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Appeals against judgments handed down by justices of the peace in equity

As is well known, article 339, paragraph three of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Legislative Decree no. 40 dated February 2, 2006, provides that Judgments handed down by Justices of the Peace in equity in accordance with Article 113, paragraph two, can be appealed solely on the grounds of having violated Italian civil procedure rules, constitutional provisions, European Union provisions or general principles governing the case at hand.

It may be recalled that, under the legislation that was previously in force, judgments handed down by justices of the peace in equity were not appealable.

In its current wording, article 339 provides that such judgments can be appealed, but only for limited reasons, and namely:

a) violation of civil procedure rules;

b) violation of constitutional provisions;

c) violation of European Union provisions;

d) violation of general principles governing the case at hand..

An appeal can, therefore, be lodged within strictly defined limits (cfr, as regards Italian legal scholars, TARZIA G., Features of the Italian civil trials, Milan 2009).

It is also helpful to specify that this does not apply to all the judgments handed down in equity, but only those handed down in accordance with article 113 Civil Procedure Code, and namely, those of so-called necessary equity, which arise, under article 113 Code of Civil Procedure, when the justice of the peace decides ex aequo et bono disputes whose value does not exceed 1,100 Euros (with the exception of those arising from legal relationships relating to contracts executed in accordance with article 1342 of the Italian Civil Code).

Only judgments handed down according to necessary equity  are appealable pursuant to article 339 of the Code of Civl Procedure.

For the purposes of determining the value thereof, it is useful to recall a recent decision which has clarified how only the value of a dispute may be determined by applying by way of analogy the rules laid down in Article 10  and ff. of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure on the jurisdiction of Italian civil courts (Supreme Court judgment no. 9432/2012)

Having said this, it must be pointed out that a judgment handed down in equity may be challenged by filing an appeal before a court of second instance and not before the Italian Supreme Court (cfr. Supreme Court Judgment No. 4036/2012).

If however, the judgment was delivered before the entry into force of the new version of article 339 in 2006, the procedural rules that were previously in force will be applied, which provide for an appeal to be lodged before the Italian Supreme Court against judgments handed down in equity (Cfr. Supreme Court judgment No. 8197/2013)

This post is also available in: Italian

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