In Italy, a debtor should pay an invoice within 30 days which is actually shorter than other EU countries (60 days). However companies in Italy do not usually follow this rule with the public sector taking up to a year to pay. As a result, collecting debts in Italy are more difficult than for example the UK or USA.

To collect a debt in Italy it is recommended that a company (or individual) instructs an Italian debt collection firm. Giambrone have been collecting debts successfully for over 10 years and are able to settle a debt both outside of court and through court proceedings. Giambrone will always try to collect debts with minimal input by the courts.

What steps will Giambrone's Italian debt collection Lawyers take to recover a debt?

The first step Giambrone's Italian debt collection lawyers take to collect an Italian debt is to (informally) demand repayment of the debt, which usually involves a telephone call from the law firm. If informal means do not result in the debt being paid then an out-of-court notice in the form of a formal injunction letter (lettera di messa in mora) on Giambrone headed paper will be served to the debtor by registered post. This letter sent by Giambrone, formally requests payment, including principal, accrued interest and late interest, calculated in line with the Legislative Decree 231/2002, plus legal fees. The debtor will then have between 1 to 2 weeks to make payment.

What if the Debtor doesn't pay?

If the debtor doesn't pay then a deed of injunction (atto di significazione) is served by a court bailiff (ufficiale giudiziario), warning that if payment is not made within 10 days of the notification date, then formal court proceedings will commence. However it is worth noting that this is still an out-of-court notice although it is issued by a court bailiff. If payment is still not made after the time period has expired then Giambrone's Italian debt collection lawyers will request their client to supply all relevant documents relating to the outstanding debt, including the delivery receipts and/or a certified excerpt of the creditor's VAT register (registro IVA vendite). After this, Giambrone's Italian debt collection lawyers will file a petition with the judicial authority (i.e., the Tribunale / Giudice di Pace), requesting an injunction decree (decreto ingiuntivo).

Giambrone Will Commence Formal Court Proceedings

The Italian court will then issue a decree ordering the debtor to pay the debt, including all interest and legal fees owed, within 40 days from the date the decree is served. The special proceeding is regulated by articles 633 - 656 of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure. Within this 40 day period the debtor is also allowed to file opposition to this decree.

How to start enforcement proceeding in Italy?

Actual enforcement proceeding begin by the serving of a deed of enforcement (atto di precetto), and are regulated by article 480 following the Italian Code of Civil Procedure.

If the debt is not paid or no defence filed then to start Actual Enforcement proceedings in Italy, an injunction decree, formally requesting the enforceable (formula esecutiva) decree, is filed with the Court. A separate decree, recorded on the original injunction decree, will then declare the latter formally enforceable by the judicial authority. Fees and expenses up to the date when the deed of enforcement is notified to the debtor are then also calculated and added.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.