This article examines the proposal - outlined in the White Paper on the labour market of October 2001, but only recently enacted in the delegated legislation on employment and the labour market (Act No. 30/ 2003) - to make legislative provision for the "certification" or "validation" of the different forms of employment contract. Provided it does not simply give rise to bureaucratic obstacles, the certification process could help to bridge the gap between the reality of employment relations and the legal provisions relating to them, starting from the issue of how to characterise new forms of employment. By involving the social partners in validation procedures, certification appears to be perfectly compatible also with legislative policy that, in line with the development of measures of both a juridical and a non-juridical nature for matching the supply and demand for labour, aims to facilitate the collective mediation of labour interests. This mediation is currently limited due to the prevalence of judicial cases, but it could play a useful role starting from the initial stages of employment.