By decision no. 1914 of January 28, 2021, the United Sections of the Supreme Court of Cassation have once again found that disputes between companies operating in the organic sector and the monitoring bodies authorized by the Ministry to issue the necessary certifications and to carry out the related control activities fall under the jurisdiction of the ordinary judge, and not the administrative one.

The Supreme Court has thus reconstructed the evolution of the European rules, as well as the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU, followed in recent years on the subject of organic methods of production. Based on such assessment, the Supreme Court has concluded that “the auxiliary and preparatory role attributed to private organizations in relation to the supervisory authority cannot be considered a direct and specific participation in the exercise of public powers”, and that the above-mentioned monitoring organizations cannot be qualified as Public Administrations.

The United Sections also clarified that in order to identify the judge having jurisdiction, attention should be paid to the qualification of the subjective legal situation in question, which, in such cases, must be attributed the nature of a subjective right even where the operator’s claim concerns the annulment of the measures issued by the supervisory body and not only compensation for damages.

The ruling followed an orientation inaugurated by the same United Sections (judgment no. 9678 of 5 April 2019), to which many judges of merit, both ordinary and administrative, have already conformed (see ex multis Court of Appeal of Bologna, judgment no. 2465/2019 and T.A.R. Emilia-Romagna, judgment no. 737/2019).