In Italy there is common saying when anyone earn a lot of money: he probably inherited from his American uncle !In the common practice it can often happen on the contrary. There a lot of Americans or Australians who had distant relatives in Italy without any other heirs except them.

What should the lucky American do in this case?

1) check the Italian estate in the public registry

2) check if there is a will left to a Notary to be published.

3) check if there are bank accounts payble to the deceased

In Italy it si not common to have an executor or an administrator of the deceased’s estate. It happened only in few cases regulated by the law.

Anyone interested generally, instead, can draft a public form and make a statement called “dichiarazione di successione” to be sent to the public registry for pay the inheritance taxes, cash money and transfer the property of the real estate.

How can anyone living in Usa, Australia or in other country far from Italy, manage all these issues and cash the inheritance without moving from home?

The best way is to appoint an Italian lawyer and give him a general power of attorney (Procura generale per atti successori). This document can be signed in front of a Italian Authority (Consulate, Embassy) and allowed tha lawyer appointed in Italy to make all the necessary like

  • POWER OF ADMINISTRATION – Make any act of administration, with full powers, including: a) Have access to any safe deposit box that I might own, including its contents , get licenses, assets and money, either as interests or as capital and any other means, give a receipt, remit any guarantee against payment of the guaranteed debt; b) Open, maintain or close bank accounts (including, but not limited to, checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit), brokerage accounts, and other similar accounts with financial institutions. c) rent any safe deposit box, exercise all relating rights, d) Sell, exchange, buy, invest, or reinvest securities, equities and bonds and securities listed on any stock exchange, e) Convey, lease, mortgage, manage, insure, improve, repair, or perform any other act with respect to any of my property (now owned or later acquired) including, but not limited to, real estate and real estate rights, all the terms and conditions that the prosecutor considers appropriate, f) attend at meetings of companies, associations and unions, exercising any concerning right include voting and signing the statements g) represent me before insurance companies, take out, sign and/or maintain insurance policies or give notice of termination of them, h) represent me before all public authorities and in particular before the administration of Post and all tax offices. Make applications, pay taxes, make judicial and administrative complaints and claims.. Ask for deferrment of payment, guarantee the refund of loan and allow any registration on the land registry including any entries and/or charges. ;
  • MAKE DISPOSITIONS a) purchase, sell and exchange properties vessels, companies, stocks and bonds, even unlisted, moveable property, material and incorporeal, without exception, credits of any kind, inheritance rights and in general any assets, fixing the prices , establishing covenants and conditions which the agent deems appropriate; cash money and chequees , give receipts, exempt from the registration of the loan, even if compulsory b) redeem mortgages, guarantees and in general securities, even without the payment of the debt secured, allow to subrogate.
  • MAKE DIVISION OF PROPERTIES- make calculations, liquidations, divisions, whether settled or judicially; accept lots on behalf of the client, with or without adjustment, exempt from the registration of the loan, even if compulsory
  • LEGAL ACTION Take legal action – represent the client in court, either as an actor or as a defendant, appoint attorneys and lawyers, claim acts of procedure and enforcement measures, settle the case.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS -For purposes of the above, approve and sign papers and documents, make applications to record in public registries, make declarations on taxes, under the law 02/28/1985 n. 47 and subsequent amendments , on agent’s tax regulations; take up residences in a place, be substitute by others and generally do all it is thought necessary.

Once signed this documents the lucky American can sleep between two pillows and wait for cash money from Italy (all the taxes will be paid in Italy by the attorney).

Avv. Carlo Bottino – Lawyer in Milan – Founder of Angloitalianlaw

Published also…ur-italian-uncle/



The UK has now implemented a points-based immigration system for the EU citizens. The new rules will  generally apply to all applications made from 1 December 2020, including for EU nationals who are not already living, working or studying in the UK before the end of 2020 (and cannot use the settlement/pre-settlement rules to continue to reside in the UK). We will write a separate article/ legal briefing in relation to the settlement /pre-settlement and the assistance we can offer.

The points-based system is not the only route available for workers to legally work in the UK going forward and the most suitable immigration route will depend on the role being carried out, its duration and who the employing entity will be. For example, the new Frontier Worker Permit will allow those who currently commute to work in the UK to continue to do so (provided they meet the eligibility criteria) and the Business Visitor route still allows limited activities to be carried out by a non-UK resident including attending board meetings, signing contracts or undertaking a site visit.

However, summarised below are the key points which are of most relevance to Italian citizens looking to work, study or do business in the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards under the new points-based rules.

Skilled workers

Individuals coming to the UK to work from 1 January 2021, need to demonstrate that they meet a specific set of criteria for which they will be awarded points. Assuming they pass the criminality checks, a total of 70 points will be required.

Below we have listed the three mandatory requirements which together will earn the applicant 50 points. These are:

·         the applicant must have a job offer from an approved sponsor;

·         the job must be at or above the minimum skill level (now reduced to A level or equivalent); and

·         the applicant must meet the English language requirements.

The other 20 points required can be earned in a more flexible way,  these are called “tradeable points”.

If a role attracts a salary of (the higher of) £25,600 or the “going rate” then the applicant is awarded the full 20 points. Applicants who earn less than this but at least £20,480 can make up the points needed if they have a job offer in a designated shortage occupation (ie those roles deemed to be in short supply and set out on the pre-approve shortage occupation list) or a PhD qualification relevant to the role.

There is a discount to the “going rate”  available for “new entrants” at the start of their careers but they must still earn at least £20,480. The UK government will be able to widen the number of attributes that earn tradeable points. However, the mandatory requirements will not be tradeable.

Intra-company transfer

Applicants do not need to meet any English language requirements but must satisfy the following criteria:

·         they must meet a minimum skills requirement (note this is higher than the skilled worker route and remains at degree level)

·         they must meet a minimum salary requirement (either £41,500 or the “going rate”, whichever is the higher); an

·         they must have been employed in the overseas linked business for at least 12 months prior to the date of transfer unless they earn over £73,900.

Applicants will be allowed to hold Intra-Company Transfer leave for up to five years in any six-year rolling period or up to nine years in any 10-year period for high earners.

The Global Talent route:

The Global Talent route has opened to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EU citizens. This means the most highly skilled, who can achieve the required level of points, will be able to enter the UK without a job offer if they are endorsed by a recognised UK body, as approved by the Home Office.

This route is designed to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. Top scientists and researchers can benefit from a quicker endorsement process as part of a fast track STEM scheme.

As of January 2021, the current list of approved endorsing bodies is as follows:

The Royal Society, for science and medicine

The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering

The British Academy, for humanities

UK Research and Innovation, for science and research

Tech Nation, for digital technology

Arts Council England, for arts and culture

Further information

There are a number of other changes being made to try to streamline and simplify the system which will be welcomed by businesses and applicants alike. Please contact us if you would like further information on any of the issues raised.

Avv. Carlo Bottino

Founder of Angloitalianlaw

If after the second letter before action there is still no response and the debtor still doesn’t pay, then the judicial phase begins. At this point the claimant needs to be certain of the debtor’s ability to pay the debts it owes, therefore some investigation is required as to the financial status of the debtor.

Where the debt is undisputed the claimant can follow a fast track procedure to obtain payment, with minimum involvement from the courts. The claimant needs to prove that the debt is undisputed and can request an injunction from the court, which works to prevent the debtor from disposing from his assets. This request of an injunction is perhaps similar to the drafting of the particulars of claim in England. The Italian Civil Code sets out the details required to be drafted in the text of the injunction, similar to the English Civil Procedure Rules. After this, the debtor has 40 days in which to respond or pay. Upon being served with the claim in England & Wales, the defendant has 28 days in which to respond or defend.

In certain cases, set out in the Civil Code, rather than having 40 days in which to pay or respond to the injunction, the debtor must pay immediately. These are e.g., the payment of rent, condominium expenses, child maintenance payments, requests from the Italian social security agency for social security contributions, and utilities’ bills payments.

Where the deadline for payment (either within 40 days or immediately) has not been respected by the debtor, the claimant can commence executive, or enforcement proceedings, by way of executive order so the debtor has his assets removed from him by force. The claimant applies for an act of precept which allows a bailiff, within 10 days of notification of the order to the debtor, to repossess the assets. Immovable and moveable property can be repossessed as well as assets from a third party.

Avvocato Carlo Bottino

Avvocato Stabilito Ella Connolly – Solicitor of England and Wales

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How to start a debt collection in Italy

  • Contact an Italian lawyer (Avvocato)
  • Give the Italian lawyer (Avvocato) Information on the case

– value of the debt

– Is the debtor a company or an individual?

– is the debt originated by a commercial transaction, is there any unpaid invoices?

– have you already tried to contact the debtor; does he recognize the figure he owes you in written?


  • Send to the lawyer (Avvocato) all the documents to retain him (certificate of incorporation of your company, Id document of the Director/CEO , NDA (Non Disclosures Agreement according Privacy law) and all those related to the case (commercial contract, exchange of correspondence, delivery notes of goods, unpaid invoices)


The procedure starts with a preliminary investigation on the debtor; it is important to understand in advance if there are real possibilities to collect the money owned, if there is already any proceedings of bankruptcy, insolvency or liquidation.

