Bruna Szego

The Inefficiency of Italian Civil Appeals: Rules of Procedures or Something Else?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: appeals, courts, adjudication

Italian civil procedure rules on appeals have been thoroughly changed since early Nineties, when different and subsequent reforms were introduced. Were these reforms effective? Did they tackle the right issues, or did they miss other important aspects? After reviewing the most important changes introduced by the reforms, we provide an empirical analysis of their outcome. The findings suggest that the reforms have produced limited effects: rates of appeal have only slightly decreased; reversal rates have remained high; time-lengths of proceedings are still critical. Drawing from the economic literature on the appeals' process, we offer possible explanations for this lack of success. We posit that inefficiencies are not (or not any more) due to inadequate rules of procedure but, rather, to other factors. Among all, we suggest that better "performance " of Italian judicial auditing might depend on improving the efficiency of the working methods inside single courts and on increasing predictability and uniformity of the Supreme Court's decisions. Both issues have been addressed in recent legislative reforms: time will tell whether the new rules are effective.

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