- Civil and ecclesiastical law
The Council of State recently considered it legitimate to order that medical records be presented in court, even if this were to infringe laws on respecting privacy, and thi not only in civil, but also in canonical trials (ruling by the Italian Council of State of 28 September 2010). It therefore ordered a clinic to give a man the medical records of his wife so that he might present them before the ecclesiastical court. The clinic refused to do so out of respect for the woman’s privacy. Specialists in canon and ecclesiastical law have mainly not reacted ; Professor Marco Ventura believes this ruling to be contrary to Italian constitutional jurisprudence and the 1984 Concordat. He highlights in particular the risk of a return to using the secular arm, with the authority of the state supporting the legal strategies of one or other party when faced with canonical judges. It would be very serious not only for the independence of Italian justice, but especially for the autonomy of the ecclesiastical court whose activity can now be subject to intrusion by the state judge.
For more information, see the ruling on the OLIR website.
From Marco Ventura, "Stato, Chiesa, diritto alla privacy civil e religioso", Corriere della Sera, 25 October 2010.