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Prescription terms of claims in Italy

The time limit to submit a claim in front of court for civil and commercial disputes

The statute of limitations in civil and commercial disputes in Italy

The statute of limitation stated by Civil Code in Italy are different.


The ordinary prescription term is 10 year term, but there are also further shorter terms appointed by the Civil Code for specific cases.


Some rights are prescribed only in the event of non exercise of them for 20 years (so called usucapione), they concern rights on immovable properties of thirds; the rights over movable and immovable properties are subject to the prescriptions of 5 or 10 years.


The prescription term of 5 years concerns:


- claim to declare void a contract;

- claim for compensation for damage as consequence of an illegal act;

- avoidance action for annulment of a contract (azione revocatoria);

- rights deriving from a shareholders agreement.


The prescription term of 1 year concerns:


- rights deriving from brokerage, shipping, transport contracts

- right to payment of the insurance premium;

The prescription term of 2 years concerns rights deriving from the insurance contract (excluding life insurance).

As per the provisions of article 2935 of the Civil Code, the limitation begins to run from the day on which the right can be claimed.

As per provisions of article 2954 some credits are presumed prescribed in a shorter time:

- hotel or restaurant account is presumed to be prescribed in 6 months;

- 1 year for: remuneration of the teachers for the lessons they teach; workers if paid for periods not exceeding one month; price of the pension; price of education by keepers boarding school o house of education and training; bailiffs remuneration; price of goods sold by traders to non-traders; price of medicines;

- 3 years for: remuneration of the workers paid for periods longer than one month; remuneration of the professionals for the work provided and for the reimbursement of expenses; remuneration of notaries; remuneration of the teachers for the lessons taught for a longer time of one month.


Some rights, however, are considered imprescriptible, such as:


- the unavailable rights, such as the rights of the personality and those concern family relationship;

- the nullity action of the contract (save the case of healing transcription;

- the absolute simulation action;

- the claim action for right of ownership.


The agreements by which the parties intend to modify the statute of limitations are null and void.

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