We would draw your attention to some new aspects regarding civil proceedings, introduced by Law No. 27 of April 24, 2020, definitive version of the “Cura Italia” Law Decree, as amended and approved by the Italian Parliament.

Subsidiary bodies of the Court/Assistants to the Judge (art. 83 paragraph 7 sub-paragraphs f and h-bis)

As regards civil hearings, the occasions when video conference systems can be used have been broadened.

Indeed, whereas the previous wording of Article 83 of the Law Decree No. 18/2020 provided that civil hearings could be held via remote link, i.e. using video conferencing only where the presence of persons other than parties and their counsel was not required, the new version provides for certain modes of conducting hearings and, also, makes reference to such civil hearings where the presence of assistants to the judge is required, even if such a presence relates to obtaining information from the Public Administration.

Further novelties relate to the possibility for assistants to the judge to conduct their work through the use of remote links i.e. the use of video conference systems, where this can guarantee the debate between the parties and their effective involvement.

Power of attorney (art. 83 paragraph 20-ter)

Until the termination of the distancing measures as laid down by the emergency legislation with reference to the prevention of the COVID-19 infection, the signature of powers of attorney in civil proceedings may be allowed on a paper document that may be sent to the attorney even in the form of a computerised image (scan or photograph), together with a copy of a valid identity document; as well as by means of electronic communication tools. Any tool may be used as no particular tool is specified. In this case, the attorney certifies the authenticity of said document by placing his/her own digital signature on the computerised copy of the power of attorney.

The power of attorney is deemed placed at the foot of the document, pursuant to Article 83 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, if it is joined to the document it makes reference to by means of electronic instruments (as identified by Decree of the Ministry of Justice).

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution processes (art. 83 paragraph 20)

The time limits for carrying out any activity in mediation proceedings, assisted negotiations or other alternative dispute resolution proceedings are suspended from 9 March to 15 April 2020. The time limits for said activities therefore remain suspended where such proceedings were instituted or already pending during the period 9 March to 15 April 2020.

The time limits for the maximum duration of such proceedings are consequently suspended.

Mediation process and video conference (art. 83 paragraph 20-bis)

During the period 9 March through to 30 June 2020 mediation meetings, in any event, may be held via telematic means with the prior consent of all parties involved.

Even after that period meetings can be held electronically (for example, by means of video conference systems) with the prior consent of all parties involved, as provided by Article 3, paragraph 4 of the Law Decree no. 28 of 4 March 2010. In the event of a telematic procedure, the attorney who signs using his/her digital signature may declare the endorsement of his/her client’s hand-written signature  who is connected remotely by affixing said digital signature on the minute and in the conciliation agreement.

The minute relating to the mediation proceedings which are held in telematic mode will be signed by the mediator and the parties’ attorneys by means of a digital signature for the purposes of enforceability of the agreement as provided by Article 12 of the Law Decree No. 28 of 4 March 2010.

Decisions of panels in civil and criminal proceedings (Art. 83 paragraph 12-quinques)

From 9 March through to 30 June 2020, in so far as non-suspended civil and criminal proceedings are concerned, decisions of panels in Chambers will be made through remote links by means of automated information systems as identified and regulated by the Director General of the Ministry of Justice.

The location from which the judges are to link up shall be deemed to be Chamber for all effects of the law.

Finally, the optional use of electronic proceedings is also provided for civil proceedings before the Supreme Court, until 30 June 2020, (see Article 83 paragraph 11-bis).


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