The National Bar Council, the representative body of Italian lawyers, has recently issued a "Code of Professional Conduct" which - although does not possess any legal force in itself - represents an authoritative point of reference and a program for the future decisions of the same National Bar Council (at least until the election of a new council!). As a matter of fact, the Code creates a greater degree of certainty in what has traditionally been a confused field, since precise written rules never existed until to date, and the Italian Bar disciplinary system has always been founded uniquely on precedents - a foundation which is quite unusual in European continental legal culture.

To be true, the Code can be criticised in several respects, as for instance where it emphasises (probably through an Anglo-Saxon influence) the ethical obligations towards the Court to the detriment of those towards the client. On the other hand, it is interesting to point out that Art 5.1 now, for the first time, expressly allows an Italian law firm to publicise its areas of specialisation and to provide actual clients and colleagues with information related to its practice and organisation.

In this respect, we can only welcome with satisfaction such definitive confirmation of the legitimacy of our Firm publishing the present Newsletter, which when we started in April 1989 was an isolated an somewhat unusual initiative within the Italian legal community.

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.