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1948 Case2019-02-16T17:19:09+00:00

1948 Case

The 1948 case enables children born to an Italian mother prior to 1948 to claim Italian dual citizenship before a civil judge of the Rome Tribunal.

Up to 1983, a child could not derive Italian citizenship from an Italian mother.
The law governing citizenship, enacted in 1912 (no. 555), admitted acquisition of citizenship from an Italian father only.

In 1983, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that the said provision of the law of 1912 was unconstitutional because of the inequal treatment of men and women. The Court said that the provision should be read as a child can acquire Italian citizenship from either an Italian father or an Italian mother.

In the same year a new law passed (no. 123 of 1983), stating in a specific provision the written principle that a child derives Italian citizenship from the Italian father or mother equally. Therefore, from 1983 on the issue was over.

But what about the children born prior to 1983 from an Italian mother? The law passed was not retroactive. This legal dilemma lead to the 1948 case.

How the Government applies the 1948 rule

For those born prior to 1983, the Ministry of the Interior requested a specific ruling from the highest administrative Counsel.

The “Consiglio di Stato” affirmed that the equality principle applies only to a child born after January 1, 1948. This being the date the Italian Constitution entereed into force.

For this reason, Italian Consulates and Citizen offices of Italian Municipalities only accept Italian Citizenship application of children born after January  1948 from an Italian mother.

How civil judges apply the 1948 rule

Il Presidente della sezione feriale della corte di cassazione Antonio Esposito (C) legge la sentenza del processo Mediaset, Roma 1 agosto 2013. Antonio Esposito (C), the Italian president of the court of cassation reads the judgment of the trial Mediaset, Rome, 1 August 2013. Five judges at Italy’s supreme court confirmed the condanan to four years in prison for former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. ANSA/ ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Initially, most of civil judges had the same opinion. However, few had an opposite opinion and their legal arguments prevailed in 2009.

The law case n. 6644 in 2009 held by the Italian Supreme Civil Court extends retroactively the equality principle of the 1983 decision to any case which today still deserves to be assessed before a court.

Read the so called 1948 case law no. 6644/2009 case law of the Corte Suprema di Cassazione here.

The 1948 case express the current prevailing Court orientation.

The only competent Court to rule on this topic is the one of Rome.

Read more about laws and case-law on iure sanguinis citizenship or other cases in which you can move through the Court.

Back to Italian dual citizenship main page

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