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Coronavirus – Extraordinary provisions for civil and commercial proceedings – Italy

  • Italy
  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus - Country overview

26-03-2020

 

Following the Coronavirus outbreak, the Italian government adopted strict measures to prevent the further spread of the disease also in relation to civil and commercial proceedings.

On 17 March 2020 the Law Decree no. 18 (“Decreto Cura Italia”) was issued which provides, inter alia, extraordinary rules for the conduct and handling of civil and commercial proceedings throughout the foreseeable duration of the health emergency.

Article 83 of the Law Decree no. 18/2020 provides the following:

From 9 March throughout 15 April 2020

 

  • all hearings scheduled during this period will be postponed after 15 April 2020;
  • the judiciary terms are automatically stayed.

 

The suspension of terms applies to all the procedural terms provided for by Italian law and as a matter of fact implies a postponement of all court activities.

Hearings will only be held when they are considered as particularly urgent. However, such urgent hearings will only be held on condition that the respect of hygienic and health standards provided by the national Authorities is guaranteed (e.g. telematic handling of the hearing).

 

  • From 9 March throughout 15 April 2020 the terms for ADR proceedings (e.g. mediation proceedings) are also automatically stayed.

 

The suspension only applies to the ADR proceedings commenced before 9 March and provided that the ADR is a condition to start court proceedings.

 

  • From 16 April throughout 30 June 2020 the local courts are entitled to adopt their own organizational measures in order to ensure that the hygienic and health standards provided by the national authorities are respected; the purpose is avoiding gatherings and close contacts between people in the judiciary offices.

 

The abovementioned measures may concern: on the one hand, limitations to the public access in the offices, reductions of the opening hours and, eventually, the closure of the offices (only in case that the activity is not urgent); on the other hand, new regulations in the conduct of the hearings.

The measures shall also provide the compulsory e-filing of all the applications and of the relative documents.

 

  • The statute of limitation is also stayed for the rights that can be asserted only by carrying out activities precluded during the suspension period set out in the Law Decree no. 18 (9 March-15 April 2020) and in the possible suspension period set out by the local courts (16 April-30 June 2020).

 

It is possible that further measures are adopted before 15 April 2020, depending on the development of the Coronavirus outbreak.