After the preliminary investigation the lawyer drafts a letter before action giving the debtor time for the payment within 10 days from the receipt of the letter (or certified email).

In case of no answer and/or failure to pay, it is possible to submit a claim to the Court to have an injunction order by a judge (decreto ingiuntivo) The Court can order a payment within 40 days; once this deadline expired it is possible to start an enforcement proceeding and eventually to file a claim to winding up the company.

The fees depend basically on the value of the debt, there is a Court fee to pay in any case.  For further information and quotation of our fees contact us to

Carlo Bottino, Avvocato

Ella Connolly – Solicitor of England and Wales , Avvocato stabilito in Italia


Well, there are some similarities between the Italian and English legal systems here.

Step 1 – Letter before claim (England & Wales), lettera di reclamo (Italy)

The first step in England & Wlales, as we have mentioned in previous articles, is to send the debtor a letter before claim, asking them to reply usually within 2-3 weeks. In Italy the first step is identical.

If there is no reply from the debtor, in England & Wales the second step would be to draft the particulars of claim against the debtor, to issue proceedings (i.e., to send the particulars of claim to the court) and have proceedings served on the debtor by the court. The debtor then has a set time in which to respond and if he doesn’t, the claimant can request judgment in default of any response or defence.

In Italy however, this is where the first difference appears. The Italian lawyers (or the claimants themselves) will send the debtor a second letter before action containing a warning and a formal notice, which represents the debtor’s last opportunity to resolve the matter without involving the courts. With this formal notice, default interest also kicks in on the debt, whereas in England & Wales default interest is applied from the date upon which the debt became due, however default interest is not mentioned in the letter before action, this being reserved for the particulars of claim.

In the Italian system if the debtor agrees after the first or second letter, to pay the debt due, then the parties agree to enter into a written agreement to determine the payment terms. This, obviously, is not too different to an equivalent situation in England & Wales.

If after the second letter before action there is still no response and the debtor still doesn’t pay, then the judicial phase begins. At this point the claimant needs to be certain of the debtor’s ability to pay the debts it owes, therefore some investigation is required as to the financial status of the debtor.

Where the debt is undisputed the claimant can follow a fast track procedure to obtain payment, with minimum involvement from the courts. The claimant needs to prove that the debt is undisputed and can request an injunction from the court, which works to prevent the debtor from disposing from his assets. This request of an injunction is perhaps similar to the drafting of the particulars of claim in England. The Italian Civil Code sets out the details required to be drafted in the text of the injunction, similar to the English Civil Procedure Rules. After this, the debtor has 40 days in which to respond or pay. Upon being served with the claim in England & Wales, the defendant has 28 days in which to respond or defend.

In certain cases, set out in the Civil Code, rather than having 40 days in which to pay or respond to the injunction, the debtor must pay immediately. These are e.g., the payment of rent, condominium expenses, child maintenance payments, requests from the Italian social security agency for social security contributions, and utilities’ bills payments.

Where the deadline for payment (either within 40 days or immediately) has not been respected by the debtor, the claimant can commence executive, or enforcement proceedings, by way of executive order so the debtor has his assets removed from him by force. The claimant applies for an act of precept which allows a bailiff, within 10 days of notification of the order to the debtor, to repossess the assets. Immovable and moveable property can be repossessed as well as assets from a third party. In England & Wales, if 28 days have passed and the defendant has not responded or defended the claim the claimant can enter judgment in default. Once the judgment has been issued by the court the claimant can then proceed to enforce it, similarly to the Italian procedure (third party debt order, attachment of earnings order, charging order, enforcement by sale).

The limitation period for claims against business debtors’ is 10 years in Italy, and in England, 6.

In this very brief note I have attempted to display similarities between the debt collection procedure between Italy and England & Wales. If you have grounds for a claim against a debtor, don’t hesitate to contact us. Don’t be put off by the perceived complexity of process. We can assist you, in the English language, in pursuing your debtor in Italy.

Avv. stabilito Ella Connolly – Solicitor of England and Wales

Brexit: what’s next for the UK art market?

As of today, Brexit is a reality and, although the United Kingdom (UK) will remain fully aligned with European Union (EU) law until the end of the transition period (which is still currently expected to be at the end of the year), once this period ends the UK will leave both the EU single market and the customs union.

It is quite evident that leaving the EU will make business with its member states more difficult, posing some significant challenges for the art market, but is also likely to offer opportunities further afield.

While some people believing that Brexit could have a hugely detrimental effect on the art world as well and lead to cultural isolation by imposing additional taxes and regulations, others view Brexit as an opportunity for the UK to gain its independence from the EU and create its own rules and regulations regarding art trade for the first time.

As the government has said it wants to diverge from European Union rules in many areas, therefore procedures for trade with Europe will change substantially.

Goods exported to the European Union will necessary become third country imports with the consequence that new paperwork, licenses, tariffs and, in some cases, pre-certification by European Union officials will be needed. Existing free movement rules will also end, therefore a visa and possibly a licence is likely to be needed before most work can be carried out in Europe.

Brexit will have an obvious effect on the UK art market, although the extent of any changes is still largely unknown.

As a major factor in the UK art market’s success has been down to access to overseas talent, additional restrictions brought in by Brexit could make movement far more challenging and inconvenient for UK art professionals and creative organisations.

Some fear that Brexit will bring about several restrictions and barriers that could harm the UK art industry. For instance, leaving the EU is likely to add additional expense and make transactions more time consuming and complex. This has the potential to deter people from trading with the UK art market.

This could reduce the number of individuals and groups from EU countries touring the UK and performing across the country. The same effect would also apply to UK professionals hoping to complete touring exhibitions around the EU[1].

            Also, for art dealers, free exchange of art between the UK and the EU no longer being possible, the paperwork, including import and export permits required for entry and exit, will increase the workload, and the lending and trading cycle of works will be extended.

Some people believe that the most immediate impact of the UK’s formal Brexit on the art market will be reflected in the fact that art dealings between the UK and the EU will require more procedures and more tariffs, but this will not shake the trading rules of the art auction market[2].

Here are some of the key ways that Brexit will impact the art industry.

Imports of EU’s cultural goods

For the art market, the flow of trade in art will become more complicated. This is partly because of new rules introduced in the EU’s “New import of cultural goods Act” in April 2019 (which will be gradually implemented between now and 2025, when a fully electronic system comes into force), which will be binding on British exports to EU countries once Britain leaves the EU Customs Union. The regulation covers cultural goods that are created or discovered outside the EU.

According to the Act, depending on the extent to which they are vulnerable to pillage and destruction, cultural works are divided into two categories under the draft regulation. The most vulnerable, such as archaeological objects, elements of monuments, and rare manuscripts, classed as “archaeological finds” (antiquities over 250 years old) will require an exclusive license issued by the exporting EU country.

Proof will also be needed of the legal export from the origin country. For many antiquities this paperwork does not exist.

Other goods over 200 years old will need only an importer statement so, in theory, a 20th-century painting worth £1 million can be imported with a statement, but a £50 ancient clay lamp would need a full licence.

Anyway, issues mentioned above aside, must be considered that, as the UK already issues export licences for cultural goods – and these will be accepted by the EU – export will be easier from the UK than from countries which do not issue export licences. However, proving the legal export from the source country will remain problematic until the European Commission publishes specific guidelines.

Since, as told before, the UK is very unlikely to replicate the EU rules after Brexit that could provide an opportunity for the UK art market, particularly with regards to hosting fairs, as it will be far harder to temporarily bring antiquities into the EU than the UK.

EU exports to the UK

The bigger challenge probably will be when art is exported from the EU to the UK. Currently, these exports are ruled by EU rules covering inter-EU transfers.

Post-Brexit, EU exports to the UK will require an EU export licence and are governed by a similar regime to the new import rules. However, unlike the import regulation, EU goods are also covered, making it harder to transfer goods from the EU to the UK.

It is already virtually impossible to export cultural goods from some EU countries, such as Italy, and the European Commission is keen to ensure further restriction on the export of European cultural heritage from Europe.

 Non-EU exports to the UK

Also, post-Brexit, art from non-EU countries will enter the UK more easily than the EU, and from there it can get a UK export licence allowing import into the EU. On one hand, this offers the UK an advantage in the global market, the chance to position itself as a gateway to the EU. But on the other, it will almost certainly become more difficult to export art from the EU to the UK and to do business in the EU in general.

More chances and challenges

Leaving the EU could provide new opportunities for the UK art market, especially when it comes to holding art fairs because it’s much easier to bring artifacts into the UK for temporary exhibitions than to bring them into the EU.

After the UK leaves the EU officially, infact, it will be easier for art works to enter the UK than the EU. By entering the UK, art dealers can obtain a UK export license, which can be used for EU imports.

In short, therefore, what will almost certainly pose some obstacles in the art market and in the circulation and relations between the UK and the EU, could however represent and give the UK an advantage in the global art market, allowing it to position itself as a gateway to the EU. But on the other hand, it will also make it more challenging for EU countries to export art to the UK, and also affect the EU’s art market as a whole.

Paola Ghirardelli

Solicitor of England and Wales


[1]According to a study by the Art Council, around 64% of culture organisations currently work inside the EU. These statistics suggest that restrictions brought on by Brexit could negatively affect many creative individuals and organisations within the UK art scene.

