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Debt Collection in Italy

Debt Collection in Italy

Debt collection is a suitable manner in which outstanding amounts can be recovered when dealing with bad taxpayers. In Italy, as in any other countries, one has the possibility of running into a company or individual failing to comply with their financial obligations which is why debt collection proceedings have been put in place in order to facilitate the recovery of any financial claims. There are two phases to the debt collection procedure in Italy: the first one is the extrajudicial phase, which is also known as the amicable debt recovery procedure, and the second one is the judicial phase which implies going to trial before an Italian court of justice. An amicable settlement is always preferred to the judicial phase because it is less time and money consuming.

 Quick Facts  
 In which cases is debt collection in Italy required?  When creditors want to recover their money from various clients/collaborators/companies etc.


 Civil Procedure Code in Italy, Article 480

When do debt collection proceedings start? 

 When financial obligations are not undertaken.

Phases of the debt collection process in Italy     Extrajudicial and judicial phases
 Can debt collection be made through amicable procedure? (YES/NO)  


 Is the amicable procedure successful in Italy?

Yes, because, in most cases, debt collection is made without involving a court of law in Italy. 


 Made through an amicable procedure when parties involved agree on new payment terms.

 What happens in case of liquidation or bankruptcy?  

 Debt collection is made through the court of law where new conditions of payment are established.

 How is the debtor announced by the creditor?  

Through debt collection lawyers who send a notice in this sense 

 Time frame to pay the debts after notification    10 days
 What happens if the debtor does not respond to the notice received?   

Our debt collection attorneys in Italy can present the respective case to the court of law for specific proceedings. 

 Court decision in debt collection cases 

 A decree is issued. The debtor must make a payment in no more than 40 days from the date of the respective decree. 

 What is an enforceable decree or executive formula?  

 An injunction decree filed by the court of law

 Time frame for debt collection cases in Italy  

From 4 months to 3 years (for complex cases) 

 Working with our Italian debt collection lawyers   We have experience in debt collection cases and represent creditors through the entire process until the money is received. 

The suitable manner for collecting the due amount will have to do with multiple issues, concerning the status of the debtor, whether a natural or legal person and, in the latter scenario, whether or not it is undergoing liquidation or bankruptcy.

The creditor can choose work with a debt collection agency or a debt collection lawyers, such as the experts from our team. Again, the choice can depend on the particularities of the case and whether or not there an attachment is placed on the assets of the debtor, (a situation in which it is preferable to work with a lawyer).

Our team of debt collection specialists in Italy have experience in both extrajudicial recoveries as well as the enforcement of court decisions for the attachment of assets. Our services include complete assistance for debt collection in Italy and we can assist creditors from outside of the country who are interested in collecting amounts from local debtors.

Amicable debt recovery in Italy

Amicable debt recovery in Italy often implies recurring to the services of debt collection agencies. The standard procedure in amicable debt collection procedures begins by demanding the debtor to pay the outstanding amount. It is very important for the demand to be made both in written and by telephone. If the creditor receives no answer from the debtor, they can request the assistance of Italian lawyers who will draft an injunction letter. The letter will act as an out-of-court notice which informs the debtor they must pay the outstanding amount. The letter must contain:

  • the principal amount owed,
  • the interest,
  • the late interest,
  • the legal fees.

The debtor is also informed the amount must be paid within 7 or 10 days from receiving the letter.

In summary, an extrajudicial debt recovery process will include the following stages:

  • Step one: collect the necessary information on the nature of the payment, existing contracts, invoices, etc.
  • Step two: our team will prepare the initial demand or reminder letter in which we set out a pre-determined timeframe for the payment.
  • Step three: send out the second letter demanding payment that also includes a formal notice for the commencement of the legal procedures in the event of noncompliance.
  • Step four: in the event in which the debtor does not respond, our team will take the case to court.
  • Step five: oversee the enforcement procedure that will include the court-ordered collection of debt by attaching the debtor’s assets.

If the debtor is ready to make the due payment after the fourth step, our agents will handle the payment process and the payment installments if such agreed. In some case, we can decide on drawing up a binding agreement for the payment of the debt.

When the negotiation with the debtor fails or if he is not responding to the reminders and the notifications, then the creditor can, together with our team of debt collection lawyers in Italy, initiate the judicial phase as described below.

Judicial debt recovery proceedings in Italy

If the owned amount could not be recovered through an amicable procedure, the second step will be to initiate legal proceedings against the debtor. All legal actions in case of debt collection are carried out by an Italian court of justice. Judicial debt collection procedures are usually handled by an Italian attorney who will submit all the relevant documents and file a petition with the court. After a few days, the court will issue an order for the debtor to pay. The order has a 40-day validity period. If the debtor does not pay, they will be issued with an enforceable decree for the execution of movable or immovable assets, such as real estate property, in order to recover the amount owed.

The enforcement of a court decision in Italy is a step that can be assisted by one of our lawyers. In practice, this is a step that takes place with the supervision of the bailiff, who with see that the attachment of the assets takes place within 90 days following the date on which the enforcement order was served. It is important to note that the attachment cannot commence before this period and that it has a statute of limitations and it can lapse. Legal representation is required during this stage and our team of debt collection lawyers in Italy can assist creditors.

