Italy’s Mediation Law: An Overview

The Italian experience in mediation regulation provides a comprehensive view of the various types of mediation and the effectiveness of the various mediation frameworks employed over time.

From the late 1990s through 2016, Italy has undergone five different mediation regulatory phases:

  1. Voluntary mediation with no regulation of mediation service providers (from the late 1990s to 2004).
  2. Voluntary mediation before accredited mediation providers for company disputes (from 2005-2011).
  3. Mandatory mediation in certain civil and commercial dispute matters and voluntary recourse to mediation for the majority of other disputes. In order to implement European Directive 2008/52/EC, the Italian legislator enacted Legislative Decree no. 28/2010 making a full mediation a condition precedent for trial in certain subject matters (in place 4 March 2011 to 20 October 2012).
  4. Voluntary mediation (from 20 October 2012 to 20 September 2013). Italy’s return to a fully voluntary mediation system for all civil and commercial disputes resulted from an October 2012 decision by the Italian Constitutional Court holding that Legislative Decree no. 28/2010 was unconstitutional for procedural reasons. The Court did not issue a substantive opinion on the mandatory mediation process, leaving the matter to the legislator.
  5. A required initial mediation session (from 20 September 2013 to present). In response to a drastic drop in