[2]Indeed, the rare masterpieces on display at Sotheby’s auction in London on the evening of February 4 are still in demand. Although the sale grossed 499.903 million pounds, it was down 42 percent from the same period last year.


Coronavirus wreaking havoc across the globe is not only slamming healthcare systems, but also forcing the closure of borders and causing an economic collapse whose extent the world seems truly unaware of.

With some exceptions, all markets and sectors (be it airlines, the tourist industry, sports or entertainment) have already been impacted by the coronavirus and seem destined to suffer devastating effects from the present situation, the extent of which will depend greatly on the duration of the crisis and the ability of governments to cope with it. Certainly there has been nothing like this before also in the art trade.

Auction houses, galleries, exhibitions and art fairs have shut down worldwide as the coronavirus paralyses this event-driven and relentlessly international market. Cancellation and closure emails have been coming in thick and fast.

The first major event to be cancelled was “Art Basel Hong Kong”, a fair that normally occupies two enormous floors of a waterside convention centre and last year attracted 88,000 visitors. Following “Tefaf Maastricht fair” was cut short after a gallerist tested positive for the virus and same happened to “Asia Week New York” after the travel ban on 26 European countries and the suddenly aggravation of the situation in the city.

Art Dubai”, “Art Cologne” and “Design Week of Milan” in April were cancelled; “Frieze New York” and “Amart Milan” in May are postponed, like many others scheduled before summer.

This obviously means some immediate financial hits. Galleries report an average 45% of sales through fairs, according to the latest Art Basel/UBS report, but at this year’s “Armory Show” (which snuck in before the US travel restrictions took effect but still reported a drop in attendance of 28%) and “Asia Week” (which was shortened due to the mentioned restrictions and suffered the cancellation of many events, such as gallery talks), both in New York, there was a sense of impending doom.

Many museum shows, museums themselves and prestigious galleries have also closed their doors in those which are considered epicentres of the global art market (such as New York, London, Paris, Milan and Hong Kong), as well as elsewhere in the world.

Coronavirus is already changing daily life and it might also impact significantly culture.

At least for a certain period of time, even if borders are reopened, we will move less and less frequently from country to country and it could be therefore more difficult to take part to

exhibitions, fairs and other cultural events. It’s becoming increasingly evident in fact that fair, concert hall and museum visits may not be possible anytime soon. And even in the future, the circumstances of social distancing, which are not likely to be limited to this pandemic given the likelihood of more epidemics in the future, is something we could have to deal with.

This is not a minor issue since enjoying a work of art – be it a painting, an antique, a concert or a live performance – represents, in most cases, an immediate (in the sense of non-mediated, direct) physical and sensory experience; not to mention that often fairs and exhibitions are hosted in amazing cities and magnificent locations that alone would be worth a visit. Can the thrill of a live performance or the enjoyment of a work of art be replicated online? And can museums and fairs abdicate their real-life version?

To remedy their cancellation or closure, some exhibitors and museums have resorted to the use of the internet and social medias in an attempt to offer their customers the same kind of services granted before. “Art Basel Hong Kong” was the first, after its cancellation, happening entirely online[1], followed by several exhibitors at “Tefaf Maastricht” who, after its cut, immediately offered virtual viewing rooms to clients (which, requiring online viewing rooms a user’s data to enter unlike a public website, could turn into a possible silver lining for the galleries). Other coronavirus-prompted initiatives include performances by some artists[2] held over Instagram Live. At the moment, such efforts are mostly making the best of a bad situation.

Frankly I believe that, having returned to a normal life (equal or different from the previous but better than the current one), the desire to travel, visit museums, fairs, exhibitions and galleries, to attend a concert or opera in theaters and to continue a personal relationship as well as business with the gallery owners and antique dealers, will return to be an essential requirement for all those who are part of the art market.

But could the pandemic also prove a necessary catalyst for an industry that desperately needs to modernise?

It is undoubted and indisputable that, for the past few years, galleries operating below the sky-high levels have been struggling to keep pace with the financial pressures of showing at fairs all over the world. Added to the exhibiting fees that already average five-figures a fair are flights, shipping, hotels, client dinners and the opportunity cost of paying rent on empty, high-spec gallery spaces. Meanwhile, visitors, including the all-important collectors, complain of the so called “fairtigue” as the experience of looking at booth after booth of art, that has often already been sold over email anyway, has lost much of its charm.

Some wonder whether the legacy systems of the art market deserve to be preserved even if appropriately repackaged and if the online-only mandate of life under COVID-19 instead be seen as a challenge to reconsider all parameters and even to reset the boundary conditions of artistic production.

The matter is far from farfetched since there is a long and impressive history of art made specifically for the internet. In fact, major museums have put admirable effort into going virtual[3] and, as has been said, during COVID19 pandemic struggle, some fairs too and galleries at other events kick-started into a similar strategy.

To be honest it must be said that the trade is increasingly comfortable with putting content online (such as background information on an artist or informative videos) and the potential of virtual reality generates some excitement at the point that many of those who have already invested seem they are reaping the rewards. But, on the other hand, if it is true that practically all of the galleries have their own website (some also practicing ecommerce), it is equally true they still want to protect their artists and keep tabs on buyers, who still like to see what they are getting. Plus, not all galleries have the same heft and it is far easier to make virtual sales with artists who are already known than those who are emerging and haven’t been seen in the traditional way.

But though these resistances are both understandable and justified, is a matter of fact that traditions are changing fast outside the art world. The online retail sector is expected to continue to grow more than 85% in the next few years and recent data from the online marketplace show that businesses in the auction sector have already seen the light since the share of transactions made online has incredibly grown. These changes combined with the aforementioned difficulties generated by the coronavirus and related to the social changes that will ensue also urge innovative and breaking positions.

After years of kicking and screaming against the technological tide, there might emerge from this crisis a more business-ready and sustainable art market. Gallerists and fair organisers have long said they feel the need to innovate but that this has proved difficult when they are so busy haring around the world. Suddenly, the opportunity is here. Let’s see what happens.

[1] Its 231 exhibitors took the opportunity seriously. Works that was offered virtually included: Antony Gormley’s “Breathing Room II” (2010, Galleria Continua); Philippe Parreno’s “My Room is Another Fishbowl” (2016, Pilar Corrias) and “Life Shines On” (2019), an infinity room with a much-needed positive vibe by Yayoi Kusama (Ota Fine Arts).

[2] Like Marijke De Roover whose performance was held over Instagram Live and promoted via WhatsApp through London’s Arcade gallery.

[3] One of the most successful online exhibition was “Rhizome’s retrospective of net art” ( Much of this work is interactive, using the tools of the period in which it was created, including browsers that must now be digitally emulated. This work satisfies one desiderium, namely that it is native to its online context.

Avv. Paola Ghirardelli
Solicitor of England and Wales

If a custodial parent desires to relocate outside Italy despite the other parent’s wishes, such a move could constitute parental kidnapping.
If a court order exists regarding shared custody (affidamento condiviso), the dissenting parent may be able to use the custody order to compel enforcement of parental kidnapping laws.
If a parent relocates to a Country that has signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Italy, as a signatory to the convention, may be able to help bring about the child’s return to our s Country.
But what if a parent has “full custody” -a.k.a. affidamento esclusivo over the children- when the other parent dissents on the move abroad? The non-custodial parent will likely have court-ordered visitation rights, that’s clear: but is the move abroad of the Custodial Parent (affidamento esclusivo) still illegal?
The Italian Supreme Court (see has many times asserted that -in case of affidamento esclusivo (sole custody)- moving abroad with the children is a legitimate decision which falls in the range of powers pertaining to the Custodial Parent.
However the non-custodial parent may still apply with the Hague Convention when his/her visitation rights are hindered, because of the distance or otherwise.
In conclusion, a return order cannot be issued against you if you are the (sole) custodial parent, but your ex can put you seriously in trouble for a good while.
As an aside, procedures have been established for passport issuance intended to prevent parental child kidnapping across international borders. Generally, both parents must sign the passport application for a child under the age of 16. However, if one spouse has a court order establishing sole custody, passport issuance may not require the other parent’s signature.
So, even if you are a parent with full custody rights you’d better consult with a family law attorney to discuss the specific rights and requirements of the court’s custody order. A good parenting plan approved by the Court may settle all these issues in advance, and collaborative law is probably the bast way to get at it.
Avv. Marco Calabrese, avvocato collaborative lawyer Rome, Italy founder of Angloitalianlaw

The Italian legal system, based upon the Civil Law, is characterised by a very high number of laws and a significant variety of grounds for appeal.

It is important to stress that legal proceedings, both civil and criminal, generally last many years.

The necessary legal proceedings are time consuming and will therefore have a direct effect on the process of the debt collection.

Debt collection in Italy requires a title which enables the creditor to commence execution of proceedings. Such titles may be, inter alia, a sentence, a cheque or a bill (of Exchange).

In order to allow the creditor to collect his credit within a relatively short period of time, the Italian Legislator has fixed a short proceeding – which usually lasts a few months – and is followed by a payment injunction issued by the Court which orders the debt to be paid, in addition to interest as well as part of the legal expenses.

