Criminal liability of the health professions

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with:
- The knowledge of the fundamental legal structures of Italian criminal law.
- The knowledge of the criminal liability profiles related to the management of health care public and private companies in daily and emergency contexts.
- The ability to understand and develop autonomously basic legal reasoning in criminal law.
- The ability to understand criminal law provisions and case-law, and to adopt preventive measures accordingly.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to understand the main issues of criminal liability that may arise in health care companies and consequently to behave in compliance with the law and to adopt organisational measures in order to prevent criminal offences.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Course syllabus
The course focuses on the criminal law profiles that may come into play in the management of health care companies, both in everyday and emergency situations. The topics covered are developed within the framework of the following thematic areas:
(1) General principles of Italian criminal law:
- Distinction between civil and criminal liability
- The crime: fundamental elements of the criminal offence
(2) Offences against life and physical integrity of employees:
- The responsible figures
- Accidents at work
- Occupational diseases
- The crime of epidemic
- The contraventions of the Italian Consolidated Law on safety at work
(3) Offences against life and physical integrity of patients:
- Commission and omission liability
- Medical malpractice
- End-of-life issues
- Restraint of psychiatric patients
(4) The offences of healthcare personnel, managers and facility administrators:
- Documentary fraud
- Abusive exercise of the profession
- Abuse of office
- Curruption
- Refusal to perform a duty
(5) Corporate criminal liability:
- The basic elements for criminal liability of corporations
- Organisational models for the prevention of corporate liability
- Pecuniary and prohibitory sanctions
Further info concerning the course content will be provided on
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
Lectures and guided discussions in the classroom based on practical cases taken from case-law on criminal liability in the healthcare area. The discussion will be enriched with lectures by professionals in the field.
Teaching Resources
Instructors will upload the slides and additional materials on
Assessment methods and Criteria
Multiple-choice quiz (50%); participation in classroom discussions (50%).
IUS/17 - CRIMINAL LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Zirulia Stefano
Wednesday at 2.30 p.m. (on appointment only)
Microsoft Teams or Department of Law "Cesare Beccaria", Criminal law section (Via Festa del Perdono 3, 2nd floor)