudence) degree at the University of Texas at Austin Law School as a Rotary Foundation scholar (Texas, U.S., 1983; prof. Russell J. Weintraub and prof. Kenneth Simmonds from the London University were his supervisors for term papers respectively in Conflicts of Law and International Law).
During his service at the Bank of Italy he studied toward a graduate degree in Political Science at the University of Macerata (Italy, summa cum laude, 1988) and a post-graduate degree in Commercial Law at the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy, full marks, 1991).
Relevant professional activities
After appointment as a judge in 1991 on the basis of a public competitive examination, he practised in the Naples Court, for about 20 years, in some core areas of the law, mainly in a civil and occasionally in a criminal court: commercial, banking, real property, wills, personal injury, consumers’ contracts, corporations, etc. He often dealt with European law issues connected with cases he adjudicated; he covered the role of coordinating judge in the civil Court for letters rogatory and judicial co-operation. Mostly operating as a single judge, he often participated in panel cases, sometimes serving as presiding judge starting in 2009.
Based on a ranking as “Excellent” granted by a mixed National Panel for Judicial Appointments composed of judges, attorneys and law professors, in 2012 he was called by Italy’s CSM (Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura – the self-governing body for the judiciary) to serve as a justice in the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation. He was initially in the Civil Chamber specializing in Tax Law (often with an EU law impact) and then in the Civil Chamber specializing in Property, Wills, Contracts and Supervision on Professionals and Financial Activities. He is serving in this chamber as of 2018.
In the period 2000-2018, upon appointment by the Italian CSM, he also served as member of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) within the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France). He was member of its Working Party since its very start in 2000; was elected Vice Chair of the CCJE for 2004 and 2005, and Chair for 2006 and 2007 (the latter by a unanimous vote of the Council’s Plenary). In 2006 he took up the CCJE’s Chair succeeding the previous Chairs, Lord Mance (UK) and Alain Lacabarats (F), and then having Julia Laffranque (EST) as Vice-Chair and successor in the Chair. At present he is still serving in the Council. The CCJE is the advisory body in the area of the judicial profession to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and has issued several Opinions to the attention of the CM on topics related to art. 6 ECHR, as well as a Magna Carta for Judges and situation reports on the judiciaries of CoE member states (see www.coe.int/ccje).
Between 1996 and 2012, he co-operated with Italy’s CSM in the field of initial and permanent training of judges, serving as a trainer in civil law, civil procedure, organisation of the judiciary, judicial ethics, alternative dispute resolutions, European and international law, human rights; both for initial and in-service training of judges.
On the basis of his experience in training, for the period 1998-2001 he was appointed as a member of the Scientific Committee for Judicial Training at the CSM, with the task of identifying training needs of the judiciary, proposing training initiatives, supervising the same initiatives during realisation. In such capacity he has organised a number of training initiatives at the national level aimed at the training of newly recruited judges, as well as of experienced judges; within the Scientific Committee, he has been responsible for European and international activities in the field of judicial training; in this position, served as liaison with foreign judicial training structures, the European Judicial Training Network, as well as the EU (specifically, for the GROTIUS and SCHUMAN projects) and the Council of Europe. Numerous initiatives each year concerned the ECHR and the case law of the ECtHR.
In 2010 he was appointed by CSM as a member of the Board of Directors of the Italian School for the Judiciary, the public entity which took up from CSM, starting in 2012, the task of initial and permanent training for Italian judges and prosecutors. In the period 2012-2015 he was responsible within the School for the European and international sector (training on the ECHR and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFREU)), Consumers’ protection, European Civil Procedure and Co-operation in Civil and Commercial Matters, International Private Law [especially in the area of family law, contract and tort law], Asylum Law, Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law, as well as Legal Languages; the training initiatives were developed in co-operation with several Universities and national and European authorities).
Starting in 1999, he has been called by the Council of Europe to serve as a judicial expert in a number of programmes of multilateral international co-operation: judicial and prosecutorial training, assistance on law drafts on the organisation and functioning of justice systems vis-à-vis art. 6 ECHR, reforms relating to ADR, etc. (among the Council of Europe bodies involved, the Lisbon Network, for which also served as General Rapporteur and Analyst; the joint programme Council of Europe-European Union for Albania; the co-operation framework with Azerbaijan; etc.); specific programmes involved Croatia and the Russian Federation; a new programme with Albania was active in 2014-2016.
Within the European Union, he has been a member of the Steering Party of a Phare Horizontal Programme for training in European Law of judges of countries which were candidates for accession (e.g. Slovakia and Slovenia); he has also been an expert for the TAIEX Programme (e.g. Georgia). Starting in 2013, in agreement with the Ministry of Justice, he has been serving as Contact Person within the Italian judiciary for the EU Commission Justice Scoreboard and other initiatives of the Unit Justice Policy and Rule of Law of the same Commission.
For the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, upon authorization of Italy’s CSM, he was one of the co-drafters of the Reports to the Italian Parliament on the implementation in Italy of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. These yearly reports, under the authority of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, are provided for by Law 9 January 2006, no. 12 with the goal of allowing monitoring by the Italian Parliament.
Activities and experience in the field of human rights
Starting from his university studies human rights (together with comparative law) have represented one of his core interests (see supra II.2). The perspective was enriched by studies in Political Science (see supra II.4). The main areas he developed were the impacts of the ECHR on the institutional framework of the state (especially the justice system), on fundamental political freedoms, on property law, on family law, etc.
In his judicial activities (see supra III.a.1-2) European law in general and human rights in particular have been carefully considered (e.g., recent decisions he drafted as a Supreme Court justice, mentioning the ECHR in the official abstract, are no. 3734 of 15/02/2018 and no. 20539 of 30/08/2017).
In the periods 1998-2001 (only for the civil sector) and 2012-2015 (both for the civil and the criminal sector), he has been the coordinator and responsible, in view of roles covered in the judicial training activity of his country (see supra, III.a.5-6), of training in European Human Rights Law and other international legal topics of Italy’s judges and prosecutors.
Having been for over 18 years (2000-2018) a member of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) within the Council of Europe (see supra III.a.3), member of its Working Party since its very start in 2000, Vice Chair for 2004 and 2005 and Chair for 2006 and 2007, he has extensively worked on numerous texts to the attention of the Committee of Ministers relating to the implementation of the ECHR (see e.g. https://www.coe.int/en/web/ccje/ccje-opinions-and-magna-carta).
Having served for about 20 years as an expert for the Council of Europe and the European Union in a number of programmes of multilateral international co-operation related to the ECHR and the CFREU (see supra III.a.7-8), he has developed a wide experience as to the several approaches to recognition and enforcement of human rights in several countries.
He has a large experience teaching and lecturing in the area of human rights (see supra III.b.3).
He has extensively published on topics relating to human rights (see infra VII, and especially: A.1 concerning art. 6 ECHR as to judicial impartiality; A.3 and A.4 concerning independence of justice under the same art. 6 and in general CoE standards; A.2 concerning art. 1 Protocol no. 1 vis-à-vis property law in the area of illegal expropriation, as per two landmark decisions of the ECtHR regarding Italy; A.5 concerning enforcement of ECtHR decisions in the Italian domestic system; other publications not listed).
Having been for the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, upon authorization of Italy’s CSM, one of the co-drafters of the Reports to the Italian Parliament on the implementation in Italy of the decisions of the ECtHR, he has significantly researched on the acquis of the Strasbourg Court and has provided analyses of it.