Comparative Guides

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4. Results: Answers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
Enforcing the foreign judgment
Once a declaration of enforceability has been granted, how can the foreign judgment be enforced?

Answer ... In the Italian legal system, once a declaration of enforceability has been granted, the creditor may start enforcement proceedings in accordance with Articles 474 and following of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure.

The creditor begins by serving on the debtor an enforceable copy of the judgment, along with a writ of payment.

Ten days after service of the writ of payment, the creditor may commence enforcement proceedings against the debtor before the competent court.

Enforcement proceedings start with the attachment of the debtor’s assets in the 90 days following service of the writ of payment. A bailiff is usually involved in this activity.

The following types of assets can be attached:

  • movable property (including shares and other forms of equity participation in an enterprise);
  • immovable property;
  • receivables; and
  • movable property of the debtor kept by third parties.

The formalities to attach and expropriate the debtor’s assets may vary depending on the type of assets at stake. In broad terms, following attachment of the debtor’s assets, a complex procedure conducted by the court leads to the debtor’s assets being sold or assigned to the creditor and the proceeds being distributed. Other creditors may join the proceedings. The debtor may appear before the court and challenge the regularity of the procedure.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matilde Rota from Studio Legale Withers
Can the foreign judgment be enforced against third parties?

Answer ... In principle (and with limited exceptions), a judgment can be enforced only against the losing party and that party’s heirs or successors.

However, some types of enforcement proceedings involve third parties, such as expropriation of the debtor’s receivables and expropriation of jointly owned property.

Moreover, the Italian Code of Civil Procedure provides for a special procedure to attach and expropriate a third party’s assets against the respective owner. This is the case, for example, where a mortgage has been given to secure another person’s debt or where the creditor has successfully claimed that a transaction between the debtor and a third party has been declared ineffective.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matilde Rota from Studio Legale Withers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments