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The award

Requirements
What legal requirements are there for recognition of an award? Must reasons be given for the award? Does the award need to be reviewed by any other body?

As awards issued in Italy have the same status and effect as national court judgments, there is no need for recognition. However, an exequatur is necessary if the party intends to enforce the award (because it contains an order), to record it in a public register or to register a lien.

Foreign awards require prior legal recognition to be enforceable and have legal effect in Italy, in accordance with the New York Convention. Recognition is sought by submitting a request to the president of the court of appeals of the district where the counterparty is resident; if the counterparty is not resident in Italy, the Rome Court of Appeals has jurisdiction. The president of the court of appeals cannot assess the content of the award, but can only confirm its formal compliance. An award cannot be recognised if:

  • the dispute is not arbitrable under Italian law; or
  • the award contains provisions that are contrary to public policy.

The decision of the president of the court of appeals may be subject to challenge. In the event of a challenge, recognition will be refused if the challenger can prove any of the following:

  • A party to the proceedings lacked capacity under the applicable law or the arbitration agreement was invalid.
  • The challenger was not informed of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the commencement of proceedings, or had no opportunity to defend itself.
  • The dispute did not fall within the scope of the arbitration agreement.
  • The composition of the tribunal or the proceedings themselves did not comply with the agreement between the parties or applicable law.
  • The award is not yet binding between the parties, or was annulled or suspended by the applicable authority in the state in which it was issued.

Timeframe for delivery
Are there any time limits on delivery of the award?

Awards must be issued within the time limit established by the parties. Otherwise, the arbitrators must issue the award within 240 days of accepting their appointment. This time limit may be extended by written declaration of all parties or by the president of the competent court, at the request of a party or the arbitrators. An extension may be granted only before the time limit has expired.

Unless the parties have provided otherwise, this time limit may be extended by 180 days, which cannot be further extended, if:

  • evidence must be admitted;
  • an expert is appointed;
  • a non-definitive or partial award is issued; or
  • the composition of the tribunal is altered or a sole arbitrator is replaced.

Remedies
Does the law impose limits on the available remedies? Are some remedies not enforceable by the court?

The arbitrators may generally issue all orders necessary to safeguard the rights of the parties. However, they cannot issue orders that are contrary to public policy or that a national judge would be unable to issue. 

Orders relating to payment included in an award can be enforced. Penalties payable for each day of delay in fulfilling such orders are also permitted. However, an order to pay punitive damages cannot be subject to exequatur and enforcement in Italy, as this is considered contrary to public policy (not even a national judge can order punitive damages).

What interim measures are available? Will local courts issue interim measures pending constitution of the tribunal?

Interim measures may take different forms and are instrumental in protecting the rights under adjudication by the arbitrators. Emergency measures may be obtained, such as injunctions, protection orders and seizures.

National courts may grant interim and emergency measures, both before and during the arbitration proceedings. The arbitration agreement may not limit access to interim or emergency measures.

Interest
Can interest be awarded?

Liquidated amounts in the award may accrue interest at different rates, depending on the basis of such amounts. If the award orders the recovery of damages, compensatory interest typically accrues from the date of issue of the award, at the statutory rate. In the case of an order to pay a liquid and enforceable cash debt, default interest accrues from the date of default by the debtor. 

At what rate?

In commercial transactions, default interest accrues at the statutory rate, which is currently equal to the European Central Bank interest rate plus eight percentage points.

Finality
Is the award final and binding?

The award is final and binding between the parties as of the date of the last signature.

What if there are any mistakes?

If the award contains errors, it may be subject to correction. Corrections may be requested for omissions or material or calculation errors. 

Corrections must be made by the arbitrators within one year of issue of the award. Subsequently, corrections are made by the court of the district in which the seat of arbitration is located. In the case of an exequatur, the competent court has the authority to make corrections. The award may then be corrected by any judge before which it is brought or challenged. However, the parties must always be heard in the correction procedure.
 

