During the last decades, Italy has encouraged companies and individual to resolve their disputes through alternative disputes resolution methods, instead of opting for claiming their rights before Courts.
More specifically, regarding the arbitration, the Italian Civil Procedure Code provides that the parties to a contract may decide that any dispute arising out or in connection which such contract shall be resolved by arbitration, unless otherwise stated by the law.
Furthermore, it is also stated that, whereas a dispute has already taken place, the parties involved can enter into an arbitration agreement. Such agreement may also be signed with reference to any possible dispute arising from non-contractual matter, provided that it is clearly indicated from which relations such disputes may arise.
In both of cases, the arbitration agreement and the arbitration clause must be in writing and shall clearly indicate the matter of the dispute.
The parties can also agree on:
– the law applicable to the merits of the dispute;
– the seat of the arbitration;
– the language of the arbitration.
These elements of utmost importance in case the dispute involves parties with different nationalities or legal seats as well as in case where a relevant part of the agreement must be performed in a foreign country.
The parties shall choose one single arbitrator or an arbitration committee that shall be composed of an odd number of members. To this regard, the parties shall expressly indicate either the member’s number or the method to appoint them. The award is taken based on the majority principle and has the same value as of a Court’s decision.
The party who intends to enforce the award shall submit it, together with the agreement that prove the parties’ choice of resolving the disputes by means of arbitration, before the competent Court. Such Court, after having ascertained the formal validity of the award will declare it as executory by issuing a decree. Against the decree that reject or recognize the request of enforceability of the award, the interested party may appeal at the competent Court of Appeal.
Resolving disputes through alternative methods is still quite uncommon in Italy, but the volume of cases brought to the attention of arbitrators is increasing, thanks to the rapidity and effectiveness of this procedure.