Shorter processes, with the aim of reaching a 40% cut in duration, simplification of rituals, enhancement of mediation to provide faster responses to citizens’ needs and encourage the attraction of foreign investments, introduction of a Court for the family and minors, with more protection for women victims of violence. These are some of the points on which the reform of the civil process, approved today by the Chamber definitively. A reform that responds to the commitments made by the government with Europe in the NRP.
Some of the innovations introduced concern the enhancement of alternative forms of justice, through the enhancement of mediation, assisted negotiation and arbitration. Mediation is strengthened through fiscal incentives, with the reduction of legal expenses and the introduction, in the foreseen cases, of free legal aid paid by the State; the area of obligation is extended and the mediation entrusted to the judge is enhanced. Assisted negotiation through lawyers is extended to labor disputes and to those concerning the custody and maintenance of children born out of wedlock; the spouses are then allowed to agree on a lump sum allowance with assisted negotiation during the divorce. Arbitration is enhanced by strengthening the guarantees of impartiality of the arbitrators and by giving them, if the parties agree, the power to issue precautionary measures.
As for the simplification of the procedure, in the trial of first instance, in order to ensure that the case reaches the first hearing already defined, intermediate terms are introduced after the introductory documents to define the questions, exceptions and requests for proof. In this way, at the first hearing, the judge will be able to give the case its course: admit the evidence, immediately return it to decision, send the parties to mediation. I am ‘useless’ hearings are suppressed, and the telematic innovations introduced during the covid emergency are stabilized: hearings with written discussion and remote hearings. Among the novelties of the first instance trial there is also the immediate order of acceptance or rejection, which can be claimed and not suitable for res judicata.
As regards the appeal, the possibility of suspending the effectiveness of the first instance sentence and rationalization of the ‘filter’ is envisaged. of the rites, the abolition of the filter section, the reduction of the hypotheses of decision with public hearing. The preliminary reference to the Supreme Court is then introduced, the possibility for the judge to directly invest the Court in the hypothesis of new, particularly important issues of pure law, which present serious interpretative difficulties, and have a serial character.
Simplification also for judgments on employment matters. The double track created by the Fornero law is abolished, with a single procedure for dismissals and the provision of a preferential path for dealing with the issue of possible reintegration into the workplace with respect to other related issues. Preferential lane and in the same judgment, for any further questions of an economic nature or compensation.
It comes then enhanced credit protection in the enforcement process: the reduction of some terms of the enforcement procedure, simplifications in the expropriation procedure from third parties, the possibility in real estate expropriations of extensive powers to the professionals in charge of assisting the judges are envisaged. Introduced the so-called ‘vente privée’ or the sale of the property by the same debtor and the ‘astreintes’ (pecuniary measures of indirect coercion for the case of non-compliance with terms or activities) also in the executive process.
Many news regarding the family. The reform provides for a unitary rite in place of the fragmentation of the various proceedings and the safeguards in cases of family and domestic violence are enhanced to safeguard the victims. Enhancement also of family mediation and of the figure of the special curator to protect the minor when there is a risk of harm to the minor. The Tribunal for persons, minors and families is established: district courts and, as a central body, a district court. The juvenile courts are not suppressed, but transformed into the latter new and central articulations, to enhance their specializations.
The Court of Families will also be supported by a Trial Office, made up of honorary judges, whose skills will be an added value for both the district and district offices. Uniform, organic and coherent procedural rules are also introduced for the juvenile trial, for a more solid guarantee of the rights of the parties: adversarial, respect for times, content and filing of documents, powers of the judge. it affects the substantive family law but increases the guarantees in the relative judgments.
The new rules make it possible to encourage the speed of proceedings for women victims of violence and for minors: for this reason, first investigations, even summary ones, are now made possible for the civil judge to verify the violence, and the possibility of protective measures. News for the process of custody of minors and the removal of the violent spouse. In cases of violence – which emerged in civil proceedings – the judge until now had no tools for evaluation, but referred to the criminal judge, with inevitable lengthening of time and risks for the victims of violence. Now we introduce the need for immediate coordination between judicial authorities: the civil judge can link up with the criminal judge if he finds traces of violence, for example in cases of separation. And in turn, the prosecutor must inform the civil judge of any acts against the violent spouse. For the protection of women, in cases of economic inferiority, it is envisaged that if there is an economically weak party, the judge can ask the judge that part of the income be made available to him.