The Law of June 3, 1995, no. 218, has created significant changes in the rules according to which jurisdiction is determined in Italy.
Previous law (now-abrogated Article 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure) invalidated any attempt to avoid Italian jurisdiction, and thus a choice of forum or arbitration clause selecting a forum outside of Italy could not bind an Italian resident. Article 4.2 of Law 218/1995 reverses this and allows parties otherwise subject to Italian jurisdiction to choose a court or arbitration outside of Italy as forum for the resolution of any disputes.
Previous law (now-abrogated Article 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure) allowed Italian courts to disregard foreign legal proceedings. Article 7.1 of Law 218/1995 reverses this, and orders Italian courts to suspend proceedings whenever a case is pending abroad before the same parties, filed before the Italian proceedings, on the same subject matter, which may have effect for the Italian court. Suspension is also permitted when the outcome of the foreign case would create a legally effective presupposition for that of the Italian case (Art. 7.3, 218/1995).
Law 218/1995 also incorporates significant parts of the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters, signed at Brussels on September 27, 1968, into national law (see Art. 3.2, 218/1995). As a result, jurisdiction for contracts will exist in the court for the place of performance (Art. 5.1, Brussels Convention) and jurisdiction for torts and "delicit or quasi-delicit" acts will exist in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred (Art. 5.3, Brussels Convention). Special jurisdictional principles also exist for consumers and the holders of insurance policies (see sections 3 and 4, Brussels Convention).
Law 218/1995 entered into force on September 1, 1995.
The content of this article is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. It does not substitute the advice of legal counsel.