Stare decisis?

Italian legal system is a civil law system: as a consequence, stare decisis doctrine does not apply in Italy.

However, it is well known that civil and common law systems have become closer to each other during the last decades.  On the one hand, from the point of view of common law systems, due to the increasing body of statutory law; on the other hand, from the point of view of civil law systems, because of the increasingly important role played by jurisprudential precedents (on this topic, see the interesting book edited by MacCormick and Summers, Interpreting precedents: a comparative study, also containing papers by the Italian learned scholar Michele Taruffo).

In this perspective, it is worth reading a recent decision of the Italian Supreme Court (Third Civil Chamber, decision No. 24649 of 3 October 2019, Italian text available here). Despite this decision does not concern arbitration matters, I found it very interesting and for this reason, I would like to briefly comment it.

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Bankruptcy receiver’s claims

A recent decision issued by the Italian Supreme Court (Italian Supreme Court, I Civil Chamber, decision No. 24444 of 30 September 2019, Italian text available here) concerns the Arbitral Tribunals’ jurisdiction over claims raised by the bankruptcy receiver.

I consider this topic of great interest: I already examined it in the past (for example in this post) and in a few days it will be discussed during a debate organised by Milan Arbitration Chamber.

The said decision is also interesting because it summarised the general principles of the matter and applied them to a very peculiar case that had not been heard in previous reported judgments.  This peculiar case is the claim that the bankruptcy receiver may raise under Article 150 of Italian bankruptcy law currently in force: the receiver is entitled to request the Court to issue an order for payment (under Italian law, an ex parte order) towards the shareholders of the bankrupt company with respect to the overdue capital contribution.

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Arbitration clause and general terms and conditions

A recent decision issued by the Italian Supreme Court (decision No. 20078 of 24 July 2019, Italian text available here) addresses the issue of the wording of an arbitration clause contained in general terms and conditions.

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Review on the merits

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.

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Assignment of credit and arbitration clause

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.

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Setting aside of a partial award

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.

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Arbitration and tort claims

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.

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Review on the merits

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).

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Arbitration and directors’ remuneration

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).

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Relationship between arbitration and judicial proceedings

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.

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