By the so-called Ristori Decree (Law Decree no. 137 of 28 October 2020), the Italian Government enacted further urgent measures for the containment and management of the Covid-19 epidemiological emergency also in the field of justice.
In the context of civil justice, the Ristori Decree sets forth:
i) suspension of garnishments proceedings over “first home” properties until 31 December 2020;
ii) derogation from public hearings (i.e. judges can provide for the hearing to be held behind closed doors to ensure health safety);
iii) subject to the express consent of the parties, hearings on consensual separation and divorce matters can be held in writing (e.g. through exchange of written briefs only);
iv) the possibility for judges to attend hearings by connecting from a place outside the Court office;
v) the possibility for judges to convene in council chambers and adopt collective resolutions through the use of remote connection for all legal purposes;
vi) the application of the emergency provisions provided for civil Courts both in the Ristori Decree and under Article 221 of the so-called Rilancio Decree (Law Decree no. 34 of 19 May 2020, as converted, with amendments, into Law no. 77 of 17 July 2020), to ad hoc arbitration proceedings “insofar as compatible“;
vii) the mandatory filing of all deeds, documents and requests by certified electronic mail to the competent clerk’s office.
Application period: 29 October 2020 – 31 January 2021 (expiry date of the national state of emergency).
In all cases not otherwise regulated by the Ristori Decree, the measures provided by Article 221 of the Rilancio Decree (Law Decree no. 34 of 19 May 2020, as converted, with amendments, into Law no. 77 of 17 July 2020) shall continue to apply, including, among others,
i) the possibility for judges to hold for hearings to be attended only by counsel in writing (i.e. through exchange of written briefs only);
ii) the possibility, upon party’s request, to attend hearings through remote audio-visual connection;
iii) the possibility for judges, subject the preliminary consent of the parties, to hold hearings to be attended only by counsel, parties and/or Court-appointed experts, through videoconference means;
iv) the non-availability of videoconference and written hearings for evidence gathering hearings, e.g. hearings for interview, oath or attendance of witnesses and/or other third parties (other than Court appointed experts).
Application period: until 31 December 2020.
In consideration of the ongoing ever-changing evolution of the Covid-19 emergency, it can be anticipated that further developments and amendments could occur to the above-mentioned measures. Updates will be periodically provided.