On January 22nd 2011 the decision No. 2252 has been issued by the Italian Supreme Court. This is the first decision by which the Supreme Court decides on the direct admission as "parte civile" of the civil claimants against the company accused in a criminal proceeding pursuant to the Italian Decree 231/2001 (Anti Bribery Law) for the crimes committed by its representatives and/or employees. This issue has always been controversial, both in case law and in Scholars opinion; indeed, until today, some Courts of merits have admitted it and some others did not.

In any case, according to this recent Supreme Court decision, you may not be admitted as "parte civile" directly against the company accused ex Decree 231/2001 in a criminal proceeding.

Indeed, the Italian Decree 231/2001, which provides for the “quasi criminal” liability of the company, does not expressly state this possibility (i.e. that of suing for damages as "parte civile" against the company). According to this recent Supreme Court decision, this is to be interpreted as a precise choice of the legislator (and not as a gap of the provisions in this area) who expressly wished to derogate from the general principles of the criminal and procedural law. Therefore, the rules provided for by the section 185 of the criminal code and section 74 of the criminal procedural code for the individuals, can not be applied towards the company.

In conclusion, in the light of the above decision, the parties damaged by the crimes can sue -as “parte civile”- only the individuals, and not directly the company, accused in the same criminal proceeding for the crimes committed by its representatives and/or employees.