It is unsurprising that business relationships are facing unprecedented hurdles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the declaration of the state of emergency in 2020, the government has enacted a series of restrictions, and issued different provisions, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article focuses on case law and the courts' approaches towards the force majeure and hardship principles in contract law within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Third-party litigation funding is essentially unknown under Italian law. For instance, Italian contract law does not regulate litigation funding agreements and there is little case law on the matter. However, Italian law includes no mandatory rules or public policy principles that expressly preclude third-party funding. Therefore, it is likely to become an increasingly attractive litigation feature under Italian law, especially considering the national provisions governing the allocation of litigation costs.
Creditors taking legal action before the Italian courts to secure payment against their debtors have long regarded this as a nightmare option due to the length and complexity of Italian civil proceedings. However, recently introduced legislation may render this nightmare a dream, as claimants bringing actions for payment are now entitled to a premium interest rate equal to that available in respect of late payments in commercial transactions under the relevant EU legislation.
In recent years, an intense debate has taken place regarding the appropriateness and benefits of establishing specialised international commercial courts. This article presents the Italian (pre-Brexit) reform, which established specialised commercial courts with jurisdiction over cases brought against foreign defendants with a view to attracting foreign investments and businesses by assigning the adjudication of disputes in which they are involved to a limited number of highly specialised courts.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government adopted a severe lockdown policy, including suspending all court proceedings and related deadlines in civil and commercial matters. As of 18 May 2020, the government moved to Phase 2, which means that litigation in civil and commercial matters can now resume. However, as with other activities, court litigation requires special measures to ensure social distancing in the courts' premises and judicial offices.