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Enforcing Judgments of the Courts of England and Wales in Italian Courts from January 2021

posted 3 years ago

Now the Brexit transition period is over any judgement in an English court which needs to be enforced in Italy is now treated as a foreign judgment. In order to enforce a foreign judgement, an application will need to be made to the Italian Court of Appeal. If your application is not contested, then after 30 days, enforcement proceedings can start. There is no limitation period for enforcement.

Various different types of judgements can be enforced. You can enforce foreign money judgments or awards, declaratory judgments, injunctions, default judgments, enforcement orders and attachment orders amongst others in Italy. Whilst an EU judgment in another EU country can be enforced by filing a copy of the judgment and a certificate from the court where the judgment was issued based on the Recast Brussels Regulation. Non-EU judgements are subject to different regulations. 

The enforcement of domestic judgments is governed by the Italian Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). Article 282 states that first instance judgments are provisionally enforceable between the parties to the proceedings and this is the general principle of enforceability of a first instance judgment (starting from the publication of the judgment).

However, the enforcement of non-EU judgments is governed by the Italian International Private Law (Law 218/1995), which makes provision to recognise a foreign judgment which complies with the requirements of the Italian judicial system.

In order to be enforceable in Italy, a non-EU judgment, must be final and legalised by an apostille. This applies to all countries party to the HCCH Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents 1961 (Apostille Convention).

Under Italian law, there is a legal distinction between the recognition and enforcement of a judgment: recognition makes the foreign judgment effective in the Italian legal system, whereas enforcement meets in practical terms the requirements of the party that wishes to rely the Italian courts for enforcement purposes.

The main conditions required in order to enforce a foreign judgment are as follows:

  • The original court must have jurisdiction;
  • The defendant had proper notice of the proceedings;
  • There is no incompatibility with public policy;
  • No conflicting domestic or foreign judgment exists;
  • The judgment is final as to its effects.

Enforcement proceedings are adversarial. First instance judgments are provisionally enforceable on publication. The declaration of enforceability is granted in a very short time (usually one week). The limitation period for enforcing a domestic judgment is ten years. To enter a case on the court docket there is a small charge.

Domestic Judgments

The following types of judgments are enforceable:

  • Money judgments/awards. 
  • Judgments ordering or prohibiting the doing of acts/injunctions. 
  • Declaratory judgments, provided that they have final and conclusive effect (res judicata).
  • Default judgments.
  • The following judgments made without notice (ex parte)/awards: 
  • ex parte order for payment (Articles 642 and 648, Civil Procedure Code (CPC)); 
  • notice to vacate or notice of eviction related to overdue payment under a lease contract (Articles 657 et seq, CPC). 

The enforcement of the domestic judgments meeting the requirements provided under Italian law cannot be excluded.

Excluded Judgments 

The following types of judgments are excluded:

  • Decisions that are not final. 
  • Acts or judicial decisions not declared by law to be “enforceable” (formal condition). 
  • Judgments where the content of the decision does not refer to a claim that is “certain, determined in its amount and overdue” (substantive condition). 
  • Preliminary/provisional orders. (A provisional decision can be enforceable provided that it is considered to be enforceable by law.) 

Enforceable Foreign Judgments

The following are enforceable in Italy, if they are enforceable according to the place of issue or delivery:

  • Money judgments/awards.
  • Non-EU money judgments/awards if they are final and have conclusive effect (res judicata).
  • Judgments ordering or prohibiting the doing of acts/injunctions.
  • Non-EU judgments ordering or prohibiting the doing of acts/injunctions if they are final and have conclusive effect.
  • Declaratory judgments. 
  • Non-EU declaratory judgments if they are final and have conclusive effect.
  • Default judgments. 
  • Non-EU default judgments if they are final and have conclusive effect.
  • Judgments made without notice (ex parte)/awards. 
  • Non-EU ex parte judgments/awards are enforceable in Italy if they are final and binding (Article 64, Italian International Private Law 218/1995). 
  • Foreign decisions granting provisional measures (only EU decisions granting provisional measures are enforceable).
  • Foreign enforcement orders/(pre-judgment) attachment orders/awards if enforceable in the issuing member state.
  • Non-EU orders are enforceable in Italy if they are final and binding (Article 64, Italian International Private Law 218/1995). 

Other judgments

The following decisions are enforceable in Italy:

  • European order for payment under Regulation (EC) 1896/2006 creating a European order for payment procedure; and 
  • European enforcement order for undisputed claims under Regulation (EC) 805/2004 creating a European enforcement order for uncontested claims.

Excluded Judgments 

The following are excluded:

  • Final decisions. EU judgments must be enforceable according to the law of the place of issue or delivery. 
  • For non-EU judgments, decisions that are not final and do not have conclusive effect are not enforceable.
  • Preliminary/provisional orders. EU preliminary/provisional orders are recognised and enforceable in Italy only if they are enforceable in the country of issue. 
  • Non-EU preliminary/provisional orders.

For more information about the enforcement of judgments in Italy please click here


posted 6 days ago


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