In some situations, enforcement is the manner in which the creditor can claim his due assets and have the guarantee that the debtor will make the due payment, as it is forced by court order. However, this is not a measure through which the creditor has unlimited access to the debtor’s assets. Our team of agents who specialize in debt collection in Italy can help creditors understand the limitations that may apply.

For example, the following types of assets cannot be seized:

  • sacred objects like the ones used for practicing a recognized religion
  • household items, clothes, wedding rings, appliances, utensils (except for valuable furniture);
  • food and fuel necessary for the debtor to sustain himself;
  • weapons, decorations, letters, family papers;
  • state-owned property cannot be attached.

As far as the debtor’s immovable property is concerned, the real estate can be seized and then assigned to the creditor or sold. In some cases, the goods from third parties will also be repossessed.

The actual debt collection process, the limitations and the documents that need to be drawn up and presented will differ from one case to the other.

Recognition of an EU Court Decision in Italy

The enforcement of foreign judgments in Italy is possible by means of the applicable EU legislation and other bilateral treaties and conventions. As far as court decision issued in another member state are concerned, the EU regulations will apply in Italy without any express need for an implementation regulation. This means that the case will be enforced automatically in Italy, as it is possible across the other EU states. The competent court in the district where the debtors are based will be the one to handle the case.

The recognition of an EU court decision in Italy can take place as per a European Small Claims Procedure or a European Payment Order. One of our agents who specialize in debt collection in Italy can advise individuals who wish to recover debts from an Italian natural or legal person on the most suitable approach for each case.

In most situations, a European Payment Order will determine the debtor to comply with the payment claim. However, when he does not make the payment after this step, then the creditor is allowed to request the aid of the local enforcement authorities. Our agents can assist creditors in this situation. Below, we discuss the main manners in which an EU Court Decision can be recognized and enforced in Italy, as well as the general steps that are used for debt recovery in Italy, which at the very beginning of the process may involve non-legal procedures.

The European Order for Payment Proceedings

The European Order for Payment Proceedings is used in case of an uncontested commercial and civil claims between two parties based in EU member states. When the order is enforced in Italy, the debtor is an Italian company or individual and the creditor can be a company based in another EU state.

The process of obtaining the order is a simple one, and can be outlined as below:

  • File a claim: the creditor needs to complete a standard form and submit it to court.
  • Wait for a response: the debtor has thirty days to offer a response or contest the order.
  • Transfer the case: this is only applicable when the debtor contests the order; then it is transferred to an ordinary civil court in Italy.
  • Enforce the case: if the debtor does not respond in thirty days, the order becomes enforceable.
  • Recover the debt: with an enforceable instrument, the creditors can commence the enforcement process and the seizure of assets.

One of our agents who specialize in debt collection in Italy can give you more information about these steps.

A foreign creditor can also file a claim against an Italian individual or business as per the European Small Claims Procedure when the value of the claim does not exceed 5,000 euros. The claim once filled in and with the supporting documentation attached can be sent to the competent court in Italy.

The EU Regulation 2015/2421, also known as the European Small Claims Procedure, and the Brussels I Regulation (Recast) are two important legal resources for the mutual enforcement and recognition of judgments between EU member states. One of our debt collection lawyers in Italy can provide interested individuals with comprehensive information about the EU legislation.

Enforcement of a court decision in Italy

In debt collection cases, the creditor who has yet received his payment may ask that the court enforces that decision for the payment. This is a measure that should be used by complying with the judgment issued against the debtor and it takes place according to the national legislation, rules, and regulations.

Our agents who specialize in debt collection in Italy can help entrepreneurs who need to execute a court judgment. In cross border debt collection cases, our specialists can provide adequate information on the different European procedures that can apply, depending on the nature of the case. In most situations, when the debtor has assets in Italy, the local rules for enforcement will apply and this is when our agents can provide you with adequate assistance.

What is the enforcement procedure in Italy?

Like in other states, the enforcement of a court decision in Italy takes place when a court judgment needs to be forcedly executed. This is a stage when the process is still under judicial proceedings and the authorities in Italy intervene if the debtor fails to meet his already indicated obligations in a timely manner.

Ordinary courts in Italy may handle the enforcement in Italy. The process includes the following stages:

  • Obtaining the enforceable title: this is the right to enforce the execution of a certain amount, depending on the title.
  • The debtor is served the enforceable title: this is the enforceable copy and the enforcement order, an injunction on the debtor to comply.
  • Attachment: this phase is handled by the bailiff and it takes place within 90 days of the date the enforcement order was served.

Forced execution: the aim is to go through with the forced execution of the unfulfilled obligations by the debtor at the end of the phase.

What types of assets are subject to enforcement?

The debtor may be forced to deliver both movable and immovable property during this stage. This can mean that he might be expropriated. The assets owned by him, kept on the premises of third parties, may also be executed. The shares that he owns in companies can also be subject to this procedure.

The enforcement of EU judgments in Italy is governed by the Recast Brussels Regulation along with other regulations currently in force. Non-EU judgments are subject to enforcement according to the International Private Law, which states that for a foreign judgment to be recognized, it must comply with the applicable requirements of the judicial system in Italy. In some situations, the enforcement can be that of an arbitral award and for this purpose, the court is generally required to review this award and grant a declaration.

Contact our team of agents who specialize in debt collection in Italy for complete details about how we can assist during the enforcement action.