In order to obtain the Court’s injunction (Decreto Ingiuntivo), the creditor should provide the Judge with written evidence regarding the debt’s existence: the creditor should, in other words, prove that the goods or the service have been regularly supplied/rendered to the debtor.

When the creditor is a professional, an entrepreneur or a company, the evidence required may also be provided in the form of a copy of the invoices, especially when the debt is related to services rendered.

Starting from the day in which the payment injunction has been formally served to him, the debtor may oppose it within a period of 40 days.

Where no such opposition has been made, the creditor may commence proceedings for the execution of the injunction.

Alternatively should, for any reason, the debtor decide to appeal, a “regular trial” takes place. The main issues discussed in such a trial are the legitimacy of the order (mainly formal aspects), the existence of the debt and whether it is collectable.

It is worthwhile to point out that in order to discourage debtors from filing groundless appeals, having as a unique scope the postponement of payment, the Italian law provides a remedy which seems to be quite efficient: in case the appeal is not based on relevant circumstances proved in writing which have occurred prior to the payment injunction (for example, a written complaint regarding the quality of goods/services), the Court may authorise the creditor to collect his credit without having to attend the end of the trial.

Other titles which enable a creditor to initiate execution are cheques and bills (assegno/cambiale).

In case of their dishonour, the creditor may summon the debtor to pay within 10 days while advising him/her that unless they are paid, execution proceedings shall commence.

The aforesaid proceeding is quite simple, rapid and does not require the Court’s intervention thus leaving the debtor a narrow range of possibilities on which to appeal.

Avv. Carlo Bottino – lawyer in Milano – Founder of Angloitalianlaw

Also published

In recent times the idea of negotiation, which is present in almost all the human activities, evolved from the resolution of a human conflict to the concepts of conflict resolution in psychology, which were adopted by some lawyers in the beginning of ADR movement; thence some recent movements brought the concept of negotiation towards a “holistic” concept of conflict resolution where the subject to be healed is not the conflict though the person. Oftentimes these legal studies have also a spiritual approach background (mainly derived from yoga techniques).

§ Foreword

 In the unfortunate event that you find yourself in a cross border dispute with a person/body in another EU member state, consideration should immediately be given to the Courts in which the dispute can be heard and which Court would be more preferable.

Some European rules may in fact contribute to fuelling the so called “Race to Courts”

 EU law sets out the rules on jurisdiction to assess which Courts have jurisdiction over a dispute and importantly, gives priority to courts that are ‘first seized’.

Nearly the same happens between Countries non regulated by the EU law: the Court which first receives the claim has -generally speaking- priority over all other courts. If there is any challenge to the jurisdiction the court first seized decides on whether to hear the claim or refer it to another court (the difference is what follows: in EU Law the first seized has priority, full stop, in all other cases the first seized can decide -to a certain extent who will hear the case). This certainly happens for the relations between European Countries and U.S.A who fully abide with this rule.

Now, imagine that this unfortunate situation happens in the very unlucky event of a family law dispute, or even (God forbid) in the event of a child custody case.

To make things worse, imagine that you became a negotiatior, a mediator or a collaborative lawyer many years ago, and don’t trust anymore in Justice as Administered by the Courts, because “No one is righteous–not even one” Romans 3:10 (this sense of disenchantment generally takes 20/25 years of legal practice to appear).

How to reconcile the Race To Courts with the Principles of Negotiation, Collaborative Law and Family Mediation?

As you may know in Collaborative Practice each party must be represented by a lawyer whose representation terminates upon the undertaking of any contested court proceeding. A “good” Negotiator or Collaborative lawyer, should never seize jurisdiction first. But if you never shoot first you are very likely to lose jurisdiction. The same may apply to a Mediator-Lawyer, whose deep belief is to avoid the recourse to Courts at all costs.


Along the years, I have heard this riddle solved by the funniest ideas of collaborative practitioners and mediators from throughout the world.

IDEA #1Shoot first, then withdraw. An outstanding Collaborative Lawyer from London came up to me with this idea. Which is not very productive tough. You’d be clashing against the principles of Collaborative Practice by sueing first (morally you’re a coward) only to lose your Client immediately after (so you’re also a failure)

IDEA #2Stop taking international cases. This may be a very brilliant idea, though not in the case in which your practice -like mine- is mainly composed by international cases. In fact, by doing so, you can as well go fishing and close yout office.

IDEA #3. Shoot first, and remain in place. This is not acceptable for a negotiator: as any Collaborative/Mediator knows, you don’t stand the ghost of a chance to be trusted as a Collaborative Lawyer when you participate into this crazy race. And you’re not a mediator if you take sides.

IDEA #4. Don’t get retained if you can’t avoid the fight

And so on….

The number of cross border exchanges as well as that of international families is growing each year, so probably a collaborative/mediation filter is needed for these matters, where the “shoot first rule” is mostly inappropriate. Of course this “filter” cannot be imposed on a voluntary basis but it needs to be issued by International Bodies.

In the absence of any regulation should we say that the Collaborative Law, Negotiation and Mediation are only appropriate on a local, simpler, basis?


However, what is Negotiation? And before that, who is a negotiator?

Negotiation can be defined as a bargaining (give and take) process between two or more parties (each with its own aims, needs, and viewpoints) seeking to discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict.

Effective negotiators must have the skills to analyze a problem to determine the interests of each party in the negotiation. A detailed problem analysis identifies the issue, the interested parties and the outcome goals.

Before entering a bargaining meeting, the skilled negotiator prepares for the meeting. Preparation includes determining goals, areas for trade and alternatives to the stated goals. In addition, negotiators study the history of the relationship between the two parties and past negotiations to find areas of agreement and common goals. Past precedents and outcomes can set the tone for current negotiations.

Negotiators have the skills to listen actively to the other party during the debate. “Active listening” involves the ability to read body language as well as verbal communication. It is important to listen to the other party to find areas for compromise during the meeting. Instead of spending the bulk of the time in negotiation expounding the virtues of his viewpoint, the skilled negotiator will spend more time listening to the other party.

It is vital that a negotiator have the ability to keep his emotions in check during the negotiation. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control during the meeting can lead to unfavorable results.

Negotiators must have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to the other side during the negotiation. Misunderstandings can occur if the negotiator does not state his case clearly. During a bargaining meeting, an effective negotiator must have the skills to state his desired outcome as well as his reasoning.

Negotiation is not necessarily a one side against another arrangement. Effective negotiators must have the skills to work together as a team and foster a collaborative atmosphere during negotiations. Those involved in a negotiation on both sides of the issue must work together to reach an agreeable solution.

Individuals with negotiation skills have the ability to seek a variety of solutions to problems. Instead of focusing on his ultimate goal for the negotiation, the individual with skills can focus on solving the problem, which may be a breakdown in communication, to benefit both sides of the issue.

Leaders with negotiation skills have the ability to act decisively during a negotiation. It may be necessary during a bargaining arrangement to agree to a compromise quickly to end a stalemate.

Effective negotiators have the interpersonal skills to maintain a good working relationship with those involved in the negotiation. Negotiators with patience and the ability to persuade others without using manipulation can maintain a positive atmosphere during a difficult negotiation.

Ethical standards and reliability in an effective negotiator promote a trusting environment for negotiations. Both sides in a negotiation must trust that the other party will follow through on promises and agreements. A negotiator must have the skills to execute on his promises.


I have recently begun to cooperate more strictly with the Person Centred Approach Institute in Italy, named IACP- istituto per l’approccio centrato sulla persona. founded by Carl Rogers, Alberto Zucconi and.Charles Devonshire.

The Person-Centred Approach was developed from the work of the psychologist Dr. Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987). He advanced an approach to psychotherapy and counselling that, at the time (1940s – 1960s), was considered extremely radical if not revolutionaryAn important part of this theory is that in a particular psychological environment, the fulfilment of personal potentials includes sociability, the need to be with other human beings and a desire to know and be known by other people. It also includes being open to experience, being trusting and trustworthy, being curious about the world, being creative and compassionate. The psychological environment described by Rogers was one where a person felt free from threat, both physically and psychologically. This environment could be achieved when being in a relationship with a person who was deeply understanding (empathic), accepting (having unconditional positive regard) and genuine (congruent).

Although initially developed as an approach to psychotherapy (eventually becoming known as client/person-centred therapy/counselling), Rogers and his colleagues came to believe that their ideas could be transferred to other areas where people were in relationships. For example teaching, management, childcare, patient care, conflict resolution.

Conflict resolution is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution. Committed group members attempt to resolve group conflicts by actively communicating information about their conflicting motives or ideologies to the rest of the group (e.g., intentions; reasons for holding certain beliefs), and by engaging in collective negotiation.


Although clearly deriving from the psychology, conflict resolution has become very popular in the studies of law, during the last thirty years.

Until the end of XX Century the best known practices for resolving a dispute were the following:

1. Mediation

The goal of mediation is for a neutral third party to help disputants come to consensus on their own.

  • Rather than imposing a solution, a professional mediator works with the conflicting sides to explore the interests underlying their positions.

Mediation can be effective at allowing parties to vent their feelings and fully explore their grievances.

Working with parties together and sometimes separately, mediators try to help them hammer out a resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and nonbinding.

