The Supreme Court of Cassation recently addressed a supply contract between two parties that contained a ritual arbitration clause. Pursuant to the clause, an arbitration proceeding had been commenced, which had resulted in the defendant being ordered to pay damages. The defendant had subsequently appealed the arbitral decision for alleged violation of the procedural rules, despite the fact that appeals for the violation of substantive rules are precluded by legislation and case law.
The Supreme Court of Cassation recently found that parties alleging nullity of an arbitral award for the late delivery of the decision must notify the other parties and arbitrators before the award's deliberation pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure. The decision strongly reaffirms a general principle of primary importance regarding arbitration under the code.
The Supreme Court of Cassation recently examined the relationship between real estate leasing agreements and mandatory mediation in banking and finance agreements. Basing its decision on Article 5 of Legislative Decree 28/2010, which provides that mandatory mediation must be attempted in banking and finance agreements, the court found that in legal proceedings regarding real estate leasing agreements, it is not mandatory to attempt mediation.
In a recent decision the Supreme Court of Cassation – while addressing a question relating to the ritual or non-ritual nature of an arbitration clause – seized the opportunity to reaffirm that the decision of a judge on the validity and effectiveness of an arbitration clause for non-ritual arbitration is not appealable before the Supreme Court of Cassation on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction.
With Decision 136/2020, the Transport Regulatory Authority has once again addressed the regulatory models for airport charges, introducing significant amendments that companies which manage Italian airports open to commercial traffic of passengers, cargo and mail must follow. The authority is the independent national entity responsible for the oversight, regulation and negotiation of airport charges between airport managing companies on the one hand and airport users (airlines and operators) on the other.
The Supreme Court recently issued an important ruling on the liability and indemnity for damages caused during the supply of airport ground-handling services to airlines. The case originated from an accident suffered by a Boeing 767 aircraft operated by an Italian carrier at Verona Airport whose right wing hit the sliding gate of the hangar – where the aircraft was being recovered – during the towing phase conducted by one of the handling provider's trucks.
The government recently introduced additional measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of specific rules were introduced for the transport of airline passengers which must be complied with by airlines and airports to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Italy. The new rules will be in force until 17 May 2020, but they remain subject to extension or amendments in light of the continuously evolving scenario.
This article provides an overview of measures which the government has implemented over the past month to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to airports, air carriers, passenger claims and drones. As airlines have had to significantly reduce flights and many airports have been temporarily closed, the pandemic has had significant adverse effects for stakeholders at all levels.
The Supreme Court recently found that for gratuitous carriage not performed by an air transport undertaking, damage compensation rights do not expire within the two-year limitation period established by Article 35 of the Montreal Convention. In other words, when the relationship between parties is not regulated by a contract, the general principle of neminem laedere (ie, general duty of care) applies. As a result, the ordinary time-bar rules for liability in tort apply.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance recently launched a public consultation process on a draft decree setting out the rules for a fintech sector regulatory sandbox. The draft decree aims to promote technological innovation by allowing fintech companies to test new IT services and products in the financial, credit and insurance sectors under the supervision of the competent authorities for a limited period.
A recent reform introduced a non-possessory floating pledge to the Italian legal framework. Under the reform, the perfection of such security can take place without the delivery of a pledged asset to the secured creditor, thus introducing an important exception to the general legal framework. Similar to the floating charge structure, the absence of a dispossession requirement enables entrepreneurs to retain the availability of collateral which can be used in the course of the productive cycle.
Decree-Law 34 of 30 April 2019 introduced important amendments to the Italian securitisation framework. Securitisation special purpose vehicles can now play a more active role in the context of non-performing or unlikely-to-pay exposures. Further, a new breed of securitisation has been introduced, where the issuer's obligations are backed by real estate properties (or registered moveable assets) and related cash flows, as opposed to a portfolio of monetary claims.
The government recently extended the duration of the guarantee on the securitisation of non-performing loans, subject to European Commission clearance. The extension represents a welcome measure to strengthen the stability of the Italian banking system and support, without interruption, the process of reducing the stock of non-performing loans and developing a secondary market for them.
