A recent decision issued by Italian Supreme Court (No. 17159 of 26 June 2019, Italian text available here) gives me the chance to make brief comments on the scope of possible review on the merits of arbitration awards by Italian State Courts seised in proceedings for setting them aside.
The Italian Supreme Court has recently upheld its doctrine on the circulation of the arbitration clause in case of credit assignment (Italian Supreme Court, First Civil Chamber, decision No. 16127 of 14 June 2019, Italian text available here).
I have already examined this topic (in this post); nonetheless, in the light of its relevance, I believe that it is worth re-examining it.
If the Arbitral Tribunal issued a partial award on jurisdiction, should the parties immediately request its setting aside or may they await the issuance of the final award? A recent decision of the Italian Supreme Court sitting en banc (decision no. 23463 of 18 November 2016, Italian text available here) maintains that the request for setting aside of such a partial award shall be filed together with the request for setting aside of the final award.
Italian Arbitration Law, as amended in 2006, expressly provides for the parties to enter into an arbitration clause concerning their possible tort disputes. Indeed, Article 808(b) of Italian Code of Civil Procedure, as enacted by 2006 reform, sets forth that "The parties may establish, in a specific agreement, that future disputes relating to one or more specific non-contractual relations be decided by arbitrators (…)."
There are only a few reported cases concerning Article 808(b) of Italian Code of Civil Procedure, and therefore it appears that that tool is rarely used. Nonetheless, it could be very helpful: for instance, in the case of related actions, it could prevent the doctrine of "parallel paths" from applying.
A recent decision of the Italian Supreme Court (Supreme Court, VI Civil Chamber, decision no. 20673 of 13 October 2016, Italian text available here) deals with that matter. As far as I know, it is the first decision issued by the Italian Supreme Court concerning the construction of Article 808(b) of Italian Code of Civil Procedure.
The Supreme Court sitting en banc unified the case law on the issue of the review on the merits of an award, rendered pursuant to an arbitration clause stipulated before the 2006 reform of Italian arbitration law, in proceedings commenced after that reform (decisions nos. 9284 – Italian text available here – 9285 – Italian text available here – and 9341 – Italian text available here – of 9 May 2016).
The Supreme Court addressed the arbitrability of disputes between companies and directors concerning the directors’ remuneration (decision no. 2759 of 11 February 2016 of the I Civil Chamber, Italian text available here).
The relationship between arbitration and judicial proceedings was the topic of a ruling of the Italian Supreme Court (order no. 783 of 19 January 2016 of the III Civil Chamber, Italian text available here). In this ruling, the Supreme Court came to the right conclusion that it is not allowed to order the stay of proceedings pending before a Court while awaiting the decision in proceedings pending before an Arbitral Tribunal. However, the Supreme Court’s reasoning is not entirely correct. This is the reason why I would like to briefly discuss its ruling.
I find interesting a recent ruling of the Italian Supreme Court (order no. 1119 of 21 January 2016, VI Civil Chamber, Italian text available here), which dealt with the issue of arbitrability. In fact, the Supreme Court’s reasoning in that case (concerning the extent of disputes which may be referred to common arbitration) differs from the reasoning of Supreme Court in cases of corporate arbitration.
This is the third time in row we deal with the issue of the review on the merits of an arbitration award, rendered pursuant to an arbitration clause stipulated before the 2006 reform of Italian arbitration law, in proceedings commenced after the reform.
The Supreme Court recently ruled on an interesting matter. The case dealt with the consequences of the prohibition to undertake or continue economic transactions with a sovereign State (a State under embargo), with respect to an arbitration clause stipulated in an agreement previously entered into with the embargoed State.
The Italian full text of decision no. 23893 of the Supreme Court sitting en banc of 24 November 2015 is available here.