Italy's judicial system has a bad reputation for a number of reasons, including delayed court proceedings. This has given rise to litigation strategies such as the "Italian torpedo", which seeks to utilise these delays to a party's strategic advantage. For this reason, the political agenda has included accelerating court proceedings for some time. The digitalisation of the courts actually started in 2014, meaning that by the time the covid-19 pandemic necessitated virtual proceedings, the technological infrastructure was already in place. In March 2020 the court system moved, temporarily, to only virtual hearings and written submissions. Some pieces of the emergency legislation will be kept to help reform civil proceedings. However, the lack of simultaneous communication that an in-person trial offers could restrict parties' ability to present their case duly.
The pandemic has produced social and economic changes. This means that it is unsurprising that the trending litigation topics include insolvency, restructuring and financing businesses. Further, force majeure clauses in contracts has also been seen more frequently in the courts. Moving into 2022, the focus is likely to shift from force majeure to hardship and the available remedies.
Potential claimants should be aware that with the focus on accelerating proceedings, the torpedo strategy is unlikely to be effective going forward. There is also the unexpectedly high cost of extended proceedings to consider.
2021 has been a year of change for Italy, if ever there was a time that its judicial system could repair its reputation, perhaps it is now.
In the video below, Marco Torsello discusses how the courts adapted to the covid-19 pandemic and what the recent litigation trends in Italy have been and may be moving into 2022. He also offers guidance to litigants about how to avoid common pitfalls in the process.
For further information on this topic please contact Marco Torsello at ARBLIT Radicati di Brozolo Sabatini Benedettelli Torsello by telephone (+39 02 8425 4810) or email ([email protected]). The ARBLIT Radicati di Brozolo Sabatini Benedettelli Torsello website can be accessed at www.arblit.com.