The government recently issued Decree-Law 22/2019, which is aimed at ensuring the security, financial stability and integrity of financial markets in the event of a so-called 'hard Brexit'. Under the decree-law, UK banks that carry out activities subject to mutual recognition on the United Kingdom's withdrawal date can continue carrying out their activities in Italy by serving notice to the Bank of Italy. Further, Italian branches of UK banks may continue to carry out their activities by serving notice to the Bank of Italy.
The Rome Court of Appeal recently ruled on a Russian roulette clause included in a shareholders' agreement which had been entered into on a 50:50 basis. The validity of Russian roulette clauses has been disputed as several scholars consider them to be against the mandatory provisions of company law relating to a shareholder's withdrawal from a company and their assessment.
The Supreme Court of Cassation recently ruled on the revocation of the board chair of a listed company controlled by a public entity shareholder. The court clarified the concept of just cause with regard to directors' revocation under Article 2383 of the Civil Code. The court also stated that directors' revocation must be specifically provided for in the shareholders' meeting resolution. If the company cannot prove the revocation's just cause, the director must be compensated for damages borne.
The reimbursement of shareholder loans to a company and the reimbursement of loans made by companies belonging to the same group are postponed until other company creditors have been reimbursed if there is an excessive imbalance between the financed company's debt and its net equity or if its financial situation would be better improved through a capital increase. However, in light of the COVID-19 emergency, these norms have been suspended for loans made between 9 April 2020 and 31 December 2020.
Law Decree 76/2020 was recently enacted as part of Italy's strategy to simplify some of its bureaucratic procedures and, among other things, ease the requirements which apply to companies that wish to increase their share capital. The law decree has introduced significant facilitative measures regarding share capital increases, including a significantly lower quorum for enacting shareholder resolutions which affect share capital increases.
The Court of Milan recently examined the simul stabunt simul cadent clause in a joint stock company's articles of association. Pursuant to such clause, if a director resigns from the board of directors, the entire board is no longer in charge of the company and a shareholders' meeting must be called to appoint a new board. If the ousted director proves that this clause has been used illicitly and that such use amounts to an abuse of power by the company, they can be compensated for damages suffered.
Decree-Law 104/2020 recently introduced a new opportunity for Italian companies to step up the cost of tangible and intangible assets (real estate and other immovable properties which are built or for resale are excluded) and participation in controlled and associated companies included in financial statements as of 31 December 2019. Therefore, for taxpayers for which the fiscal year matches the calendar year, the revaluation option can be exercised for the fiscal year ending 31 December 2020.
The government recently published Decree-Law 18/2020, the so-called 'Heal Italy' decree-law, which entered into force immediately. Article 55 of the decree-law entitles companies (not only banks and financial institutions, but also industrial and commercial companies) willing to dispose of non-performing loan portfolios and unlikely-to-pay exposures by 31 December 2020 to claim a conversion of deferred tax assets into tax credits, thus increasing their cash flow during this period.
In order to face the COVID-19 emergency, the government has issued Decree-Law 18/2020, a package of extraordinary measures to strengthen the national health service and provide financial and economic support to families, workers and companies. The decree-law entered into force on 17 March 2020 and will be converted into law, with potential amendments, by Parliament within 60 days of its adoption. This article summarises the main tax measures included in the decree-law.
In December 2019 Parliament passed the Budget Law for 2020 and a related tax law decree. Most of the new provisions apply from 1 January 2020 or will become applicable in 2020. For example, as of 2020, the tax on financial instruments held abroad and on foreign real estate also apply to non-commercial entities (including trusts and foundations) and certain Italian tax-resident partnerships. This article summarises the main changes applicable to corporate entities.
The recently passed Growth Decree has introduced a number of tax provisions which apply to various sectors. In particular, the decree-law has extended the super depreciation regime to investments in new tangible assets in certain circumstances, introduced a corporate income tax reduction on reinvested earnings and restored tax incentives for business combinations, allowing companies involved in mergers, demergers or business combinations to get a free tax step-up in the book value of relevant assets up to €5 million.