A New Italian Corporate Procedural Law May Signal the FirststepTowardsaRevampoftheEntir System

16 September 2003

Giovanni Galimberti

Italy has recently welcomed the introduction of brand new procedural rules governing corporate law proceedings (Law Decree No. 5/2003). The new rules will come into force on 1 January 2004.

From January 2004, Italian Courts will apply a completely new set of procedural rules to certain corporate litigation proceedings. The new corporate law procedural rules are intended to act as an experiment and may, in the future, act as a catalyst for a reform of the whole Italian Code of Civil Procedure.

The two main goals of the new rules are firstly to speed up civil litigation and secondly to encourage parties to use alternative forms of dispute resolution.

The new rules consist of an autonomous code, the basic principle of which is to provide the claimant with a wide range of tools that he can employ according to the degree of protection he seeks.

Amongst other changes, the rules governing arbitral proceedings have been restructured and there is a brand new procedure to deal with summary, although not interlocutory, judgment.

Article 34 of the new rules allows companies to introduce in their bylaws a statutory arbitration clause, which will be applied to almost all corporate litigation concerning disposable rights between partners (shareholders) or between partners and the company. This will facilitate an increase in international arbitrations seated in Italy.

The new rules relating to summary judgment (Article 19) will be applied, where appropriate, to disputes concerning the payment of a determined amount of money (cash or otherwise) or regarding the delivery of goods