Italy – Class action “revolution” takes effect
The new bill on collective redress (Law No.31 of April 12, 2019) was adopted in 2019 and – after several postponements – finally entered into force on May 19, 2021. Although class actions have been available in Italy since 2007, they had not proven success due to the strict eligibility test for class certification.
Thus, the new law can be considered as a real revolution in the field of Italian litigation. It is particularly favorable to applicants because it provides (I) a wider scope and (ii) incentive mechanisms aimed at encouraging the use of the collective redress system.
Let’s see it main innovations of the new law (our previous newsflash available here and here).
- The new class action lawsuit is no longer reserved for consumers and end users, and is open to all kinds of damages claims: now, class actions can be brought for the execution of “homogeneous rights“By any person (including legal entities and in B2B relations) claiming compensation for damages against the”perpetrator of the harmful behavior“.
- The new class action lawsuit provides for a double opt-in window. Applicants can now join the course:
- once the action has been accepted, just before the start of the proceedings on the merits, and also
- up to 5 months after the decision on the merits is issued.
- The new law introduces a monetary reward, if the action is successful, for the lawyer of the main plaintiff and for the “common representative” of style.
The reform involves important critical aspects for companies which must prepare to potentially face a greater number of class actions without certainty as to the number of potential group members (and therefore, as to the potential exposure) and difficulties. increased to achieve early settlements. It is therefore desirable that they adopt internal policies to mitigate the risk of exposure and design new defensive strategies.
November 24, 2020 marks the final approval of the Directive 2020/1828 of the European Parliament and of the Council on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and repealing Directive 2009/22 / EC, regulating the initiation by qualified entities of collective injunction and redress measures through autonomous and cross-border collective actions covering infringements by traders of the provisions of 66 European regulations. The directive obliges EU member states – including Italy – to adapt their collective action and procedural redress mechanism by December 25, 2022, with application from June 25, 2023. It remains to be seen how the implementation of the directive and the new Italian collective redress system will combine.[View source.]