Italian Law Decree No. 207 of 31 December 2008 has postponed new provisions concerning class actions from coming into force in Italy. In particular, the Decree has postponed the instigation of Law 224/2007 from 31 December 2008 until 30 June 2009.
Law 244/2007 (The Finance Act 2008) introduced to the Italian legal system the ability to file a class action. The legislation was intended to protect consumers and end-users, and to bring Italian domestic law into line with the principles laid down under EU law. Under law 244/2007 it will be possible for consumers' associations and other entitled entities (for example user associations and organisations, or committees representing a collective interest) to pursue a claim of damages in cases of alleged infringements against the rights of a number of consumers or end-users.
The decision of the Italian Government to defer Law 244/2007 has meant that consumers and end-users will now have a further wait before they can commence collective legal proceedings. This is the second time that Law 244/2007 has been postponed from coming into force – Law 244/2007 was originally deferred from 28 June 2008 to 31 December 2008 – and this is causing widespread discontent amongst most Italian consumer associations.