Dedicated website for court-ordered sales, authorised by the Ministry of Justice

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Glossary


A B C D E F G I J L M N O P R S T U V W
A
  • Access to administrative documents

    Every citizen has the right to review and request a copy of the administrative documents in which such person has an interest, in the manner and under the terms established by law (Article 22 of Law no. 241, 1990). This right is recognised in order to allow for transparency in the administrative process. The only exception to this general rule are “classified” documents. The method of exercising this access right, as well as the exceptions are listed in Regulation no. 352 (27 June 1992).

  • Administrative-processing fees

    A refund requested by the bank for administrative processing and formalities needed to disburse the loan.

  • Adoption

    Adoption is the legal act whereby a person (the adoptee) becomes the legal child of another person (the adoptive parent) even if the former was not the offspring of the latter. Adoption creates a parent-child legal bond between persons who are not biologically related. Various legal systems fall under the term “adoption”. To wit, the Italian legal system allows for, and governs, adoption of minor children (restricted, with a few exceptions, to married couples), as well as for the adoption of those who have reached the age of majority.

  • Advance agreement among creditors

    The aim of the creditors’ agreement is for the debtor, with the creditors’ consent, to avoid bankruptcy when certain criteria are met. The business owner facing a crisis, or insolvency, may submit a petition to the Court of the circuit in which the business's main office is located, to approve a settlement proposal with the aim of grouping and minimising the debtor’s existing exposures. During the creditor-agreement procedure, the debtor continues to administer their assets and run the company, albeit under the supervision of the court-appointed receiver.

  • Adversary proceedings

    Adversary proceedings are a tool at the Trustee in Bankruptcy's disposal that allows for the trustee to rebuild the debtor’s estate in order to meet the claims of their creditors. The trustee does so through “clawback suits” to reclaim assets disposed during a look-back period. This allows the trustee to proceed against acts by the insolvent debtor that impacted the estate in a manner that violated the principle of equal treatment of similarly situated creditors. Using the adversary proceeding, the trustee can unwind all purported transfers, payments, and security interests put in place by the debtor during the year, or during the six months prior to bankruptcy being filed. Consequently, it requires third parties who obtained goods or money to disgorge what they have received, and where they have obtained security interests, to abate such interests from secured to unsecured status. However, for such unwinding to be allowed, the third party must have had actual notice of the debtor's insolvency at the time of the original transaction.

  • Adverse possession

    This is a means of acquiring property and all related use and enjoyment rights on the same by continuous possession of a property for a certain period of time. For real property, and for all real-property interests, continuous possession must be for twenty years. Bona fide purchasers of real estate or a property interest in the same, through an instrument sufficient to convey the property, and where the property has been properly deeded, secures adverse possession in his or her favour once ten years have elapsed from the issuance of the deed. Personal property recorded in public registers take three years of continuous possession to acquire in this manner. For personal property, absent an instrument sufficient to convey title, property is acquired by adverse possession following ten years of continuous possession by a bona fide purchaser, twenty years otherwise.

  • Allocation

    The lien-holding creditor, or other creditors taking part in the enforcement process can request allocation of the encumbered asset, thereby avoiding a forced sale of the same to satisfy the creditor’s credit. Allocation can only take place for an amount not less than the costs of enforcement, and for all liens senior to that of the offeror.

  • Alternative sentences

    These are measures introduced by the criminal reform bill (no. 354, 26 July 1975). These allow a felon to serve a portion or all of their term of punishment outside of prison or jail. The goal is to facilitate the felon's re-entry into civil society by taking them out of the prison environment. Alternative sentences include: supervised-probation with social services, unsupervised probation, house arrest and detention, parole. These are made available by the supervisory courts.

  • Alternative tax

    A withholding tax that replaces a series of other taxes applied directly by one party to a transaction to the detriment of another, and on behalf of the tax authorities. For first-home mortgages, the contract is subject to an alternative minimum tax levied at 0.25% of the loan amount (in lieu of the registration, mortgage, building-registry taxes, and state-subsidy fees). This type of tax is withheld directly by the bank, contemporaneously with disbursing the loan.

  • Amnesty for code violations

    It is possible to be granted amnesty for construction completed without proper permitting, or with a nonconforming permit.

  • Appeal

    This is a formal method of appeal to ask a first-tier judge's order to be overturned where it is believed, whether in whole or in part, to be unfair. Specifically, it prevents the judgement from becoming final, and it allows for a review of specific points on appeal, thereby allowing the new judgement to replace the appealed decision. An appeal likewise stops the appealed judgement from being executed (for criminal law, generally, see Article 650 of the Code of Criminal Procedure), unless the law allows for them to be temporarily enforceable (see, generally for civil matters: Article 282 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

  • Appeal

    This is a judicial remedy created to allow for the removal of a disadvantage created by a court order believed to be flawed, whether in whole or in part. Through the appeals process, one can ask for an appealed order to be reviewed by a judge other than the one who issued the order, thereby obtaining a new order.

  • Appellate Court of Assizes

    This court has appellate (second-tier) jurisdiction over judgements and verdicts handed down by the first-tier Court of Assizes.

  • Apportionment of assets

    Apportionment of assets is a division of the bankruptcy estate among creditors, or of the proceeds from the sale of the assets. This is an optional and non-necessary phase of the procedure, given that a bankruptcy case can be closed where there are no assets. All creditors whose proofs of claim have been certified may participate in the apportionment. As contemplated by legislation, apportionment takes place through partial apportionments, and then a final apportionment. Every partial-apportionment plan, drawn up by the Trustee in Bankruptcy, must be approved and made final by the enforcement judge. Final liquidation or apportionment takes place following the approval of the trustee’s accounting.

  • Appraisal report

    A written report on real property to be sold at auction, written by the court-appointed expert.

