How will the New Regulation of Italian Civil Proceedings reflects on foreign investments?

It is well known that the long duration of civil proceedings in Italy is a crucial problem of our courts system. As a matter of fact, the average duration only for the first instance is more than one year. Whereas a complete proceeding (first, second and third instance) usually lasts more than seven years, much longer than the average duration of proceedings in the other European Countries.

This element combined with the natural risks pertaining to the uncertain outcome of the proceeding can dissuade foreign investors to start doing business in Italy.

In order to remedy to such problems a relevant reform of the civil proceeding came into force on February 28, 2023.

The Reform of Justice is one of the key conditions of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan that Italy must meet to access the resources made available through the Next Generation EU Program. The European Council and the European Commission have highlighted the need for an important reduction of civil proceedings duration and the necessity to improve the efficiency of the civil justice system.

For this purpose, the new judicial system aims on the one hand at increasing staff, tools, and IT infrastructure of the courts.

On the other hand, ADR methods (i.e., Alternative Dispute Resolution to civil proceedings) have been implemented: further cases of mandatory mediation have been introduced (e.g. in case of franchising relationships), negotiation among lawyers is now possible in case of labor disputes; interim measures can now be adopted in arbitration proceedings, if that right was duly agreed between the parties.

In addition, civil proceedings have been simplified in several aspects with the intent to reduce their duration.

Written or summary proceedings have been extended (e.g.  by eviction in case of company rental).

Furthermore, the judge must first let the parties try to find an agreement, to avoid the trial.

Even enforcement procedures have been simplified in order to safeguard the creditor’s interest.

All those measures should solve the issues related to the long duration of the Italian civil proceedings and reduce the (unnecessary) complexity of the Italian judicial system, that collides with the foreign investors’ interest to count on a quick judiciary resolution of disputes, principle that is also provided by Italian Constitutional Law.