Statute of limitations, Nordio reform approved by the Chamber Justice Commission

Examination of the amendments to the bill concluded. The text is expected in the Chamber on November 6th. The proposed modification provides for a suspension of the statute of limitations for 24 months after the conviction at first instance and for 12 months after confirmation of the conviction on appeal

The House Judiciary Committee concluded its examination of the amendments to the bill on the statute of limitations in an overnight session. The modification proposal developed by the majority and then presented by the rapporteurs Enrico Costa (Az) and Andrea Pellicini (FdI) also passed. The first amendment which bore the signature of the three center-right group leaders in the Commission, but which did not convince FI, was instead withdrawn. Today the mandate will be given to the rapporteur and the text is expected in the Chamber on 6 November.

The proposed amendment

The proposed amendment that was approved was the result of the second and final agreement reached between the justice leaders of the majority: the undersecretary Andrea Delmastro (FdI), the president of the Senate Justice Commission Giulia Bongiorno (Lega) and the deputy minister Francesco Paolo Sisto (FI). The main aspect of the amendment, if the provision becomes law, is the provision of a suspension of the statute of limitations for 24 months after the conviction in first instance and for 12 months after the confirmation of the conviction in appeal. If the appeal sentence does not occur within the expected time frame, the statute of limitations will resume its course and the previous suspension period will also be calculated. Even in the event of a subsequent acquittal or annulment of the conviction on appeal or at the Court of Cassation, the period in which the trial was suspended will be calculated for the purposes of the statute of limitations. In short, it is a substantial return to the law that was approved when Andrea Orlando (Pd) was Minister of Justice. A radical change compared to the Pittalis text which effectively proposed a return to the ex-Cirielli law which, approved in 2005, drastically accelerated the prescription times. In 2017, Orlando tried to extend the time again, effectively providing a bonus of 2 years for the judgment in the Appeal and one year for the Supreme Court. But the law was never able to exert its effects because in 2019 the new Keeper of the Seals, Alfonso Bonafede (M5S), made another reform according to which the statute of limitations was no longer calculated after a first degree sentence or a conviction decree. In 2021, the new Minister of Justice, Marta Cartabia, changed things again by establishing that there was no time limit in the first instance, but the appeal process could not last more than 2 years, while the limit for the judgment in the Supreme Court it was one year. For more complex disputes you can reach a maximum of 3 years in Appeal and 18 months in Cassation. But now everything changes again and we return to the approach of the Orlando reform. Among the doubts raised by the opposition is that the Cartabia legislation had been agreed with the EU Commission and is in fact linked to the Pnrr.