  • Appurtenances

    Appurtenance are items that are intended to be in the long-term service, or as long-term ornamentation on, something else. The legal documents and relationships to which the main res is subject also include the appurtenances, unless otherwise specified. Appurtenances can be the subject of separate legal documents and relationships. Examples of appurtenances: the garage or basement storage space allocated to a flat within a larger building.

  • Assessed value

    Assessed value or tariff on real property is an expression in legal tender of the average unitary income to be garnered from each unit, net of expenses, but before taxes and fees. Assessed value is determined by detailed calculation for each category and class of a certain number of similar real-property units.

B
  • Bailiff

    A judge or public prosecutor’s auxiliary officer who carries out operations as part of civil and criminal cases. In addition to other duties, the bailiff serves notice of process, drafts protests, handles evictions and repossessions.

  • Bankruptcy

    Bankruptcy is an insolvency proceeding aimed, through a liquidation of assets within the debtor’s estate, at an equitable distribution of creditors’ claims predicated on common consent. This procedure applies when the business owner is facing insolvency, meaning they are no longer able to meet their obligations as they come due. Bankruptcy procedure, more specifically, involves all of the debtor’s assets, and is based on the principle of equitable treatment of similarly situated creditors. Creditors’ claims must be satisfied in equal measure, except insofar as just cause for rights of seniority to apply.

  • Bankruptcy Court

    This is the court that declares a bankruptcy and institutes the related procedure, which it oversees with broad authority. It appoints, removes, and replaces the entities for the procedure, when an enforcement judge has not been appointed.

  • Blueprint

    Two-dimensional view of land surface; in terms of a building, it is a synonym of “map”, meaning it is a representation of the building to scale.

  • Building registry

    The building registry is an inventory of all real property existing within a country. Building registries are mainly kept for tax purposes. Other secondary functions come from the fact that building registries allow for property assessments to be reviewed, along with appraisals for all real property and parcels of land.

  • Building registry categories

    Categories are formed by identifying categories of real property in each area. Qualification is based on distinguishing real estate based on its ordinary and permanent use. Currently, building registry categories are as follows:
    Group A: Buildings intended for ordinary use
    Group B: Buildings intended for service-sector operations
    Group C: Commercial buildings
    GROUP D: Special-use buildings
    GROUP E: Designated-use buildings
    GROUP F: Urban areas

  • Building-registry certificate (or building-registry file search)

    A document issued by the District (Building Registry) Agency’s database on which the real property and the owner's business-registry data is recorded: sheet, map-section/parcel, cadastral subsection, number of rooms and/or surface area in m2 depending on the usage (e.g. residential: rooms; commercial: m2); assessed value, category, class, address, municipality abbreviation, owners’ personal details. The building registry title search includes all transfers of ownership, and any intervening changes on the property over time.

  • Business register search (or business register certificate)

    A document issued by the District (Building Registry) Agency’s database on which the real property and the owner's business-registry data is included: sheet, map-section/parcel, cadastral subsection, number of rooms and/or surface area in m2 depending on the usage (e.g. residential: rooms; commercial: m2); assessed value, category, class, address, municipality abbreviation, owners’ personal details. The building registry title search includes all transfers of ownership, and any intervening changes on the property over time.

C
  • Cadastral class

    The class within a category distinguishes real property based on the level of finishings, bathrooms and other service areas, and the number of rooms and their layout.

  • Certificate

    A legal document through which a government entity documents facts or certifies a right. To the extent permitted by law, certificates are also issued by individuals with public-interest functions (notaries, attorneys, physicians, etc.). The certificate provides absolute proof of what is stated therein, unless and until it is legally proven to be false.

  • Certifying a claim in bankruptcy

    Certifying a claim is an essential phase during an insolvency proceeding. It is aimed at identifying debts payable that must be paid from the bankruptcy estate. During this phase, the trustee in bankruptcy sets out to identify all creditors of the bankrupt person, and any person with a security interest or tenancy/estate interest in the bankruptcy estate assets. The trustee must notify such creditors that they can ask for their rights to be recognised. Creditors then file proof of claims in order to have their credits paid from the bankruptcy estate. Holders of security interests or other legal interests in real or personal property held by, or in the possession of, the debtor will then file claims on assets, or petitions to have assets surrendered, in order to excise them from the bankruptcy estate, thereby delineating the active component indented to satisfy all claims in bankruptcy. Following a review of all proofs of claim, a statement of enforceable liabilities is created in which all creditors approved to have their claims satisfied through the bankruptcy estate are identified, along with the holders of any secured or other interests to whom the related assets must be surrendered. The statement of enforceable liabilities may be appealed by any unadmitted or partially admitted creditors, as well as by anyone whose security or other interest in an asset in the bankruptcy estate was rejected, or by any trustee or creditor objecting to a certified claim.

  • Composition with creditors

    The proposal for a composition with creditors following bankruptcy may be submitted by the debtor, the creditors, or by a third party any time before the bankruptcy-closure order is issued. It is submitted in the form of a petition to the Enforcement Judge, and contains the offer of a percentage payment on all amounts owed to unsecured creditors, as well as a full payment on any privileged credits, and all procedural costs, the deadline by which discharge will take place, and a description of all guarantees offered for the payment of credits, procedural costs, and trustee fees. The proposal may include restructuring debts and satisfying credits in any form, whether by conveying assets, novation, or other extraordinary procedures, including assigning equity interests, shares, or bonds (including those that can be converted into stocks) or other financial or debt instruments to the creditors.

  • Compulsory administration

    Compulsory administration of large businesses in a state of insolvency is an insolvency procedure that aims to protect the company’s equity, unlike other insolvency proceedings (bankruptcy and administrative compulsory liquidation) where the goal is to liquidate its property. To wit, this procedure aims to recover and reorganise large businesses that find themselves in a state of insolvency, to avoid company equity being squandered and large numbers of jobs being lost.