2. Arbitration

In arbitration, a neutral third party serves as a judge who is responsible for resolving the dispute.

  • The arbitrator listens as each side argues its case and presents relevant evidence, then renders a binding decision.

The disputants can negotiate virtually any aspect of the arbitration process, including whether lawyers will be present and which standards of evidence will be used.

Arbitrators hand down decisions that are usually confidential and that cannot be appealed.

Like mediation, arbitration tends to be much less expensive than litigation.

3. Litigation

The most familiar type of dispute resolution, civil litigation typically involves a defendant facing off against a plaintiff before either a judge or a judge and jury.

  • The judge or the jury is responsible for weighing the evidence and making a ruling. Information conveyed in hearings and trials usually enters the public record.

Lawyers typically dominate litigation, which often ends in a settlement agreement during the pretrial period of discovery and preparation.


More recently, other forms of Dispute resolution have raised the attention of the public. Particularly:

4. Collaborative Process

As part of the collaborative law method, both parties retain separate attorneys whose job it is to help them settle the dispute. No one may go to court. If that should occur, the collaborative law process terminates and both attorneys are disqualified from any further involvement in the case.

Each party in the Collaborative law process signs a contractual agreement which include the following terms:

–        Each party agrees to honestly and openly disclose all documents and information relating to the issues. Neither party may take advantage of a miscalculation or an inadvertent mistake. Instead, such errors are identified and corrected.

–        Each party agrees to act respectfully and avoid disparaging or vilifying any of the participants.

–        The parties agree to implement outside experts where necessary in a cooperative fashion and share the costs related to those experts. (e.g. real estate appraisers, business appraisers, vocational evaluators, or accountants)

–        The primary goal of the process is to work toward an amicable solution and to create a “win-win” situation for all.

–        Neither party may seek or threaten court action to resolve disputes. If the parties decide to go to court, the attorneys must withdraw and the process begins anew in the court system.

One of the biggest differences in the Collaborative law process is that it recognizes that emotional issues exist that cannot be addressed by the legal system. These emotional issues are ignored in the Court process. By contrast, the collaborative law process specifically addresses these issues by bringing them to the forefront and using professionals as part of team approach to find solutions.

Another significant difference (particularly vs Mediation) is that both parties are assisted by their lawyers. Nobody has the impression to “fight alone”.

Basically no other forms of dispute resolution can be imagined.


Basically any form of Dispute Resolution involves a Neutral (Arbitration, Mediation, Litigation) or two parties (assisted by lawyers) who negotiate without the help of a Neutral.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods all involve a certain dose of negotiation, that may be present also in adjudicational processes (i.e. the negotiation aiming at a settlement in Court).

In fact, negotiation can be defined as any form of direct or indirect communication whereby parties who have opposing interests discuss the form of any joint action which they might take to manage and ultimately resolve the dispute between them. Negotiations may be used to resolve an already-existing problem or to lay the groundwork for a future relationship between two or more parties.

Negotiation has also been characterized (by S.G. Goldberg; E.A. Frank; N.H. Rogers; Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation, and Other Processes, (Boston: Little, Brown and Company 1992) as the preeminent mode of dispute resolution, which is hardly surprising given its presence in virtually all aspects of everyday life, whether at the individual, institutional, national or global levels. Each negotiation is unique, differing from one another in terms of subject matter, the number of participants and the process used.

Given the presence of negotiation in daily life, it is not surprising to find that negotiation can also be applied within the context of other dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and litigation settlement conferences.

Negotiation is:

  • Voluntary: No party is forced to participate in a negotiation. The parties are free to accept or reject the outcome of negotiations and can withdraw at any point during the process. Parties may participate directly in the negotiations or they may choose to be represented by someone else, such as a family member, friend, a lawyer or other professional.
  • Bilateral/Multilateral: Negotiations can involve two, three or dozens of parties. They can range from two individuals seeking to agree on the sale of a house to negotiations involving diplomats from dozens of States (e.g., World Trade Organization (WTO)).
  • Non-adjudicative: Negotiation involves only the parties. The outcome of a negotiation is reached by the parties together without recourse to a third-party neutral.
  • Informal: There are no prescribed rules in negotiation. The parties are free to adopt whatever rules they choose, if any. Generally they will agree on issues such as the subject matter, timing and location of negotiations. Further matters such as confidentiality, the number of negotiating sessions the parties commit to, and which documents may be used, can also be addressed.
  • Confidential: The parties have the option of negotiating publicly or privately. In the government context, negotiations would be subject to the criteria governing disclosure .
  • Flexible: The scope of a negotiation depends on the choice of the parties. The parties can determine not only the topic or the topics that will be the subject of the negotiations, but also whether they will adopt a positional-based bargaining approach or an interest-based approach.


There are two main approaches to any negotiation situation: distributive and integrative strategies. Each are useful in specific contexts, and the same negotiator may use either strategy depending upon their goal. We encounter distributive negotiation every time we buy a car or ask for a discount on an as-is item. Integrative negotiations happen on an ongoing basis, such as agreeing to let our children go to bed an hour later in exchange for washing the dishes.

Distributive Basics

Distributive negotiation is appropriate in “divide the pie” situations, when there is a fixed amount of resources and whatever one party gains, the other party loses. Usually it’s employed when the parties don’t know each other and don’t believe they will need to develop a relationship with each other for use in the future. A distributive approach to negotiation is usually what we encounter when we make a purchase.

Distributive Tactics

In distributive bargaining, it’s best to keep information to yourself while trying to get information out of the other party. Let them make the first offer, since this lets you know what they’re willing to give up. Do tell them about alternatives you have, such as competing offers for what you’re selling, or interest in a product that competes with the one they’re selling if you’re the buyer. But be willing to make concessions in order to reach a realistic outcome.

Integrative Basics

An integrative bargaining situation occurs when it’s possible to produce a greater outcome together than either could reach on his own. It’s used when the parties have a relationship or want to establish one, and when cooperation benefits both parties. There are often multiple issues to address, and the negotiations can be complex and ongoing. Most of us use integrative bargaining within our families and between business partners.

Integrative Tactics

Determine your list of priorities, and make a guess about the other party’s priorities as well. Share information with each other, being honest about your priorities; often something critical to one side is a minor concession to the other, and vice versa. Find and offer solutions that produce the most gain for the other party as well as for yourself. Remember that you will be in other negotiation situations with the other side in the future, and be willing to compromise when needed to build goodwill for later.


As JKim Wright says


“At the heart of the integrative law movement, is a shift in law from a system that focuses on differences and separation to a system that includes and honors the opinions, perspectives and humanity of all stakeholders. Integrative law takes a broader view of stakeholders to acknowledge that legal problems and controversies do not arise in a vacuum but are part of complex, inter-related systems. Integrative Law offers practices that allow stakeholders to address the conditions that give rise to conflict and to engage conflict, once it does arise, in a way that restores community well-being and allows those directly affected by the conflict to meaningfully participate in its resolution. The models, approaches, and policy initiatives have arisen in response to a new awareness of interconnectedness.

The Integrative Law movement includes a variety of existing and emerging forms of legal practice, policy initiatives, and legal education aimed at transforming the legal system to more effectively reach its basic goals. As viewed by the integrative law movement, the basic goals of a legal system include but are not limited to providing access to justice; designing, managing, and healing relationships; and providing stable, organic, flexible structures for a just, stable and harmonious community.

The existing and emerging forms of legal practices flowing from the Integrative Law movement are known by many names and have various perspectives. The approaches share similar core values. Some of them are philosophies of law, some are models. Some are ways of being that are adaptable to any area of law practice.

Integrative law includes many models and approaches. Some people refer to the emerging models and approaches as vectors, based upon the term used in the work of law professor, Susan Daicoff. Daicoff has written extensively about what she called Comprehensive Law, identifying several lenses and five vectors of the movement. Integrative law includes Daicoff’s vectors and more, including models and philosophies such as:

collaborative law,

restorative justice,

restorative mediation,

and many others…”

“…By whatever name, each of these approaches offers support to a transformation of the legal system. Many of those engaged in them consider themselves to be indicative of the future of law practice, responsive to the rapid changes in society and a movement toward a workplace (both for lawyers and their clients) interested in personal and spiritual growth opportunities as well as vocational activities. While the approaches may sometimes seem different, and will be described in more detail below, there is a common connection of values and principles. They include the following:

  • Utilizing law as a modality for healing and helping, not only of problem resolution;
  • Focusing on the future and reconciling relationships, listening, forgiveness, completing and moving on – rather than simply looking to the past and punishing transgressions;
  • Viewing legal issues with inclusion of the existing or possible on-going relational context of the parties, or between the parties and the greater community, for purposes of improving connections rather than isolating or separating people;
  • Including preventive models, proactively identifying risks and taking actions that will prevent conflict;
  • Creating win/win/win solutions where the parties involved, the underlying community and over-arching societal values are all addressed and benefit;
  • Fashioning a better world for all that is healthy, diverse, creative, and respectful of human rights and values;
  • Including a humanistic approach to law practice that is sensitive to the needs, values, and the highest good of the client and society, and of legal practitioners;
  • Consciously constructing a law practice environment where judges, lawyers and legal staff can change and grow as authentic and honest persons;
  • Believing that the legal problems occur within a system that is an organic process which can respond to the needs of clients, society and lawyers alike;
  • Defining a legal system that is based not only on problem solving, but also supporting everyone to live and work together in peace.

