Inaugural lecture of PhD Private Autonomy a.y. 2023/2024. 20 November 2023. Prof. Anastasia Iliopoulou-Penot (Univeristy Paris Panthéon-Assas) with Proff. Guido Alpa and Laura Moscati.
The doctorate in Private autonomy, business, work and protection of rights in the European and international perspective arises from the fusion of various doctoral courses, in particular that of a civil-Romanistic matrix which was among the first to combine, in the training of doctoral student, the historical element to private law. Transformed over the years, with the addition of further curricula, and becoming the doctorate in Economic and Business Law, International Law and Civil Trial Law, the course took on its current name starting from the XXX cycle, celebrating in clearly also its inherent European and international vocation. For this reason, numerous international agreements have been concluded which allow doctoral students to enhance and improve their research skills with stays abroad at other important academic institutions (Joint PhD Theses and International Agreements). The doctorate also offers the opportunity, unique in Italy given the fact that Sapienza is the only Italian university belonging to the European Law School network, to access prestigious post-doctoral positions at other partner universities (for the current academic year, for example: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Currently, the Academic Board is made up of 40 eminent professors and researchers from Sapienza University and other important Italian universities. The course has more than 50 PhD students and is divided into six curricula: Labour law, Tax law, Commercial, Company, Financial and Competition Law, Comparative Private Law, Civil Law and History of European Law and Civil procedure law. The training activities offered to doctoral students, in addition to the specific courses of the individual curricula, include many common initiatives and resources, such as the Advanced Institutional Course of 50 hours dedicated to all curricula, the in-depth section Emergenze e diritto, created to provide doctoral students with the opportunity to learn about and study the legal implications of past and current emergencies through the collection of important materials and content on the subject (Emergencies and Law) or such as the thematic YouTube channel.


The PhD course in Labour law wants to realize these formative aims: individual specialist research about labour relations, trade union right and social security with a particular attention to the analysis of the law in force and to the consideration of the law evolution and of the comparatistic topics. The doctorate program includes periodic testes of the realized objects to make easier the doctors research work and the organization of specialist meetings on the chosen topics with also the support of professors.


The tax law is carrying into the principle of transparency, impartiality, effectivity and efficiency. The regulation of the assessment and collection activity is already oriented to the authoritative prospective in the relationship with private-taxpayers. The auspicated parity in conditions between administration and taxpayers is still far but the new legislation, among the Statute of the Tax Payer, makes a different behaviour of these relations impressed to a major collaboration. So it’s interesting not to forget the interests of the administration activity in this sphere and the peculiarity of the fiscal function.


The three years long PhD course aims at training the candidates to the doctor’s degree on scientific research on issues and matters included in the area of Business and Commercial Law, namely: (i) the Law of Business Enterprises, including Company Law, Commercial Contracts Law, Intellectual Property Law, Competition Law; Law of Groups of Companies;(ii) the Law of Public Supervision on Enterprises; (iii) Banking and Insurance Law;(iv) Securities Regulation and Financial Markets’ Law. Doctoral candidates are required to devote themselves to the scientific research on one or more of those issues according to the arrangement with the “doctoral college of teachers” and to complete, within three years, an original scientific work (the ‘doctoral thesis’). A great attention is given to training on classical legal thoughts and to the updating of the training through the reading of more recent works, which have made significant contributions in terms of method of scientific inquiry, development of ideas, comparison with the debates in the international arena. The PhD students are also invited to practice the comparative method and encouraged to spend periods of study abroad at universities or academic institutions with which the PhD teachers have contacts.


The PhD in Comparative private law presents innovative aspects and a qualified openness towards relationships with foreign institutions. Candidates are required to develop individual researches on the basis of a study programme which involves as main sectors: private comparative law and its several articulations (analysis of: the comparative method, the fundamental legal traditions, the specific jurisdictions and the legal institutes); EC private law; uniform law deriving from international conventions; law arising from international contractual practices (c.d. lex mercatoria). The curriculum also involves economic and organizational studies in order to obtain the best knowledge of the legal meaning of such issues. Students are expected to investigate on those topics which come up from the actual experience of commercial law: firms and corporations, competition and market law, business to business contracts, credit and financial instruments, bankruptcy proceedings. Likewise, it is taken into account the actual evolution of the economic activities on behalf of the public sector and, therefore, of the market discipline as well as the relationships between firms and between professionals and consumers. Studies and researches of the PhD programme must deal with experiences and documentations of foreign institutions. Indeed, the PhD course is carried out through the cooperation with the institutes of the Paris I Pantheòn Sorbonne University (in particular with its Ladef Laboratorie de droit de affaires) and of the Louvain La Neuve University with which, moreover, La Sapienza University is already tight in force of an agreement concerning first degree courses. Specific initiatives involving additional foreign institutions are constantly taken into consideration.


The purpose is to prepare PhD candidates for scientific research about themes and subjects of the two scientific areas (Civil Law and European History Law). i) European private law, which, in 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, has been a law incorporated in the main codes and, in the second half of 20th century, has been more and more influenced by the Anglo-Saxon common law system. ii) European private law is also studied in its historical roots. The main topics are: Intellectual Property; the interpretation of the law and of contracts; the trading, the contract resolution; the contracts based on “fiducia” (trust), medical liability and damages; business to business contracts; tort and contract. iii) Fundamental Rights, and their improvement according to the European system. iiii) The influence of European Union politics in domestic law systems.


Doctorate in civil procedure deals with all the fundamental themes of the matter: declaratory judgment, enforcement proceedings, interim injunctions, voluntary jurisdiction, arbitration, bankruptcy proceedings. Other subjects of the course are: general theory of legal process, administration of justice, private international law, comparative civil procedure, EU civil procedure.


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L'elenco e le finalità delle attività intraprese dalla Sapienza sono descritte nella pagina dedicata Sapienza per il Pnrr.

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