  • Consent to lien release

    A statement from the bank that allows for a mortgage lien taken out with it to secure a paid debt to be released.

  • Constitutional Court

    This is an entity established by the Italian Constitution to: judge the constitutionality of all laws, meaning determining whether the laws conform to what the Constitution says; resolve conflict-of-jurisdiction situations between Italian state authorities (from the legislative, administrative, and judicial branches), as well as disputes between the Italian state and the regions, or among the regions; determine whether any referendum to appeal a law is admissible; to the extent permitted by law, hand down a criminal conviction against the President of the Republic. It is composed of fifteen justices serving nine-year terms: Five are appointed by the President of the Republic of Italy, five by the Parliament during an ordinary session, five by top-level ordinary and administrative judges. Every three years, the Constitutional Court justices elect a presiding judge from their members. To hand down a criminal conviction against the President of the Republic (something that has never happened) an additional 16 jurors would be added to the original 15 . The sixteen jurors would be selected from a list of citizens eligible for the Italian Senate by random draw. The list is created by the Parliament every nine years.

  • Correctional Facility (Jail)

    An enclosed place, removed from society, intended to house those who are awaiting trial, or already sentenced, commonly referred to as jail. Correctional facilities fall under the aegis of the Department of Corrections, which is established under the Ministry of Justice.

  • Council of State

    As a (three-section) entity with jurisdictional authority, the Council has immediate appellate jurisdiction over orders and judgements issued by Regional Administrative Courts. High Council of Courts (“C.S.M.”) This is a Constitutional entity (Article 104, Italian Constitution) established to allow the judiciary to govern itself. It implements orders involving the hiring, assignment, transfer, and promotion of judges. It also handles disciplinary matters. It is made up of the President of the Republic of Italy (who chairs the Council), the first Presiding Judge of the Court of Cassation, and the Attorney General of that same Court (who are members as a matter of law), and by twenty-four elected members who serve four-year terms. Two thirds of the latter are ordinary judges (elected by the judiciary), while the remaining third are full professors of law from Italian universities, and attorneys with at least fifteen years’ experience in practice (the so-called “lay” members elected by Parliament in ordinary session).

  • Court authority for appeals

    These are the operations undertaken by the judge for an in-court settlement of a dispute through a procedure (trial) that ends with an order (judgement).

  • Court authority for enforcement

    These are operations at the direction of a judge to execute - whether on a voluntary or forced basis - a right previously adjudicated in court.

  • Court authority for provisional actions

    These are operations carried out by the judge to safeguard a right being litigated before such right is settled or decided.

  • Court of Appeals

    This is a court of ordinary, civil, and criminal jurisdiction, comprising three judges. The court is a second-tier court, and thus an appellate tier, which can review judgements and verdicts issued at the first-tier court level. The court has jurisdiction over its own geographic circuit, known as a district, and which generally aligns with the boundaries of a region. The court is located, generally, in the regional capital.

  • Court of Assizes

    In carrying out their function, lay jurors have equivalent authority to court Judges, and participate in equal measure in deliberations.

  • Court of Auditors

    >p, for the most significant issues, it works through unified divisions. The Court of Auditors has a consulting function (through the presentation of opinions) and also acts as a liaison (when it is called to report directly to the Parliamentary Chambers on audit results).

  • Court of Cassation

    From its location in Rome, this Court's jurisdiction extends across Italy.

  • Court order

    This is an order issued by a judge during a proceeding to govern how the proceeding is carried out.

  • Court-Appointed Auctioneer

    An individual deputised by the judge to run a court-ordered sale. This person may be a notary, attorney, or qualified accountant, chosen from a list maintained at the court with jurisdiction over the sale.

  • Court-appointed expert

    This is an outsourced person with certain technical skills, chosen from among persons who are board-certified or members of professional associations. The expert provides assistance to the judge, as well as reports. Experts write the appraisal report.

  • Court-approved settlements

    These activities are conducted by the judge not to resolve a dispute, but in the interests of one or more individuals to issue authorisations, approvals, appointments, removals, etc. Generally speaking, the judge adopts such measures with orders issued in chambers.

  • Court-ordered sale

    A court procedure undertaken upon request of the petitioning creditor under the direction of the Executor Judge, the clerk, or the judicial officer, with the purpose of conveying the debtor’s rights in real and personal property, or in accounts receivable, liquidating them in order to satisfy the rights of the petitioning creditor, and any participating creditors.

  • Creditor Committee

    The creditor committee is a collegial entity made up of three or five members chosen from among creditors to provide a balanced representation of both the quantity and quality of the creditor group. The committee oversees the management of the bankruptcy estate, ensuring that it is managed in the most efficient and transparent way possible, in view of the collective interests of all creditors. The committee has plenary supervision and control authority, which extends to authority to provide directives on the procedures. In a nutshell, they must oversee the trustee's work and authorise certain acts, as well as issue an opinion (which in some cases is binding) when and if required by law, the court, or the enforcement judge.

  • Criminal record files

    These are held in filing cabinets at each Public Prosecutor's office, and each Court, which collects and retains the short-form version of all orders issued by the courts (including administrative courts) to allow for each person's priors to be accessed. The Ministry of Justice has a central criminal-records database which is the terminal for all local criminal-records systems. The office of the criminal-records database issues background checks and certificates upon request by court and administrative authorities. Private individuals may only have their own background check performed.

D
  • Deed of transfer

    The court order from the enforcement judge which transfers title in the seized asset to the winning bidder. The order includes the description contained in the order authorising the same, and orders that all liens and mortgages not referring to obligations voluntarily assumed by the winning bidder be released. It also contains an injunction against the debtor and the receiver to release the now-sold real property. It is legal title based on which the sale may be recorded in the property registry, and an enforceable right to have the property released.