Other aspects of the legal system addressed by the Integrative Law movement include

  • humanizing legal education,
  • promoting emotionally competent lawyering,
  • enhancing wisdom and compassion throughout all interactions with the legal system,
  • encouraging accountability, engagement, and restoration,
  • responding to societal changes mindfully, resolving conflicts and promoting client-centered lawyering…”


Politicians and diplomats who try to resolve armed conflicts usually focus their efforts on achieving a pragmatic exchange of benefits between the warring parties. They aim for a compromise on the tangible issues in dispute, whether territory or resources or political power. Such a straightforward approach to conflict resolution is understandable, but it often fails because deeper aspects of the conflict—psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions—are ignored or downplayed.

At the same time, many peace movements attempting to transform violent conflicts into constructive partnerships also fail in their efforts because they focus most of their energy and rhetoric on protesting against injustices or abuses of power. This “prophetic” stance of decrying misguided policies is a natural and even necessary approach to peacemaking—but it is far from sufficient to shift the underlying dynamics in longstanding conflicts.

A more holistic approach to peacebuilding, one that takes more time but holds more promise for ultimate success, addresses various dimensions simultaneously.

Holistic services in the law sector may mean what they call ‘bundling’; the idea that a criminal client, for example, might need family or debt advice and would want to see another lawyer in the same firm. This is a perfectly reasonable approach, and we should have no concerns about developing it in our legal audience.

        For lawyers, specifically those who specialize in mediation or conflict resolution, holism means emphasizing care of the self, coupled with care for the client. Practitioners of mediation regularly deal with conflict-related situations and may have to deal with combative clients. The holistic practitioner learns how to tap into inner resources so as to combat and control the stress and fatigue that are part of the mediation process. By doing so, the mediator is able to respond to and advise the client with clarity and calm.

Again, as JKim Wright teaches “Holistic Law means many things to many people. As we use it, it is an approach or style of practice that focuses on the whole person and the whole of the problem as a way of finding more healthy and sustainable solutions to legal problems. The whole problem or picture to a Holistic Lawyer would include more stakeholders, a broader focus on the “other side” and their contribution to the problem. It often entails a look at the lawyer’s role, the client’s role in the problem and solution, and the impact of the problem and solution on the community.

 Holistic Law practitioners often look inward to become whole themselves to better assist their clients in using the legal process to find wholeness. Often holistic lawyers take a spiritual component, exploring the unity of purpose between the seemingly opposing parties. Some attorneys who practice in this style view Holistic Law as the umbrella under which other styles or approaches fit. For example, a Holistic Lawyer might take a preventive law approach or a collaborative law approach as part of their holistic legal problem-solving.”

A more comprehensive approach to the persons involved seems to be the future of every kind of legal negotiation, today.

Avv. Marco Calabrese, avvocato collaborative lawyer Rome, Italy founder of Angloitalianlaw

Also published on


According to the Italian Civil Code – articles 2043 and 2054 – any individual causing a damage has the duty to make it good and restore the victim, putting him back in the position he would have found himself if the damage had not occurred at all. In the event of a road accident involving two or more vehicles, Italian law presumes, until proven otherwise, a contributory negligence, i.e. all drivers have contributed equally to produce the collision. It is important to keep in mind that in Italy the owner of a vehicle is jointly liable with the driver, unless proved that the last one had used the vehicle against the owner’s will. Anyhow, the owner will always be the one responsible for damage resulting from construction defects or failure to maintain his own vehicle.

The Italian Civil Code identifies a distinction between patrimonial damages and non-patrimonial damages:

Patrimonial damages loss in the economic assets of the injured party directly. They can refer to “consequential damages” as immediate and direct consequence of the damage, which caused the economic loss (medical expenses, loss for victim’s goods, etc.) or to “monetary loss”, that is the reduction in incomes suffered or that will take place in the future caused by the injury to be compensated.

Non-patrimonial damages when an intentional or negligent act causes a personal injury. They are classified as “biological damages” relate to physical, mental and social damages and as “moral damages” consisting of the moral harm, anxiety, distress and offence to a person’s general well-being.

In Italy, it is mandatory for vehicles to be insured by authorized insurance companies. That means the most of the damages have a fair compensation, but many times the compensation released may not satisfy fully the damage, so claims before a court are likely to rise.


When the accident happens between two vehicles only and if there is no physical injury, then both parties may revert to an amicable procedure (Constatazione amichevole d’incidente) and fill in the blue document (modulo blu) of the Convention for Direct Indemnity (CID, Convenzione Indennizzo Diretto). This document is provided by the insurance company and should be kept in the car.

Included in the accident report are the following details:

Name of the people involved in the accident

Details of the insurance companies

Registration plates of the vehicles involved

Circumstances and description of the accident

Signature of both drivers

A copy of the accident report must be sent to the insurance company within three days, and the car must be kept at their disposal for an expert’s report. The insurance company then has ten days to assess the damages, and must pay within 15 days.

If the insurance company disagrees with the amount of work to be done on the car, it will pay a provision based on an estimation (offerta di risarcimento); the difference can be claimed later on.

As of 2004, the “amicable procedure” is also valid, under certain circumstances, where there have been injuries:

The vehicle in which the injured person has travelled is damaged

For each injured person, damage to the person (physical damage, moral damage, material damage and medical fees) do not exceed the amount of €15,000


In case of serious accident the Italian Authorities (Road Traffic Police, Local Police) arrive on the scene of accident to provide help for the injured, re-establish traffic flow, gather all the necessary information about the accident and they will take note of evidences and statements from the parties to draw up a report.

In case of damages, the report will acquire particular importance to the parties, since they are entitled to request a copy of it as an evidence of their claims. Please notice, that, when injuries have occurred, the report will be released only after the 90 days necessary for the submission of a potential lawsuit for personal injury

Biological Damage

Definition: physical, mental and social damages. The most recent definition of biological damage is provided in articles 138 and 139 of the Code of the Insurances, which define this category of damage as, “the temporary or permanent injury to the reduction of psycho-physical integrity of a person, regardless of the person’s capacity to produce an income.” Biological Damage is divided into two sub-categories: temporary disability and permanent disability.

Temporary disability

the total number of days needed to recover from the accident, considering the natural capacity of the body to recover and the treatments needed to restore the original psycho-physical conditions of the victim – and it is measured in days.

If a person is unable to perform any activity –>  temporary disability is total.

If a person is unable from performing only some activities –> temporary disability is limited.

Permanent disability 

the reduction in mental and physical health for conditions that are not curable, and it is expressed as a percentage.  The assessment of the personal injury must be carried out by a forensic expert of medical science.

Biological damage is made by applying predetermined criteria provided by the law – ordered by the court or tribunal. The most commonly applied criteria is the one provided by the Law  and by the Courts,  which calculate the damage by percentage from 1 % to 100% crossing with the age of the injured

Until 9% of permanent the scale is provided by Law, called

Tabelle delle micro permanenti

Calculate here

For the damage from 10% the Italian Courts had calculated different criteria; the most common and used is the Court of Milan’s one.

Tabelle Tribunale di Milano

You can calculate by yourself here

  • “Moral damages” consist of the moral harm, anxiety, distress and offence to a person’s general well being. Accordingly, the assessment of the quantum of moral damages is related to the percentage of biological damage – up to 20%. This is in accordance with article 139 of Legislative Decree of 7 September 2005 n. 209 (Code of Insurances), which also provides the power to increase the sum of compensation.


The damages suffered by the victim caused by physical injuries leading to death after a brief lapse of time, also referred to as damages due to killing or loss of life.
In jurisprudence, however, there has been – and there still is – a marked difference of opinion on the subject of how to compensate injuries causing immediate death or, alternatively, injuries causing death after a brief lapse of time.

According to a first opinion, somewhat restrictive, given that death concerns a juridical asset of life, as such different from good health (since loss of life does not constitute the maximum lesion of the right to health), damages by death cannot form part of biological damage (Civil cassation, work section, 27 May 2009, no. 12326).

Against this, another opinion stating that damage from immediate death must be included in the field of moral damage and forms part of the compensation to be considered in a unitary and all-inclusive manner, personalising the overall amount and also taking into account the above type of damage, provided there has been a specific and motivated request by the injured parties. Psychological suffering characterised by maximum intensity and a limited time span, must be compensated as moral damage, since it will not degenerate into illness giving rise to biological damage due to the limited interval of time between injuries and death (Civil cassation, Section III, 8 April 2010, no. 8360, and Civil cassation, Section III, 13 January 2010, no. 458).


Cross-border road traffic accidents represent a small percentage of road traffic accidents in the EU27. Of these, the majority potentially create a risk of undercompensation of the non-resident victim, due to difference in the standard of living as in the calculation of the quantum of damages in member states. The problem of victims’ undercompensation in the event of a cross-border traffic accident has so far been approached mostly under the aegis of the need to achieve further harmonisation in European Tort Law, especially within the debate on the “Rome II” regulation on non-contractual obligations. Already during first reading, the European Parliament proposed to address this issue by mandating the application of lex damni when assessing the quantum of damage awards.

