Thursday, October 22, 2009

European Court Says Italian Catholic Unversity Infringed Faculty Applicant's Rights

Lombardi Vallauri v. Italy, (ECHR, Oct. 20, 2009) [full text in French, Word.doc], decided yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights, held that the rights of a Lecturer at Milan's Catholic University of the Sacred Heart were infringed by procedural irregularities in refusing to consider his application for a permanent faculty position. As explained by the Court's press release on the case, Luigi Lombardi Vallauri had taught on the Faculty of Law under temporary contracts for over 20 years. When competition for permanent appointment to the post opened, the University's Faculty Board refused to consider his application because the Congregation for Catholic Education, an institution of the Holy See, informed the President of the University that some of Vallauri's views were "in clear opposition to Catholic doctrine." Approval by the Congregation for Catholic Education was one of the conditions for being considered for the position. The Court concluded, that while Italian courts could not review the substance of the decision, the Faculty Board should have explained how Vallauri's views were liable to affect the University's interests. Failure to do so infringed the procedural aspects of the protection of free expression under Art. 10 of the ECHR, as well as his right under Art.6(1) to effective access to a court. One judge dissented. [Thanks to Dott. Pasquale Annicchino for the lead.]