  • Direct-judgement procedure (Direct-judgement trial)

    This is a specialised procedural path for criminal cases. It is an expedited procedure utilised in case of arrests made in flagrante, or where the defendant has confessed. It is intended for situations where, in light of the evidence, special investigations are unnecessary. A trial is held directly, skipping over the preliminary hearing, as well as - in most cases - preliminary investigations.

  • Disciplinary action

    An action by the Ministry of Justice or by the Attorney General for the Court of Cassation against individual court or administrative judges who fail in their duties or who have conducted themselves in a manner unbecoming to their office, thereby giving rise to a disciplinary infraction. Disciplinary actions are decided by the High Council for the Judiciary, which can apply sanctions (warnings, censure, loss of seniority, removal, and dismissal.)

  • Distances in construction

    In this field, municipal codes are key. They establish the set-back between buildings, although where the codes are silent, the Civil Code requires at least three metres between buildings.

  • Distribution

    A procedure through which the mortgagee receives the mortgage loan granted by the bank.

  • Domicile

    The place where a person has established the main location for their affairs and interests.

  • Down payment

    The deposit of a specific sum of money, indicated in the order/notice of sale, and generally equal to 10% of the base price (or bid price).

  • Duty

    A relationship between two parties through which one (the debtor) is bound to provide a performance for the benefit of the other party (the creditor). Such performance must be economically measurable, and must relate to an interest (whether economic or non-economic) of the creditor. Duties arise out of contract, tort, or through any other act or circumstance sufficient to create them in accordance with the law.

E
  • Early pay-off

    Repayment of all remaining principal in a lump-sum payment prior to the end of the loan term. It usually requires payment of a penalty to the lender, calculated on the basis of a percentage of the remaining principal.

  • Earnest money

    A clause included in a contract to ensure contractual performance. If one of the parties to the contract breaches their duties, they must pay the established amount to the counterparty. The earnest money can be used as a down payment on the transaction, or merely as a liquidated damages to ensure performance. Earnest money used as down payment means the amount is used to confirm the transaction, and will be applied against the purchase price. If the defaulting party is the one who received such earnest money, the non-breaching party can rescind the contract, and receive twice the amount of earnest money paid in return. On the other hand, earnest money used as a liquidated damages, is the amount to be paid to breach the contract efficiently: the rescinding party loses the earnest money paid, or must return twice what they had received.

  • Electronic bracelet

    This an electronic tool to keep persons under house arrest, or carrying out a jail term in their home, under surveillance. The device is placed around the ankle, and allows judicial authorities to track the movements of the person wearing it, remotely. If the bracelet is altered or tampered with, the person's house arrest or term is revoked, and additional jail time applies.

  • Enforcement instrument

    This is the legal document or order based on which a forced execution on the property may take place. It must refer to a certain, liquid, payable credit. This order gives a party the right to begin execution without proving the existence of the right or claim they desire to have satisfied, provided the creditor does not meet with an objection. The following are enforcement instruments:

    • judgements and orders to which the law expressly attributes executive power;
    • bills of exchange and other credit instruments to which the law expressly attributes the same power;
    • legal documents formally accepted by a notary or other public official authorised to accept them, in terms of the specific pledge(s) of money contained therein
  • Enforcement judge

    Executor judge: the natural person who coordinates legal seizure of property; they are appointed by the presiding judge of the Court. Unless the law requires otherwise, orders from the Executor Judge are issued through ordinances. Such ordinances can be amended or rescinded by the judge until implemented. Bankruptcy judge: Italian bankruptcy reform has reshaped the role of Enforcement Judges in insolvency proceedings. Now, their role is limited to ensuring, supervising, and controlling the legitimacy and procedural regularity of the case. The Trustee in Bankruptcy and the creditor committee, on the other hand, are tasked with administering the company. Therefore, the supervision and control authority vested in the Enforcement Judge have been reinforced in order to ensure that the trustee's greater discretion does not devolve into unfettered management over such entity within that procedure.

  • Enforcement proceeding

    Serves to satisfy the creditor who, albeit with a judgement or a title that certifies the creditor’s right, remains unsatisfied because the debtor fails to perform voluntarily. It is therefore a forced execution of the practical result of a disregarded legal duty, either with or against the will of the debtor, who answers to the proceeding with all their assets, present and future. (Article 2740 of the Civil Code). In this way, the creditor can secure the satisfaction of a credit, from a judge, through the forced execution of a judgement against personal and real property, as well as third-party assets legally connected to the debtor, or by enforcing specific performance, or the duty to refrain from exercising a given activity. An enforcement proceeding may only be initiated by someone who holds an Enforcement Instrument.

  • Equal opportunities

    A principle which, along with equal treatment, is aimed at ensuring substantive equality between men and women, in full implementation of Article 3 of the Italian Constitution. Further moving in this direction was Law 125/91, which was a means of promoting women's entrance in the workforce, and their professional development, through measures that remove obstacles that are de facto barriers to equal opportunity.

  • Essential procedural requirements

    For the most important legal documents, the law requires a specific format, always in writing. Under these circumstances, the format is essential to the document itself, meaning it is void unless presented in the prescribed format.

  • Euribor

    “Euro Interbank Offered Rate”, that is, the average interest rate at which transactions financed in Euro occur, between major European banks. It is utilised as a standard index for variable-rate home mortgages.

  • European Social Fund (F.S.E.)

    The European Social Fund falls under the category of what are known as social funds, created in the 1960s to promote balanced development and sustainable growth among all countries who were members of the European Community. Today, the European Social Fund is the tool through which the European Union promotes the following internally: employment opportunities, professional development, freedom of movement of workers, and adjustments to account for industrial transformations and changes to the means of production. To reach these goals, FSE supports professional-training opportunities in particular, as well as training for new jobs within the following specific objectives: affirmative action of lagging regions compared to more advanced ones, retraining in areas experiencing industrial decline, promoting employment in areas with high unemployment rates, integrating the under-25s into the workforce, and supporting development in rural areas. The Fund operates according to specific programmes, via the approval and co-financing of projects that meet present needs and objectives, and which are funded by a competitive-grant programme from the Italian and regional governments.