Can the parties exclude by agreement any right of appeal or other recourse that the law of your jurisdiction may provide?

The validity of an award may be challenged for select mandatory reasons. Prior to issue of the award, the parties may not exclude challenges to its validity.

The award may be challenged for violation of the law applicable to the merits of the dispute only if the parties have expressly provided for this in the arbitration agreement.

Appeal
What is the procedure for challenging awards?

Challenges must be submitted within 90 days of service of the award or, if it is not served, within one year of the last signature. The court of appeal of the district in which the seat of the arbitration is located will be competent. The appeal ruling may be challenged before the Supreme Court.

An extraordinary challenge is also possible: an award may be challenged for revocation where it has resulted from the wilful misconduct of a party or an arbitrator or is based on false evidence; or if decisive new evidence comes to light after it has been issued.

Non-participating third parties may challenge the award only where:

  • it is incompatible with their rights; or
  • they are a necessary joint litigant or party to the arbitration agreement, but were not called to join the proceedings.

The award may also be challenged by third parties and creditors that can demonstrate wilful misconduct or collusion that is detrimental to them.

A non-final award (ie, on preliminary or pre-judicial issues) may be challenged only once it has become final. A partial award (ie, only on certain issues) may be immediately challenged.

The above provisions do not apply to an agreed award (‘lodo irrituale’). This has the effect of an agreement between the parties and may be challenged only on the grounds provided for in general by contract.

On what grounds can parties appeal an award?

The validity of the award may be challenged only on the following mandatory grounds:

  • The arbitration agreement is invalid.
  • The arbitrators were not appointed as specified.
  • The award exceeds the scope of the arbitration agreement or relates to a dispute which was not arbitrable.
  • The award was issued after the deadline for its issue.
  • The award is contrary to another prior award which is no longer subject to challenge or to a prior judgment which has become final and binding.
  • The award was issued by an arbitrator who lacked capacity.
  • The award does not meet the minimum formal requirements (ie, summary of the reasons, the decision and signatures of the arbitrators).
  • The parties did not have equal opportunity to defend themselves.
  • The award has terminated the proceedings without ruling on the merits of the dispute which should have been decided.
  • The award contains contradictory provisions.
  • The award does not address some of the issues or challenges submitted by the parties.

The award may be challenged for violation of the law applicable to the merits of the dispute only if the parties have expressly provided for this in the arbitration agreement.

It is always possible to challenge an award that is contrary to public policy.

Enforcement
What steps can be taken to enforce the award if there is a failure to comply?

An order contained in an award that is not voluntarily complied with can be compulsorily enforced.

Can awards be enforced in local courts?

Enforcement is subject to the grant of exequatur. Exequatur is granted by the national court of the district in which the seat of the arbitration is located. It is subject merely to confirmation of formal compliance of the award. The decision on exequatur may be challenged before the court of appeals.

How enforceable is the award internationally?

The New York Convention has been ratified by Italy without reservation. Italian awards may thus be enforced in all states that have ratified the convention.

To what extent might a state or state entity successfully raise a defence of state or sovereign immunity at the enforcement stage?

Except in the case of express waiver, a state and its entities benefit from immunity against enforcement of an arbitral award; further, enforcement cannot be imposed on assets used for sovereign purposes. In identifying such assets, the approach adopted by the Italian courts will favour the state and its entities.

Are there any other bases on which an award may be challenged, and if so, by what?

An agreed award (lodo irrituale) is not subject to enforcement. An injunction relating to the contents of the award can be obtained, swiftly if necessary.

How enforceable are foreign arbitral awards in your jurisdiction?

A foreign award can be compulsorily enforced. For this purpose, an exequatur must be granted.

Will an award that has been set aside by the courts in the seat of arbitration be enforced in your jurisdiction?

An award that has been declared null by the court of the seat of arbitration cannot be granted exequatur. If exequatur is granted, the party may challenge this decision and enforcement of the award.

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