Answer ... Italy has implemented Directive 2014/104/EU concerning actions for damages for infringements of competition law by means of Legislative Decree 3/2017. Claims, which are of a tortious nature, may be brought by any natural or legal person that has suffered loss due to an infringement of national competition law or Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Save for the adaptations required under Legislative Decree 3/2017, actions follow the standard procedure in civil courts.
The competent courts with exclusive jurisdiction in Italy over actions for antitrust damages are the specialised business courts of Milan, Rome and Naples.
Although it was delivered in the context of an alleged abuse of dominant position, Supreme Court Judgment 11564/2015 has played an important role in reducing the burden of proof on claimants bringing standalone actions, even before the implementation of Directive 2014/104/EU. The court held that national courts must order full disclosure by the defendant in case of incomplete submission of evidence by the plaintiff, where there is a plausible indication of an antitrust infringement.
Answer ... Only against companies; but see question 6.2.
Since 2010, consumers have been able to bring class actions for damages suffered as a result of certain breaches of contract or torts on the basis of Article 140-bis of the Consumer Code. In particular, class actions may be brought by individual users or consumers that have suffered damage due to the conduct of the defendant, provided that they can claim ‘homogenous’ rights.
National consumer associations, committees and representative entities have standing only if they have received a specific mandate from members of the class.
Despite attempts by the government to improve their effectiveness, class actions have not been widely used in Italy: fewer than 100 have been commenced so far and many of these were rejected for not meeting the admissibility requirements.
However, new legislation which will come into force on 19 April 2020 (Law 31/2019) should make it easier for claimants to fulfil the admissibility requirements. This is expected to become a key tool for claiming damages in several areas and on behalf of a wide range of classes.
Answer ... Private enforcement actions generally follow the procedures for civil litigation. However, Legislative Decree 3/2017 introduced several specific provisions aimed at helping the plaintiff to discharge its burden of proof. Class actions are regulated by a specific procedure.
Answer ... Three types of measures may be sought in civil litigation:
- an award of damages, to compensate for loss suffered by a victim of the cartel;
- a declaration that annuls an agreement for being anti-competitive; and
- a declaration that an agreement is not anti-competitive.
The second and third remedies are less common in cartel cases.
Answer ... The judgment in a private enforcement case can be appealed according to the ordinary rules of civil procedure, either within 30 days of service of the judgment or within six months of publication.