Avvocato Carlo Bottino Lawyer in Milan – Founder of Angloitalianlaw

Also published

The acquisition of a winery

An expanding market

The wine is, in the panorama of world agri-food trade, one of the most globalized products. Now sold and consumed around the world, the wine trade increased from less than 7 billion in the late ’80s to more than $ 34 billion in 2013 more than any other food and agricultural sector (+390%).

The wine had a great success both in world trade, that in quantities, exports grew by 43% between 2003 and 2013, going from 69 to 100 million hectoliters

Italy as world leader; the numbers

The production and export of Italian wine in particular had a significant increase that led this country to approach the numbers of France, which has always been the world leader in the sector. The prestige and the quality played another important rule in this success. Italian wines like Chianti and Barolo, and names such as Prosecco have become a great worldwide popularity that makes the manufacturers of such wines subject of increasing attention from potential international buyers, attracted not only by the quality of the product but also by the same brand.

The farms specialized in wine production rarely work their grapes. In most cases, their production is sold as raw material to industrial enterprises that do not directly manage the vineyards turning to the primary sector companies for the procurement of raw material required (wine grapes). This aggregate of transformers has about 1,800 enterprises, able to produce and put on the market, domestic and overseas, more than 40 million hectoliters of wine, of which about 29 million hectoliters relating to wines with denomination of origin (PDO and PGI). Thanks also to the activity carried out in parallel for nearly 4,000 bottlers, this important wine production ensures a total value of about € 9 billion.

With this document we intend to identify all issues related to the due diligence to be performed in acquisitions of companies operating in the wine sector by providing a brief practical for approaching to this matter.

The case studies in this field are obviously different;


Starting from the literal meaning of the wine-term, we could be called a wine farm where a complex of assets organized for the exercise of an enterprise that concerns the cultivation of grapes and wine production.

We could also call it winery that is a company specialized in wine making.

A winery has a production workshop and a wine cellar (with vats, barrels and barriques) for storing and aging wine. A feature of the great wine houses is the attention to quality: in fact many of them have a special department dedicated to the verification of product quality.

A wine company doesn’t always own a vineyard; While many wineries possess vineyards and follow the entire procedure from the plant of the winery bottling lives and marketing, there are also some dedicated only to the processing of the grapes, which are often found in areas far from the cultivations of lives.

They will thus have cases of sale of one branch of business or a company as a whole (often with different agricultural activities not only wine but, for example, cereal and oil production);

It will be open to negotiation one share of the company, a simple land or a country-Fund (for which the rules of the farmer applies)

It must also assess whether the potential buyer is interested in a company that has already set the marketing or a company to set up from the beginning.

At times complex and unexplored is the field of Community grants to businesses, which, especially in Italy, appears often monopolized by public or para-public structures that make particularly difficult to access as well as bureaucratically challenging.

To set up our consultancy activities we thought it easier to locate all of these case studies with related issues in an introductory scheme that will direct potential buyers to wine business, as well as professionals called to offer their services.

Below you will find a questionnaire, please answer the questions so that we can make a custom search of the type of company you are interested and put us in a position to bring together the best supply and demand. “

Avv. Carlo Bottino

Founder of Angloitalianlaw

published also




The case in which an expat resident in Italy receives a lump sum or an annuity from a pension fund or a foreign insurance company ( e.g. Traditional and ROTH IRA in U.s., Register retirement Saving plan in Canada) is now widespread.

However, it is not easy to understand what system of taxation has to be applied.

The practice on the system of taxation  of this kind of funds and schemes is very fragmentary and the rules that regulate the matter seem to refer only to the pension funds and other forms of the Italian supplementary pension schemes.

These provisions seem to be made on Italian supplementary pension schemes, not covering foreign ones. They generally provide for the application of substitute tax or withholding taxes in the same way as the pension fund (or, in the pension plans managed by insurance contracts, the insurance company) is resident.

The practice on the proceeds of foreign pension funds is extremely poor; as these are pension benefits which normally do not derive from work in public administrations, double taxation agreements do not help. As a rule, in fact, these are taxed in the recipient’s state of residence and exempt in the State of the source; sometimes there could be concurrent taxation with the tax credit.

Due to the lack of a clear interpration in both legislation and interpretation, taxpayers residing in Italy who are currently eligible to claim a social security  (in the form of lump sum or life annuity) from a foreign pension fund or who have redeemed their pension rights do not know how to operate.

A first solution is to apply generally the directions given by the  Note 2004/66566 by the  Regional Revenue office of Lombardy  2004 as follow:

Consider the lump sum or life annuity  paid as if it were derived from a life insurance contract regardless of the fact that social security benefits are not paid by an insurance company and not considering as well that the benefit does not derive from a financial investment, but from a pension plan.

A second solution is to apply the rules on supplementary pensions schemes of the Italian Tax Act and of Legislative Decree 252 / 2005 which, due to their generic statements, lend themselves to apply both to Italian and foreign source income, taking account of the fundamental principle according to which the discrimination of residents in Italy who have taken part in supplementary pension schemes of institutions resident in EU states would run counter to the principles of freedom of movement of workers, services and freedom of establishment.

1) when the management of the pension plan (defined with the criteria in Article 6, paragraph 1, letter d) of the aforementioned Directive 2003/41 / EC) is entrusted to a company or entity belonging to the EU:

–  the social security benefits paid in the form of lump sum (both the final benefits and the proceeds of the early repayments) should be taxed by making the difference between the capital received and the part that has not been deducted pursuant to Article 10, paragraph 1, letter e-bis) of the Italian Tax Act on the tax of 15% or 23% depending on whether it is applicable to Article 11 or Article 14 of Legislative Decree 252 of 2005; all the financial performance would therefore be taxed with these rates, without applying Article 17 of Legislative Decree 252 (taxation of the management results produced by the fund at 11% up to 2014 and 20% starting from 2015) which concerns literally only the taxation of Italian pension funds.

– The benefits paid in the form of financial income should be treated as the corresponding Italian income. The returns included in the aforementioned services would then be taxed by applying the aforementioned Articles 11 and 14 of Legislative Decree 252 of 2005 as well as Article 44, paragraph 1, letter g-quinquies) of the Consolidated Law and without applying Article 11 , on the taxation of the supplementary social security form. The generic regulation of life annuities constituted for pecuniary payment as referred to in article 50 paragraph 1, letter h, which entails the full taxation of ordinary tax income, would apply to other benefits.

2) when the management of the pension plan is entrusted to a non-EU company or entity, both the benefits paid in the form of capital and those paid in the form of financial income should be taxed at a progressive rate, unless – for the benefits paid in the form of lump sum – these forms of social security are considered as to constitute the use of capital; the principle of freedom of capital movements (which incorporates the right of residents not to be taxed according to place where they make their investments) operates not only for investments made in Europe, but also in the rest of the world.

Avv. Carlo Bottino

Unlike in some other jurisdictions, pre-nuptial agreements are not commonplace in Italy. The reason for this is evident; until relatively recently, even where the parties had entered into a pre-nuptial agreement, the Italian Court would not enforce it. In this guest blog Italian lawyer Veronica Magrini of Anglo Italian Law network looks at the status of pre-nuptial agreements in Italy and the marital property regime itself.

Divorce in Italy

Under Italian law, the significance of divorce (and indeed, separation) is that it is considered a matter of ‘status’. Consequently, you are not permitted to deal with this status in a contract, nor with the rights that derive from the divorce such as financial provision (including the provision of maintenance or ‘alimony’ where there is an exceptional case of need). This means that any pre-nuptial agreement would automatically be declared invalid or void.

The historical influence

The attitude against pre-nuptial agreements is also reflected in historical factors. Societal views have played a significant role too. Crucially, divorce has only been permitted in Italy since 1970. Over the years, both the social stigma and general attitude towards divorce has lessened. This has paved the way for a more permissive system in which couples can divorce.

The Italian marital property regime

There is another relevant point to highlight regarding the division of assets on divorce. Under Italian law, the divorce court has no power to make an order as regards the distribution of assets in relation to the property of the spouses. Instead, the marital property regime centres around two ‘routes’, either of which can be chosen by the parties upon marriage. Both options are legally binding for the rest of married life and even after.

  • The ‘Joint Assets’ route (the default position): as of the date of marriage, all property belongs to both spouses in equal shares;
  • The ‘Separated Assets’ route: upon marriage, each party retains assets held in their own name or purchased by himself/herself, and will continue to do so, unless the couple buy property together or opt to jointly own it (this “route” is now chosen by the vast majority of couple mainly for tax reasons). In case of disagreements about the ownership of assets (as it may happen when assets are acquired in the name of one spouse but paid for by the other) it is not the Divorce Court who has to make a decision over these properties but the Civil Court, through further and separate proceedings, which have nothing to do with divorce law.

The treatment of assets outlined above will only apply to property purchased after the date of marriage. Maintenance obligations and inheritance rights are unaffected by the above election and are governed by separate provisions under Italian law.

