The Italian Government implements the directive on actions for damages for infringements of the competition law
On the 14th of January 2017 the Italian Government approved the legislative decree for the implementation of the EU directive n. 2014/104/UE on actions for damages for infringements of competition law.
The decree innovates the current legislation in many fields, the most important of which are briefly analyzed below.
A) Access to evidence and to the documents collected by a Competition Authority.
Considering the difficulties a claimant encounters proving the damages suffered for an antitrust infringement, the decree enables the court to order the defendant or a third party to exhibit the relevant documents which are in their possession.
In order to obtain the disclosure the claim needs to be plausible on the basis of the facts which are reasonably available to the claimant. However the Italian provision is blurred on this point. The request may to be aimed to obtain a category of evidence, without the need to specify the individual items of evidence.
Finally, it is possible for the court to order the exhibition of the documents collected by a Competition Authority during its proceedings.
This disclosure regime was already implemented by the Italian Supreme Court, which allowed a wider access to documents to the claimant in a case concerning a stand alone action for damages (decision n. 11564/2015).
B) Value of the decision of the Competition Authorities and time limitation regulation.
The decree establishes that a decision of a Competition Authority which found an antitrust infringement, when it is confirmed by administrative judges or it is not subject to be challenged, constitutes an evidence of the nature, and of the material, personal, temporal and territorial extension of the infringement.
Also, the law disposes that the time limitation period for damages claims begins to run on the day the infringement ceases.
C) Courts competent to rule on antitrust damage claims.
Finally, the decree establishes that only three Courts in Italy will have jurisdiction on antitrust damages claims (Milan, Rome and Naples) and in particular the chambers of these Courts specialized in business law.
This represents a great innovation in the legislation, considering that it could bring to the development of highly specialized Courts with a particular expertise in private antitrust enforcement.