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Civil Law in Italy

Civil Law in Italy

Updated on Thursday 16th January 2020

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The Civil Code in Italy contains elements from older and trustworthy rules of law, such as the Roman law, Napoleonic Civil Code, the German laws and the Italian Constitution that came into force in 1948. The present Civil Code also contains parts of the regulations of the former Kingdom of Sardinia; our team of Italian lawyers can provide an in-depth presentation on the main sources of law on which the Italian legislation is based upon.
 

The characteristics of the Italian civil law 

 
A series of courts form the actual judicial system in Italy and every type of the Italian courts is part of the national network. The Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest court in Italy and there are special courts, such as the administrative and military courts. The legal system in Italy is very complex and sometimes there are certain contradictory provisions between different laws regarding the same subject.
 
Because of such complex procedures of the judicial system, a case held in an Italian court can be resolved in several years, depending on its conditions, but it is important to know that similar situations are also available in other European countries. 
 
In order to avoid this type of situation, both natural persons and legal entities should become familiar with the local legislation related to the commercial or civil law. At the same time, foreigners are advised to request for legal assistance when concluding important contracts or when the procedures of the law are not very clear. Our Italian law firm can represent foreign businessmen and foreign natural persons in front of any court of law in Italy, for a wide range of legal cases, from inheritance matters to cases related to commercial matters (breach of contract, legal issues between companies and others). 
 
The civil courts in Italy are entitled to solve legal issues that may appear between private entities or between private ones and Italian public administration. The mission of the administrative courts is to protect the private interests in connection with the public interests and to control the way that public funds are spend; our Italian law firm can offer more details on the local courts. 
 

What is the structure of the Italian Civil Code? 

 
The Italian Civil Code prescribes a wide range of regulations, which are structured in books, sections, chapters and articles. This legal act also prescribes the hierarchy of the main Italian rules of law. It is necessary to know that the main source of law in Italy is the Italian Constitution, followed by the constitutional laws. 
 
Considering that the country is a member state of the European Union (EU), the next source of law is the EU legislation. Other primary sources of law prescribed by the Italian Civil Code are the following: the ordinary law, the legislative decrees and the regional legislation. Our team of lawyers in Italy can provide more information on any other sources of law applicable in this country. The Italian Civil Code is divided as follows: 
 
  • Book I – Articles 1 to 455 (it regulates matters related to natural persons and family);
  • Book II – Articles 456 to 809 (it regulates legal rights and procedures on succession);
  • Book III – Articles 810 to 1172 (it refers to property matters);
  • Book IV – Obligations (Articles 1173 to 2059) and Book V – Work (Articles 2060 to 2642);
  • Book VI – Articles 2643 to 2969 (it regulates aspects referring to the protection of rights).  

 

What are the regulations on companies stipulated by the Italian Civil Code? 

 
The stipulations concerning the registration of companies in this country are also presented by the Italian Civil Code. The act prescribes the main types of companies that can be registered by local and foreign investors, the obligations and the rights of the company’s founders, the procedures that must be followed when closing down an Italian business and numerous others. The basic information that can be found in the Italian Civil Code on local companies is presented below: 
 
  • company limited by shares – it prescribes matters such as the legal requirements on the contributions of the shareholders, the shareholders’ meetings, amendments of the articles of association and others;
  • the limited partnership by shares and the limited liability company; 
  • the Civil Code in Italy also prescribes the manner in which investors can close down a joint stock company;
  • the act also stipulates legal requirements on the coordination of companies registered in Italy;
  • investors can also find information on the procedures that have to be followed in case of a merger in Italy;
  • the same act provides the legal framework for companies operating in Italy, which were constituted in a foreign jurisdiction.  

 

What is the structure of the Italian court system? 

 
Earlier in this article, we have presented basic information on the Italian court system. Our team of Italian lawyers has prepared a short presentation on the structure of the court system in Italy, which can be useful to those who are not familiarized with it. However, in the case in which an Italian citizen or a foreigner needs legal representation in a local court, our law firm in Italy can easily provide legal counselling. When referring to the Italian court system, it is necessary to know that the following are available: 
 
  • the court system in Italy is comprised of three main pillars; 
  • thus, there are courts of first instance, courts of second instance and courts of third instance;
  • the legal system in Italy is based on four types of jurisdictions;
  • they are represented by the following – the civil matters, criminal matters, juvenile matters and penal matters;
  • for each of these categories, there are special courts to which parties can address. 
 
Thus, for legal matters related to the civil law, parties can address to a first instance court – Justice of the Peace; second instance matters can be handled in the Italian Tribunal or in the Court of Appeal, while third instance cases can be heard in the Supreme Court. Our law firm in Italy can provide in-depth advice on the legal procedures that must be followed when entering a civil trial.  
 
Cases related to the criminal branch of the Italian law can be heard in the same courts that we mentioned for civil matters, while juvenile cases can be first heard in the Juvenile Court. The courts of second instance available for juvenile cases operate under a Specialized Section of the Court of Appeal, while third instance cases can be heard in the Supreme Court.  
 

What are the main regulations of the Civil Code?

 
The Civil Code in Italy contains regulations related to commercial activities and the requirements for opening a company, they are also prescribed by the provisions of the Italian Civil Code. This Code provides regulations referring to the commercial activities carried out in Italy.
 
The Act prescribes the main stipulation for the incorporation of a company, the main types of companies which are recognized under the local legislation, the legal requirements of the statutory documents of the company and many others. The rules and regulations are stated under the articles 2325-2510. Depending on the type of activity developed in Italy, companies may also need to apply for business permits and specific authorizations. At the same time, import-export activities will require an EORI number, and our lawyers can assist with advice on how to conclude these procedures. 
 

The legal system in Italy 

 
The Italian legal system is based on the rules provided by the Civil Code, which prescribes the main powers in the state. The pillars of the legal system in Italy are comprised of the following: the legislative power – represented by the Parliament, the executive power – represented by the Government and the judicial power – which has a special role in the system, in the sense that it can’t be subjected by other legal power of the state. 
 
Persons who are interested in receiving more information on the rules and regulations provided by the Italian Civil Code can contact our Italian lawyers, who can provide legal assistance for a wide range of legal actions prescribed by the civil legislationOur law firm in Italy can represent both natural persons and legal entities in various types of cases, including in litigation cases.