The Italian Parliament approved a law, No. 31 of April 18, 2019, that thoroughly reformed class action. Class action now can be brought not only by consumers, but by all persons entitled to seek compensation for damages from a company or an entity in charge of a public service; the action can be undertaken as long as there is a class, i.e., there are “homogeneous individual rights” that have been damaged.
Law No. 31/2019 was meant to enter into force on April 19, 2020, 12 months after its publication. However, at the end of last year, under Decree No. 162/2019 (known as “Milleproroghe”), that term was extended to 19 months, i.e., the law was scheduled to enter into force on November 19, 2020.
This long vacatio legis was necessary for the Ministry of Justice to set up a portal where all pending class actions would be presented; moreover, the law provides that the same ministry must draft three documents that are essential for the effectiveness of the law, concerning: (i) the form to be completed in order to join a class action, (ii) regulation of attorneys’ compensation, and (iii) a list of nonprofit organizations that may start class actions. Neither the portal nor the three documents are ready, and therefore, Decree No. 149 of November 9, 2020, sub Article 26, provides that the vacatio legis of Law 31/2019 will last 25 months, extending the term from November 19, 2020 to May 19, 2021.