  • Expedited trial (expedited proceedings)

    This is a specialised procedural path for criminal cases. It is an expedited procedure utilised in case of arrests made in flagrante, or where the defendant has confessed. It is intended for situations where, in light of the evidence, special investigations are unnecessary. A trial is held directly, skipping over the preliminary hearing, as well as - in most cases - preliminary investigations.

  • Expert appraisal

    An assessment of pledged real estate performed by a deputised technical expert.

F
  • Fixed rate

    Formula in which the full amount of interest is determined at the outset, and is not subject to variation over the life of the loan.

  • Fixed-price sale

    In situations where the price is determined by the entire premises composing the building, rather than by the area in square metres. Although the area is noted, it does not give rise to an increase or decrease in price, unless the actual measurement differs by more than 1/20 of the area indicated in the contract. Should a price supplement be required, the purchaser may choose to rescind the contract, or pay the supplement.

  • Forced sale

    Liquidates repossessed or foreclosed property.

  • Foreclosure petition

    Procedure through which the lien-holding creditor, and all other creditors with an enforceable right can request the pledged real estate be sold.

  • Foster care

    This is governed by Law no. 184 (4 May 1983), and involves the temporary placement of a minor without a suitable family situation in a family other than the child’s biological family, an individual, a group home, or an institution. The goal of this system is to ensure that children are supported, raised, and educated for as long as necessary until their family of origin can overcome their challenges. Therefore, foster care is always temporary. Its goal, whenever possible, is reunification with the child's biological family. When the crisis cannot be overcome, however, a legal declaration is issued releasing the child for adoption.

G
  • Good faith

    This is an unawareness that the right of another is being infringed. Generally speaking, good faith is connected to the idea of a bona fide purchaser who believes he has acquired clean title to an item, but the title is in fact clouded.

  • Guarantor

    He who pledges a security interest or personal guarantee for the debtor.

I
  • In forma pauperis

    To proceed in forma pauperis is a benefit granted by the Italian Constitution (Art. 24). It grants free legal assistance to file a suit, or for a legal defence before a judge, for persons who are unable to pay for such expenses themselves. State legal funds provide for all legal costs (authorised investigators, attorneys and consultants).

  • Income

    This term means any periodic performance (yearly, monthly, etc.) involving money.

  • Initial interest rate

    The interest rate applicable for a limited period of time, at the end of which a definitive rate will apply, known as the “Index Rate”. This type of rate is used in adjustable-rate mortgages.

  • Injunction

    This is a judgement through which a civil judge orders the debtor to pay a certain amount, or to deliver a certain item, to the creditor who has offered sufficient written proof of the creditor’s claim of right. That order is issued by the judge ex-parte, without having heard the debtor, who can then file an objection.

  • Instalment

    Payment made periodically to extinguish a debt. The frequency of the payments is set by contract.

  • Interest rate

    Interest measurements are called rates or percentages. Interest rates or percentages are divided into statutory interests, and contracted interest: the first is set by the legislator, the second by parties to a contract.

  • Intervening creditor

    Additional creditors of the debtor who present a petition to intervene in the enforcement proceeding, to be counted for purposes of participating in the distribution of the proceeds from repossessed rights. If they have an enforceable claim, they can also intervene on the record.

  • Investigative/judicial function

    The judicial function is carried out by entities of the judiciary (judges), tasked with resolving disputes, and issuing opinions on issues falling under their jurisdiction. The investigative function, on the other hand, is carried out by judges who perform “public-prosecutor” duties. They are tasked with expressing requests or opinions predicated on decisions by the judicial entities.

J
  • Jail (or correctional facility)

    An enclosed place, removed from society, intended to house those who are awaiting trial, or already sentenced, commonly referred to as jail. Correctional facilities fall under the aegis of the Department of Corrections, which is established under the Ministry of Justice.

  • Judgement

    The judicial order containing an opinion on a case, handed down by the court following a trial. Generally speaking, it is the concluding or final act in a case. Its format is set by statute, and it is issued “in the name of the people of Italy” under the heading “Republic of Italy”. It includes the holding (a summarised announcement of the judge's opinion) and the opinion (the reasons supporting the judge's decision).

  • Judgement lien

    Any judgement that orders the payment of a certain amount, or specific performance, or payment of damages to be liquidated sometime thereafter gives the judgement creditor the right to record a lien on the debtor's assets. A judgement lien can arise from other court orders to the extent permitted by law: bill of exchange, bank draft, cashier’s check, clearing certificate, or on any legal document received from a notary or other authorised public official.

  • Judicial circuit

    Notes the territorial area over which each court entity has jurisdiction. Circuit districts are set by statute: the court's jurisdiction is a circuit, whereas the Court of Appeal’s geographic area of jurisdiction is a district. The Court of Cassation has geographic jurisdiction over Italy as a whole.

  • Jurisdiction

    One of the fundamental roles of the Italian state, exercised by judges who form the judicial branch of the government. Its function is to apply the law on a case-by-case basis. Jurisdiction is either ordinary or special. Ordinary jurisdiction is exercised by ordinary judges, and involves subject matter not reserved by law to special judges. Examples of ordinary jurisdiction are the regular Courts, and the Court of Cassation. Special jurisdiction, on the other hand, involves subject matter reserved by law to a specialised judge. Entities with special jurisdiction include, for example, Regional Administrative Courts, and the Council of State. Depending on the field of law and subject matter, jurisdiction is categorised as constitutional, civil, criminal, administrative, accounting, tax, and military. Trials are the key instrument of judicial procedure. Using an adversarial process between the parties, the goal of the trial is the issuance of an order (e.g. a judgement) through which the law is interpreted and applied to a set of facts.

