Asbestos and criminal law: some reflections on the Eternit case of Turin

Luca d’Ambrosio, September 2016

A case study on the prosecution of the Italian company ETERNIT for exposing around 3000 people to asbestos.

The court decided that the extent of damage to health and safety could not be evaluated in terms of effects on individuals but in terms of magnitude of a disaster. It was judged to be a violation of public security by endangering the health of a population. The significance of the case, created a precedent for prosecution of corporations jeopardizing public safety and enforcing corporate responsibility. ETERNIT Directors were given prison sentences for 18 years.

The case shows a remarkable evolution in interpretation of law from a judicial focus on proving damage to liability for causing danger.

Case study period: 2013 (year of trial)

The attached document is in French

telechargement revue_droit_du_travail_eternit_fr.pdf (21 KiB)


Revue de droit du travail 2014 p.418

Amiante et droit pénal : quelques réflexions sur l’affaire “Eternit” de Turin

Cour d’appel de Turin, 3 juin 2013 (publiée le 2 sept. 2013) et Tribunal de Turin, 3 février 2012 (publié le 4 mai 2012)