CARTABIA REFORM OF THE ITALIAN CIVIL PROCEDURE - Points to bear in mind for litigation management in Italy, 28 February 2023
On 28 February, the reform of the procedures involved in civil proceedings in Italy will enter into force. The reform is named for its author, former Justice Minister Marta Cartabia, and introduces important updates to how civil litigation procedures are managed.
The reform affects the procedural deadlines for initiating civil proceedings on the merits, which, if ignored, may lead to irreparable consequences for the action as a whole.
In particular, for Italian residents, the time limit for the first hearing has been lengthened from 90 to 120 clear days from the date of service of the summons, but - and this is the point to which we should pay most attention - the deadline by which the defendant must enter its appearance in the action has been extended from 20 days before the hearing date, to 70 days before the date of the first hearing.
For parties residing outside of Italy, the time limit for the setting the first hearing remains unchanged at 150 clear days after the date of service of the summons. However, the deadline by which the defendant must enter its appearance has also changed from 20 days, to 70 days before the first hearing date.
This modification entails a considerable compression of the time limit for filing the answer and statement of defense which, among other things, must set forth, "in a clear and specific manner", all the defenses that the defendant intends to put forward, taking a position on the facts put forward by the plaintiff as the basis of their claim(s). Indeed, an Italian defendant will now have 50 days after service to prepare and file its defense, while before the reform it had 70 days. A foreign defendant previously had 130 days from service to prepare its answer and statement of defense, while now it has a mere 80-day window.
It is important to take note of the reduction of the time limited granted to the defendant to prepare his defence. If you are the addressee of a writ of summons, it is important to immediately notify your lawyers so that they can prepare your defence in the most professional and exhaustive manner, without incurring dangerous forfeitures.
Our firm is available to organise ad-hoc in-person and on-line meetings to resolve any doubts or necessary in-depth information on the reform.
For further information on the reform, you can contact us here.