  • Jurors

    These are ordinary citizens called to make up the Court of Assizes, or the Court of Appeals of Assizes alongside professional judges. They are selected by random draw from municipal juror lists. Juror selection is predicated on certain requirements: Italian citizenship, 30-65 years old, vested with all civil and political rights, good moral conduct, middle school diploma (Court of Assizes), high school diploma (Court of Appeals of Assizes). Judges, judicial-branch employees, anyone serving in the police force or the armed forces, and all clergy and religious professionals are exempt.

  • Justice of the peace

    Beginning on 1 May 1995, the Justice of the Peace replaced the Arbitrator, with the latter's office abolished. Compared to the Arbitrator, the Justice of the Peace has much broader authority in civil matters, along with authority to decide minor criminal matters that do not present complex evidentiary issues. As from 1 January 2002, Justices of the Peace began to act as criminal-law judges. Justices of the Peace are honorary judges to whom jurisdictional authority is given on a temporary basis. They serve four-year terms, which can only be renewed once. They can no longer serve as judges once they turn 75. Justices of the Peace must abide by the duties set for magistrate judges, and are subject to disciplinary rules. Justices of the Peace are honorary, not career, judges, and are not employees of the Italian government. They receive a stipend that may be cumulative with a pension and retirement fund.

  • Juvenile Division

    The juvenile division is a specialised and independent component of the judiciary. It acts as first-tier court for all criminal, civil, and administrative matters involving minors aged 18 and under. Its geographic jurisdiction is the same as that of the Court of Appeals, or the section of the Court of Appeals where the court itself is located. The Juvenile Division is made up of a Court of Appeals judge (who presides over it), a lower-court judge, and two lay experts. The court has jurisdiction over civil, criminal, and administrative manners involving:

    • Crimes committed in the district by minors aged 18 and under;
    • Application of rehabilitative measures to minors aged 18 and under who reside in the district;
    • Acts in loco parentis, and presides over guardianships, conservatorships, support, foster care, and adoption for minors residing in the Court of Appeals district.
    The Juvenile Division must be advised of any proceedings regarding sexual violence and enticement committed against minors.
L
  • Land and building registries

    These serve to track all matters relating to these assets In particular, to ascertain whether certain real estate has been sold to other persons, or whether it is encumbered by mortgages or other security interests.

  • Late-payment interest

    This is interest payable as damages caused to the creditor’s equity because of a delayed discharge of duty.

  • Law

    The set of rules and regulations that govern the organised life of a community. Law aims to contribute to a group's organisation.

  • Legal person

    Legal persons are collective organisations, deemed to be distinct from the natural persons they comprise. Legal persons are legal subjects, have legal capacity, and have rights and responsibilities. Incorporated associations, foundations, incorporated committees, corporations, and public entities are all legal persons.

  • Legislative Decree

    This is a law promulgated by the Administration, upon delegation by Parliament. Parliament includes the law's intended content, scope, and issue deadline in ad-hoc legislation (known as the Delegation Law). This is a manifestation of legislative authority, usually belonging to Parliament, expressly provided for by Article 76 of the Italian constitution. The exercise of such legislative authority may be subject to the control of the Constitutional Court to determine whether the Administration has exceeded the scope of the Delegation Law.

  • Level of court

    First-tier court is a trial-court level wherein a judge reviews and adjudicates a case on the merits for the first time. Second-tier courts (aka appellate level) are those in which the court re-examines and hands down an opinion on the same case for a second time. There are also purely procedural decisions based on whether the previous levels of court had jurisdiction over the matter. These take place before the Court of Cassation.

  • Life tenancy (right of)

    This is the right to use and enjoy a res owned by another, while respecting the economic use of the same. A life tenancy extends to the appurtenances of the res. Natural resources and any proceeds accrue to the life tenant during the tenancy. Life tenancies are distinguished by their duration, which is temporary: where the agreement is silent, the life tenancy is for the life of the life tenant (in the case of a natural person) and for a maximum of thirty years, in the case of a legal person. The life tenant can assign their interest to others, can mortgage the property, and can also rent or lease the res that form the life estate.

  • Liquidation

    Liquidation in bankruptcy is the phase wherein the debtor's real and personal property are sold. After that, the proceeds of such sales are distributed among the bankruptcy creditors in order to satisfy their respective credits. In order to proceed with liquidation, the trustee in bankruptcy drafts, within sixty days of inventorying the assets, a liquidation programme to be submitted to the enforcement judge's approval, once a favourable opinion on the same has been obtained from the creditor committee.

M
  • Metropolitan Courts

    This term commonly refers to courts with circuits comprising a conspicuous number of municipalities, and a high rate of disputes. The term has been used to refer to the courts of Turin, Milan, Rome, Naples, and Palermo in the Report on the Legislative Decree approved on 3 December 1999 with which the Administration, upon delegation by Parliament, implemented its intent to clear up congestion in these major courts through redistricting and establishing two new courts. Legal citations:

    • Report on Legislative Decree in implementation of Law no. 155 (5 May 1999)
    • LAW no. 155 (5 May 1999)
  • Minimum bid raise

    A higher bid than other auction participants, at pre-established increments. The minimum bid raise increment is set by the order/notice of sale

  • Minister of Justice

    The Minister of Justice traditionally has the care and custody of the state seal. The Minister countersigns all laws and decrees to allow for their publication.

  • Mixed rate

    Formula under which it is possible for the mortgagee to change the method of interest calculation (from fixed rate to variable rate and vice versa) one or more times over the course of the mortgage contract.

  • Mortgage

    This is a security interest that gives the creditor, where the debtor is insolvent, the right to foreclose on the property on which the mortgage lien is recorded. The creditor has a preferential right to proceeds from the sale. The mortgage is automatically extinguished after twenty years; therefore, any mortgage with a longer term must be renewed.