On the face of it therefore, it would seem relatively straightforward to sort out the finances of an Italian couple on divorce: if there are jointly held assets, then it will be a simple case of a 50/50 split. If assets are not held jointly, theoretically, there should be no reason for debate as each party retains assets held in their sole name.

But what happens in the following scenario:

  • the parties opt for the ‘Joint Assets’ regime but
  • one party alone provided the monies for the family home even if the other party could have contributed to the purchase price but in fact did not?

And what about the spouse who contributed to the family life in a less evident but fundamental way, taking care of the children and so on (a non-financial contribution therefore) but the parties had elected for the ‘Separated Assets’ regime. Would that spouse end up with nothing at all save for provision for the children?

And finally, even in case of the ‘Joint Assets’ regime, there could be a number of options as to how assets could actually be divided to ensure an equal division.

The scenarios mentioned above are indeed fairly common and it is for this reason (particularly in ‘big money’ cases or where the overall composition of pre-marital assets held is rather complicated or likely to become complicated), that spouses attempt to mitigate any disagreement over asset division on divorce by entering into a pre-nuptial agreement of a similar contract. The same can be said of any country in which pre-nuptial agreements are common.

Because of the operation of Italian law, the fact that pre-nuptial agreements are not strictly enforceable does not mean that certain clauses of the agreement cannot be severed and consequently be considered binding on the parties. However, as stated above, any provision attempting to upset the will of the parties to divorce or not would technically be null and void.

How to overcome the problem?

Due to this approach, arguably, it would be preferable not to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement but to make a provision for ‘who gets what’ at a time when the divorce or separation process is underway – a sort of post-nuptial agreement. This way, the parties can deal with all aspects of the marriage: children, housing, maintenance, the disposal of property etc. at the same time. Having reached a settlement, the Italian Court will have the final say in determining if the children (if any) are prejudiced in any way by the agreement. If not, the court can seal the order on the basis that the remainder of the agreement is enforceable under Italian law.

The future of pre-nuptial agreements

Whilst there is little case law on the enforceability of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements in Italy, following a decision of the Supreme Court[1] in 2012, courts mayenforce financial agreements provided that the agreement has been freely entered into and where there is no evidence of duress as regards the divorce proceedings. Further, the agreement itself must not be considered to be a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’.  If the agreement passes this test, the courts will look to regulate the fairness of the financial agreement insofar as each party is concerned but the hurdle is not easily overcome.

What this means in practice is that an agreement seeking to deal with the finances on divorce may be enforceable subject to the test of ‘fairness’. It will not however be regarded as a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’. This will continue to be the case until a specific law is enacted by Parliament so as to allow such agreements to be valid under Italian law. There has in fact been some progress in this area with proposals being put forward to address this issue. However, the fact remains that the existence of the matrimonial property regimes seems to be fairly protective of the rights of the better off whose property rights can hardly be challenged by a Court’s order. These regimes in fact avoid any dispute that may arise about the assets after a divorce order although the position of the worse off party may be highly compromised by a Separate Assets nuptial agreement entered into at the time of the marriage.

[1]Cass. I sez. Civ. 21/12/2012, sent. n.23713.n

By Veronica Magrini

Published on

Pre-nuptial agreements in Italy


 A person who is

  • at least 18 years old

  • the legal owner of the remaining assets

  • of sound mind (capace di intendere e di volere). In the event of a dispute over the mental capacity at the time of drafting the will, a court will decide.


Italy recognises as valid an Intenational will as valid, but it is recommended that a foreigner makes a will in Italy if he/she

  • is living permantly in Italy, having the residence there at the time of his death

  • is a Foreigner who owns immovable property (house, flat, land) in Italy.

The main reason for making an Italian will is to simplify matters at the time of death.


  • Heirs of an only English will may have substantial difficulty in dealing with the transfer of any Italian assets. This is because the will must be authenticated before an Italian Notary Public.

  • The Notary, or any other Italian Professional may have substantial difficulty in examining the English will with regard to the Italian assets, in resolving the conflicts between the English and Italian law, as well as advising heirs and/or preparing suitable documentation to transfer the assets.

  • the costs of translation of all English documents in Italy are going to be very higher, more than the cost of making an Italian will

  • you must save money in respect of Inheritance Tax, because the Italian legislation is more generous than the English one (see INHERITANCE TAX CHAPTER). This in practice means that the small / medium Estates are not subject to Inheritance tax in Italy.


Under Italian law there are three different ways of making a valid Will:

  1. Handwritten Will (Holographic will – Testamento Olografo)

This document:

  • is personally handwritten by the person making the Will (Testator),

  • is dated (determining the most recent will in the event of these being several

  • is signed.

  • can be in any language, written on any paper / other medium.

Although it is a simple document, it is advisable that it should be checked by a lawyer to ensure that all the formal and substantive  legal requirements have been satisfied.

2. Formal Will (Testamento Pubblico)

This document

  • is drafted by an Italian notary upon the instructions of the Testator,

  • is read out by the Notary to ensure that it complies with the wishes of the Testator

  • is signed by the Testator in the presence of witnesses.

  • is lodged with the Italian notary.

  • is a fairly formal document.

  • will not be lost / disregarded,

  • involves a cost (notarial fees),

  • is disclosed to a third party, because it is public will, not secret.

3) Secret Will (Testamento Segreto)

  • This is a Will drafted / written by the Testator and placed in a sealed envelope which is then delivered to an Italian Notary. The notarial fees are reduced, the contents of the Will shall remain secret until after the death of the Testator when, the sealed envelope will be open.


In the case of

a) Handwritten Will (testamento olografo)

There is no need of witnesses, there is no attestation clause. It can be a very simple letter or document draft directly by the testator.

b) Formal will (testamento pubblico)

It is necessary to have an appointment by the notary and explain the will of making a “testamento pubblico”, giving the relating instructions. Not all Italian Notaries speaks English, better to find out one English speaking. Generally the witnesses requested are elected by the notary between his clerks.

The costs

c) Secret will (testamento segreto) see above


It is better to have legal advise by a lawyer dealing with the two jurisdictions. Wills and probate matters involve taxation issues , then ask to an Italian accountant should be advisable in preparation of the will (generally an Italian lawyer can introduced you to him and works together).

If you have chosen to make a Testamento pubblico, the public Notary can draft the wills according your instructions; it is not simple to find a Notary dealing with the two jurisdiction, as the Testamento Pubblico involves only the Italian legislation.


It is not a long procedure, It is important to prepare all documents accurately. Contact an Italian professional (lawyer or Notaio) and avoid changing your mind, if possible (actually you can change your will up to the time of death, but if you are in good health why make the notary or the lawyer crazy changing your intentions a few minutes after drafting the will)

In case of emergency you can write your will directly or contact a Notary who can receive your last will.


Firstly, you must ascertain what kind of will the testator made.

You must collect all the documents affecting the testator’s properties and contact an italian professional (Lawyer, Notaio, Accountant or Geometra) to make the “Dichiarazione di successione”.

The “dichiarazione di successione” must be made by the heirs within 6 months from the date of death. They must complete a form in which all the assets will be included, apply to Ufficio delle Entrate (Tax office) of the town where the deceased was resident. If the deceased was not resident in Italy, the declaration of succession must be presented to the relevant Tax Offices in Rome.

Finally, the Professional will be able to complete the procedure by registering the new owners at Ufficio del Catasto. A registration tax must be paid, calculated on the value of the assets.


The heirs will be requested to pay the Inheritance Tax when they present the above mentioned declaration to the competent office.

The Italian inheritance tax was abolished in 2001 but it has been recently re-introduced by the government.

The new Italian Inheritance Tax is now levied at three different flat rates, on the whole or part estate of the Deceased with reference to the beneficiaries entitled, as follows:

– 4% where the Estate or part of the Estate devolves to the Deceased’s spouse or children, with a nihil rate band up to € 1,000,000 each (which at current exchange rates is equivalent to an exempt slice of £ 657,800 for the spouse and each of the children) (the so called “Franchigia”).

– 6% where the Estate or part of the Estate devolves to brothers or sisters (subject to an exempt amount of Euro 100,000 each) and to other relatives of the Deceased up to the 4th degree (without any “exempt amount”),

-8% where the Estate or part of the Estate devolves to unrelated parties. Where the Estate or part of the Estate devolves to one or more disabled children, the exempt amount is increased to Euro 1,500,000 (£ 986,800 at the current rate of exchange).

– where the Estate includes a business or a substantial shareholding in a company, whatever their amount, they are not taxed on death if they pass to the children of the Deceased, and the said children undertake to continue to carry on the business or control the company for at least 5 years.


The English rules relating to succession may vary according to whether the estate consists of movables or immovables and whether the deceased has left a will or died intestate.

The Italian legal system has adopted the principle of unity of succession; as consequence, the legislation of the deceased’ s country apply.

Contrary to the Italian legal system, the English law has adopted the so called principle of scission with the result that the succession of movables is governed by the law of the deceaseds domicile, while the succession of immovables is governed by the law of the situs.

For example, if you bought a property in Italy in your name and you still own it at the time of your death, under the English rules its succession should be regulated by the Italian law of succession. The Italian legal system accepts this referral by the English law and therefore the succession of this asset will be regulated by the Italian law of succession.

Avv. Carlo Bottino

Lawyer in Milan