- Posted by Massimo Mellaro
Service of a legal act on a friend of the addressee under Italian law, is this possible?
Service of an act is a specific procedure regulated by the Italian code of civil procedure according to which an administrative or judicial act is brought to the attention of the addressee. We can say that the service is actually a “delivery” procedure which, by virtue of the importance of the act, must comply with certain formalities in order to be valid.
The service must be carried out only by an authorized person, such as a bailiff, or a member of the municipal police.
As established by the Italian code of civil procedure, the service must be made within a specific time slot, i.e. it is not possible to serve a legal act before 7 am and later than 9 pm; for documents whose addressee is an individual, the code states that the service must be given directly to the recipient. Obviously, this will not always be possible, and in accordance with the Italian code of civil procedure, established in article 139, if the bailiff does not find the addressee at her/his home, or where she/he works, a copy of the document can be served on a family member or someone working for the family present in the house at the time of the service, or the document can be served on the person working for the intended recipient’s office or company. If none of these subjects are present, the delivery can also be made to the porter or to a neighbor if they are willing to accept the service; the concierge or neighbor must be over 14 years old and not obviously incapable.
Is the service valid if the act is handed to a friend?
In a recent decision, n. 9371 filed on 04 April 2019, the Italian High Court of Justice established once again that the service of a legal act on a friend is void since there is no presumption that the person who received the document will actually deliver the document to the addressee, as this person is present only occasionally at the recipient’s home. The Supreme Court clarifies that the relationship of kinship or affinity subsisting for a “family” member, on the other hand, can to justify the presumption that delivery of the deed to the addressee will follow.
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