  • Mortgage

    A mortgage is a contract whereby one party (generally a bank) delivers to another party a certain amount of money or other fungible items, and the other pledges to return the same amount / quality of monies or fungible items. Unless the parties decide differently, the mortgagee must pay the mortgagor interest. If usurious interest is called for, such interest clause is void, and no interest shall be owed.

  • Mortgage perfection

    This is the moment where the mortgage filed with the Land Registry Office becomes legally binding.

  • Mortgage portability (subrogation)

    A transaction introduced by the Bersani Law on mortgages, through which the debtor (mortgagee) can replace the bank who initially disbursed the loan with a new bank. The refinancing bank pays off the note, and replaces the previous bank. The debtor then repays the mortgage under the newly negotiated terms.

  • Mortgage reduction

    A legal document through which the originally registered amount is reduced, or the mortgage is restricted to a certain part of the asset.

  • Mortgage refinancing

    Transaction through which the financing bank may be asked to revise contract clauses in the mortgage. Refinancing does not give rise to new expenses, nor does it require a notary’s deed (Bersani mortgage law)

  • Mortgage register search

    The collection of documents attesting to the recordings, and recordings of mortgages. Queries may be performed by unit of real estate, or by owner’s name. The search results appear in an abbreviated list of transactions (deeds and recordings), along with greater detail on any requested transactions.

  • Mortgagee

    One or more persons in whose name the mortgage contract is held, who pledge to repay the loan.

  • Mortgagor

    The bank or other lender who grants the mortgage.

N
  • National Anti-Mafia Authority (“D.N.A.”)

    The National Anti-Mafia Authority was established by Law no. 8 (20 January 1992) within the Attorney General’s office of the Court of Cassation. Its duty is to coordinate investigations into organised crime on a national level. The Authority is headed by the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, who is appointed by the High Council for the Judiciary directly. Judges with expertise in organised-crime cases are authorised to be substitutes for the Prosecutor. To conduct investigations, the Prosecutor uses the resources of the Anti-Mafia Investigation Department (“D.I.A.”). The D.I.A. Is an organisation formed from within the Department of Public Safety at the Ministry of the Interior. Its role is to ensure a coordinated approach to organised-crime investigations, especially with regard to Mafia conspiracy. The Prosecutor: works with judges specialised in anti-Mafia investigations; settles any disputes regarding how investigations are performed; takes over any preliminary investigation conducted by district prosecutors where any direction given was not followed, or if coordination was not properly carried out. The National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor is subject to the supervision of the Attorney General with the Court of Cassation, who reports to the High Council of the Judiciary regarding all operations conducted, and results obtained by the National Anti-Mafia Authority, and by the district anti-Mafia authorities set up within the Public Prosecutor for the Court of the 26 district capitals of the Court of Appeals.

  • Natural person

    Under the law, a natural person is any human being. Natural persons are legal subjects, have legal capacity, and have rights and responsibilities.

  • Natural resources

    Natural resources come directly from the res itself, irrespective of whether human labour is involved, such as agricultural products, timber, etc. Until separation occurs, such resources are part and parcel of the res itself. However, such resources may still be conveyed as a commodity. Natural resources belong to the owner of the res that produces them, unless ownership has been conveyed through a profit-à-prendre arrangement. In such cases, ownership is obtained through separation.

  • Notary’s deed

    The final legal document in a sale. This is a public document to be signed before a notary, who will then see to recorded the transfer of title in building registries, and alerting the recorder of deeds to the change.

  • Notary's report

    A document issued by a notary stating that the real estate pledged has a clean title.

  • Notice of sale

    A public document drafted by the Clerk, a Notary, or by the Court-Appointed Auctioneer containing the notice of sale ordered and issued by the Judge. The notice includes identification of the item put up for sale, the date and time of the auction, starting price, minimum bid-raise increment, deadline for submitting offers, method of sale, and website where the appraisal report is posted.

O
  • Office of the Attorney General at the Supreme Court of Cassation

    The Attorney General at the Court of Cassation performs the functions of Public Prosecutor at the country's highest court of justice. Pursuant to the law on the judiciary, the AG appears and completes all civil and criminal hearings before the Court of Cassation, and delivers written final arguments as required by statute. Through such activities, and in the public interest, the AG ensures a uniform interpretation of the law.

  • Online auction

    One method of carrying out a court-ordered sale, which allows for online participation via a personal computer and internet connection.

  • Ordinary Court

    This judge has jurisdiction over both civil and criminal matters within a geographic area called a circuit. With Legislative Decree no. 51/98, which abolished the praetors, the Ordinary Court remained the only first-tier judge, with the exception of limited authority assigned to the Justices of the Peace, acting as the first-tier court on minor matters. Thus, as a second-tier court, the Ordinary Court also judges appeals brought against the judgements issued by the Justice of the Peace. The Ordinary Court makes its judgements as a collegial entity (three judges) and as a single-judge entity. Judgements from the ordinary court may be contested via an appeal to the Court of Appeals for reasons involving the facts underlying the case (on the merits) and to the Court of Cassation, via appeal by cassation, for matters of law (procedural or substantive law) or for jurisdictional issues. The Ordinary Court also oversees probate and family-court matters as well as specific functions as assigned by statute. There are 166 ordinary courts, two of which have been established as metropolitan courts. Legal citations:

    • Legislative Decree no. 51 (19 February 1998).
  • Oversight Court

    This is one of two entities through which the oversight judiciary takes shape. The oversight judiciary is a component of the judicial system tasked with supervising the completion of a term of punishment. It takes action in applying alternative sentences, execution of alternative sentences, application and execution of public-safety measures. It is made up of two judicial entities, the Oversight Commission (a single-judge entity) and the Oversight Court, a collegial entity. The Oversight Court functions both as a first-tier court as well as a second-tier judge (over the Oversight Commission). Its geographic jurisdiction extends across the Court of Appeals’ district. It is made up of various oversight commissions that serve either in the district or in the judicial circuit for the detached section of the Court of Appeals, and by professionals who are experts in psychology, social services, pedagogy, psychiatry, and clinical criminology.

