The most recent edition of the Nautica e Fisco booklet issued by the Nautical Association Industry and the Revenue Agency covers legal and fiscal developments in the nautical industry, including issues from registration to customs and fiscal matters. In particular, the booklet provides guidelines on exporting a yacht from Italy, value added tax exemptions for the use of yachts in the high seas and the temporary importation regime and refitting services.
Lawmakers recently intervened in matters concerning collecting societies and copyright through the introduction of Decree-Law 148/2017. This new regulatory amendment further weakens the unjustified monopoly of the Italian copyright collecting agency. However, a number of issues concerning the new wording of Article 180 of the Copyright Law remain, which could result in the retention of inadmissible limitations contrary to EU law and the liberalisation of the market being deferred once again.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Cassation consulted its united sections on an important question regarding the specificity of reasons for appeal under Article 342 of the Civil Procedure Code. The question concerned whether the code requires an appellant to specify different content as part of its reason for appeal or provide only a detailed criticism of sections of the appealed decision.
Article 117 of the Insurance Code provides that premiums paid to intermediaries and monies used to settle claims or due by insurers must be kept in separate accounts, the holder of which can be an intermediary that acts expressly in such a capacity. No seizure or distraint of the separate account can be carried out by creditors other than policyholders and insurers. IVASS recently clarified a number of issues in this regard following an investigation into the compliance of intermediaries with said requirements.
The notional interest deduction (NID) regime has been in effect since the 2011 fiscal year. Under this regime, Italian resident companies and permanent establishments of non-resident companies may deduct notional interest from their corporate income taxable base. The NID is calculated according to the equity increase (ie, new equity rate) from the end of the 2010 fiscal year, multiplied by a rate determined annually.
The most recent Italian case law has upheld the European Court of Justice's interpretation of EU Regulation 261/2004 in Wallentin-Hermann and Van der Lans by qualifying a hidden manufacturing defect as an 'extraordinary circumstance' under the meaning of Article 5(3) of the regulation and rejecting passenger claims for compensation under Article 7 of the regulation.
The Italian courts, as well as scholars and legal practitioners, have debated the concept of supervening usury for many years. Until recently, it was unclear whether interest stipulated below the usury threshold at the time of contract, but exceeding such threshold at the time of payment, was usurious. The Supreme Court finally addressed this issue in a recent decision, which ruled out supervening usury entirely.
An employee recently challenged her dismissal, claiming that she had been employed by a cooperative as a cleaner in a healthcare structure under a contract between the two parties. The healthcare structure was subsequently incorporated into another company, which decided to internalise the services performed by the cooperative and terminate the contract between the two parties. The Court of Milan declared the dismissal to be unlawful on the grounds that a transfer of undertaking had occurred.
With developments in three-dimensional printing allowing for the manufacture of building components, the protection of industrial designs and architecture has become of crucial importance for architects, designers and buyers – both private and public. A number of matters should be considered in this regard, including copyright, the reproduction of industrial designs and architectural works and the moral rights of authors.
The Italian International Registry provides a number of substantial fiscal advantages to shipowners. However, the European Commission recently established an EU pilot procedure against Italy to enquire into the nature of the advantages that Italy has made available to ships registered in the registry. The European Commission's message was taken on board and measures are now being discussed to amend national legislation so that it conforms to EU principles.
New business opportunities have emerged following recent changes to the Securitisation Law. Until recently, securitisation special purpose vehicles (SPVs) were prohibited from playing an active role in the management of distressed debts which they purchased in the context of a securitisation transaction. The new rules offer securitisation SPVs a wider set of tools and foster the growth of the market for non-performing loans across various asset classes.
In the recent rescue of two major national banks, the Ministry of Economy and Finance considered the banking sector's traditional measures for an administrative compulsory liquidation to be inadequate and insufficient. As a result, it issued Decree-Law 99, which placed the banks into administrative compulsory liquidation and introduced instruments to manage their financial crisis.
IVASS, the Italian insurance regulator, recently published a consultation document which includes a proposal to amend Regulation 35/2010 on the disclosure duties for proposers and the advertising of insurance products. The consultation document's publication follows the recent approval of EU Regulation 2017/1469 and sets out a standardised presentation format for insurance product information documents.
The Supreme Court of Cassation recently found that a bankruptcy receiver has the right to institute civil and criminal proceedings for liability against company directors, even in relation to unfair preference in a bankruptcy committed through preferential debt payments in violation of the equality of creditors' principle. The court underlined the error in the argument that preferential payment "could cause a decrease of company capital by more than what would occur respecting the principle of the equality of creditors".
The Milan Court of Appeal recently addressed a demurrage claim under a voyage charterparty. The decision dealt with the issue of contract formation and focused on the choice of law provision contained in the charterparty. This case has confirmed that, when so called, the Italian courts are keen and ready to pronounce judgments in line with commercial shipping practice.
The Supreme Court recently issued a decision concerning an employee's dismissal for just cause on the grounds of leaving the workplace without authorisation and conducting his work in a different location. The Supreme Court has repeatedly confirmed that the existence of a just cause for dismissal must be established in relation to the seriousness of the employee's conduct and the proportionality between that conduct and any resulting penalties.
The Supreme Court recently ruled for the first time on the application of an insured's general duty to pay defence costs to prevent or mitigate loss, as set out in Article 1914 of the Civil Code. The court stated that such a duty applies to both first-party and third-party liability insurance, and – more importantly – that in either case it applies to defence costs.
Trademarks were recently removed from the list of IP rights that can benefit from the package of fiscal incentives known as the 'Patent Box'. However, a transitional system has been established for companies that have already exercised the Patent Box's three-year incentive option. This decision strengthens the credibility and therefore the attractiveness of these incentives for investors, but the onerous accounting requirements that must be met for a company to avail of these incentives remain in place.
In a recent decree the Ministry for the Economic Development started the extraordinary administration procedure for Alitalia pursuant to Law 39/2004 and appointed commissioners to lead the company throughout the procedure. The main purpose of the extraordinary administration is to implement a recovery plan meant to preserve employment levels through the financial restructuring of the company, the sale of the business as a whole or the sale of the business, assets and contracts part by part.
A recent decision by the Supreme Court provided an important clarification on punitive damages and public order. The court ruled that damages in tortious and contractual actions seek not only to restore the position of the damaged party as it was before the wrongful action or breach of contract, but also to serve as a punishment and deterrent.