In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Cassation consulted its united sections on an important question regarding the specificity of reasons for appeal under Article 342 of the Civil Procedure Code.(1)

Decision

With decision 8845/2017, the Third Section of the Supreme Court of Cassation asked the court's first president to consult the united sections on an important question.

The question concerned whether Article 342 of the code requires an appellant to specify different content as part of its reason for appeal or provide only a detailed criticism of sections of the appealed decision.

Comment

Following the reform of the appeal procedure under Article 53 of Legislative Decree 83/2012, reasons for appeal must be specific. In particular, Article 342 of the Civil Procedure Code states that:

"valid reasons for appeal must contain:

1. an indication of the sections of the decision which are appealed and the changes that are proposed to the factual recreation made by the judge of first instance;

2. an indication of the circumstances from which the violation of law depends and of their relevance with regard to the appealed decision."

However, court interpretations of this rule have not been uniform. On the one hand, some decisions have rejected the argument that Article 342 of the code requires the appellant's reasons for appeal be provided in specific form and have instead found that the rule requires only the identification of the specific sections of the decision being appealed and an explanation expressing the reasons for dissent.

On the other hand, other court decisions have interpreted the rule in a more rigorous way, requiring appellants to provide more in-depth details. For example, it has been argued that an appeal must indicate a different dispute resolution procedure to the decision appealed.(2)

According to this viewpoint, the appellant's arguments must be different to those set out in the original decision in order to create doubt that the foundation of the decision being appealed is incorrect.

Further, it has been argued that the appeal must contain both 'wilful' and 'argumentative' parts, in which the first-instance judgment is contested.

Given the conflict between different decisions and the importance of the appeals procedure in relation to the protection of rights, the Supreme Court of Cassation decided to consult its united sections in order to obtain a clarification on the interpretation of the rule.

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For further information on this topic please contact Costanza Mariconda at Mariconda e Associati by telephone (+39 02 795 212) or email (costanza.mariconda@studiomariconda.com). The Mariconda e Associati website can be accessed at www.studiomariconda.com.

Endnotes

(1) Supreme Court of Cassation, Section III, Decision of April 5 2017, 8845.

(2) Supreme Court of Cassation, Decision of September 7 2016, 17712; Decision of September 27 2016, 18392.