Pursuant to Article 103 of the Italian Constitution, the Corte dei conti has jurisdiction in matters of public accounting and in any other matters laid down by the law. The Corte dei conti holds jurisdiction on the following matters:
- Administrative and accounting liability of fonctionnaires, public agents or private persons or undertakings managing public “funds” (money, goods and services, assets, etc.) in the public general interest for any damage they caused to the State and the European Union or to any public entity by fraud or gross negligence (infra).
- Management and reports of accountants and other public agents managing public money who are liable to render accounts. (i.e., accounts made by public, management, and government or local bodies accountants. The Corte dei conti has authority to audit persons acting but not certified as a public accountant).
- Further litigations in accounting matters established by law (Article 172 of the Code).
- Litigation arising from acts bestowing or modifying pensions.
Having regard to administrative and accounting liability, the harm can take into account damages to properties, goods/asset loss and/or financial damages, but also non-material damages.
Accordingly, all losses caused by an unlawful conduct or omission can be taken into account: corruption; fraud in the management of public funds (European, national or local); infringements or unlawful conducts or omissions in directing and/or monitoring the performance of works, supply and service agreements causing breach of contracts, unlawful additional payments, unlawful variant solutions; damages to the treasury, etc.
The Corte dei conti holds a special position within Italy’s judicial system. It is separate from administrative courts and civil courts with regard to its functions, as it does not rule on civil and criminal law matters (not even as appellate court) but has specific responsibilities in the public law field. The Corte dei conti is the final court of appeal in the matters under its jurisdiction. When hearing a case at first instance the Corte dei conti sits in a chamber of 3 judges (except in pension matters where there is a single judge).
When hearing a case at second instance the Corte dei conti sits in a chamber of 5 judges. Against the judgments issued by the Corte dei conti, the Supreme Court – Corte di Cassazione –, which is the final court of appeal for civil and criminal cases, is entrusted with the power to settle the conflicts of jurisdiction arising between other courts (civil and administrative) and the Corte dei conti, pursuant to article 111, para.8 of the Constitution.
In 2016, it has been delivered the Code for Accounting Justice (Legislative Decree no. 174/2016).