The Basilicata Regional Administrative Court has accepted the instances of a public class action aimed at obliging the Basilicata Regional Administration to adopt certified emails in communications with citizens.
The Certified Email (Italian acronym PEC) provides citizens with legally valid electronic documentation of the sending and delivery of electronic documents. “Certifying” both these key steps in the transmission of electronic files provides the sender with a receipt for any messages and attachments, if any, they have sent. This receipt is provided by the sender’s email service operator and constitutes legal proof that the message was sent.
The class action, carried out by the Agorà Digitale Association, asked the Court to verify the level of inefficiency caused by the Administration’s failure to publish its PEC address list on its website, an omission that made it impossible for citizens to use certified emails for communications with the Regional offices.
In issuing decision No. 478 the judges have accepted the association’s request having verified that there is an existing norm stipulating the obligation to present a list of certified email addresses on the websites of Regional Administrations. This regulatory obligation is contained in the recent “Guidelines for Public Administration websites.”
According to the Court, citizens were inconvenienced by the slowness in meeting this obligation, which obliged them to go in person to the Regional offices to receive and submit paper documents.
The particular nature of Agora Digitale, the proposer of this appeal, also led the Regional Administrative Court judges to rule on the legitimacy of a request from an association of citizens by providing some operational guidelines for public class actions.
Subjects able to bring such actions are associations which adequately represent the broad interests of a particular group of users or consumers. However, should the proposer be a single citizen his common interest and identity with the group he represents needs to be demonstrated in concrete terms.