Roberto Oliva

The Supreme Court sitting en banc (decision no. 13722 of 6 July 2016, Italian text available here) resolved the question of law (previously discussed in this post) concerning the relationship between arbitration and the limitation period provided for by a specific statute of limitations, that is to say by Article 2527(2) of Italian Civil Code (Article 2533(3) of Italian Civil Code currently in force).

The Supreme Court sitting en banc upheld the position of the First Civil Chamber (which had however referred the matter to the Court sitting en banc) and stated the following doctrine: “the limitation period of thirty days for the challenge of the exclusion from a cooperative company (as per Article 2527(3) of Italian Civil Code in force prior to its reform made by Article 8 of Legislative Decree no. 6 of 2003) applies also if the Articles of Association of the cooperative company contain an arbitration clause.” 

In other words, the Supreme Court sitting en banc confirmed the jurisdictional nature of arbitration under Italian law and stated that “the request for arbitration is equated by law to the summons to a Court hearing, also as far as statute of limitations and transcription of the claim are concerned.  Therefore and conversely, the summons to a Court (that is to say, the document instituting the proceedings in Court) is also equated to the request for arbitration.” 

This is a little bit of good news, particularly in the light of the disfavour for arbitration – and its (erroneous) classification as a “private” and non-jurisdictional mechanism of dispute resolution – which occasionally comes out in certain decisions of State Courts.

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