  • Oversight offices

    The oversight judiciary is a component of the judicial system tasked with supervising the completion of a term of punishment. It takes action in applying alternative sentences, execution of alternative sentences, application and execution of public-safety measures. It is made up of two judicial entities, the Oversight Commission (a single-judge entity) and the Oversight Court, a collegial entity. Final orders on a given proceeding can always be appealed to the Court of Cassation, and for orders relating to public-safety measures, the order can be reviewed on the merits. Jurisdiction for this subject matter is set by Article 69 and 70 of the Penitentiary Regulations. Geographic jurisdiction is identified by Article 677 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

  • Ownership

    This is the plenary and exclusive right to enjoy and dispose of a res, to the extent permitted by law.

P
  • Pawn

    This is a security interest that a debtor or third party grants on personal property to secure a credit. The security interest in a pawned item is perfected by possession.

  • Performance bond

    The legal document through which an entity pledges a personal guarantee towards the creditor in order to guarantee a duty assumed by another. The guarantee is personal because the creditor can have their claim satisfied using the assets of someone other than the debtor.

  • Petitioning creditor

    The creditor who instituted the enforcement proceeding by filing a petition to repossess the debtor's rights.

  • Plea bargains

    This is a special criminal proceeding in which the defendant and the Public Prosecutor jointly move the court to approve a reduced punishment (down to 1/3 of the maximum term of punishment, fine, or both). Plea bargains are only allowed for minor offences. Plea bargains are predicated on the defendant's admission of guilt. Both the criminal defendant and the Public Prosecutor must consent to this special proceeding. The court may approve the defendant's sentencing argument over that of the Public Prosecutor. Where the sentence is approved based on a sentencing agreement between the defendant and the public prosecutor, there is no right to appeal.

  • Possession

    Possession is control over a res, manifested in corresponding activity of exercising ownership, or having other immediate property rights over it. Possession can be actual, or constructive - through another person who has physical possession of the item. There is a rebuttable presumption that whoever exercises de facto authority over the res has possession of it, where there is no evidence that such authority began as a mere holding.

  • Praetor

    The role of praetor, a magistrate whose name dates back to Roman law, was abolished by Legislative Decree no. 51 (19 February 1998) following a significant reform of the Italian legal system (referred to as the “Sole Judge” reform). The key judicial functions of the praetor, to wit, were fused with those of the ordinary Judge, who then became the main first-tier judge (whereas Justices of the Peace would still be allowed to perform minor first-tier court duties). As far as the offices were concerned, the former praetorates were almost all abolished, with the exception of a few, scattered among the larger cities within a court circuit. Each of these was converted into a detached division for the Court with limited authority restricted to a smaller geographic area. Legal citations:

    • Legislative Decree no. 51 (19 February 1998).
  • Pre-trial detention

    Pre-trial detention in a correctional or treatment facility is a restriction on a defendant’s personal liberty. Taking place before an irrevocable verdict is issued, this detention is predicated on pre-trial exigencies (i.e. flight risk, or risk of evidence contamination), or to protect the community (where there is a likelihood of new crimes being committed) in situations where the defendant is charged with serious crimes, or there are significant indicia of culpability against the investigated person or defendant.

  • Privilege

    This is the preference (seniority) that is given to a creditor in consideration for the cause of the credit. Some credits, such as grocery expenses for the debtor and their family, or because they relate to a financial interest of the state, are super liens over others. Privilege is determined by the legislator. The parties, indeed, cannot create privileges other than those set by statute.

  • Professional and honorary judges

    Within the ordinary courts system, the term “professional” judge means a career judge who performs a judicial function (whether as judge or as a public prosecutor) and is appointed for a career term. Hiring takes place through a public exam governed by the regulations of the judicial system, and compensation is on a continuing basis. An honorary judge, on the other hand, is a judge appointed via specific procedures, who is not a civil servant, but rather an honorary servant. An honorary judge serves a temporary term, and their compensation varies depending on the role they play (justice of the peace, aggregate judge, honorary court judge, honorary vice-prosecutor, expert for the juvenile division).

  • Profit-à-prendre

    The right to avail oneself of an asset and, if it produces resources or proceeds, to gather the fruits thereof, limited to one's own and one’s family’s needs. Such right cannot be assigned or leased. Such right terminates with the death of the rights-holder.

  • Public auction

    A specialised means of implementing a forced sale, in which bidders vie publicly for property.

  • Public Defenders

    Public defenders are available to any criminal defendant who has not retained their own attorney, or who finds themselves without an attorney. The right to a public defender is provided for by law to ensure the right of defence in all trials. This is an inalienable right of man recognised by Article 24(2) of the Constitution. Public defenders are appointed by the court or by the public prosecutor from a list made available by the Bar Council, in collaboration with the Presiding Judge for the Court. The public defender must represent the client, and can only be replaced for just cause. Expenses for the public defender are borne by the client; however, should the client be allowed to proceed in forma pauperis, such expenses are borne by the State.

  • Public Prosecutor (Republic of Italy)

    This is the office within the legal system where magistrates who carry out the role of Public Prosecutor work. The Public Prosecutor’s offices are located within the Court of Cassation, the Courts of Appeals, ordinary courts, and juvenile divisions. Magistrates who perform their functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Justice (Article 69 of the judiciary’s regulations) are located in the Public Prosecutor’s offices, which are distinct and independent from the tribunal or division where they work. Magistrates who work in the Public Prosecutor’s offices - assistant prosecutors - perform their functions after they have been deputised by the main office holders (Article 70 of the judiciary’s regulations) These form, as a whole, what is known as the investigative corps of magistrates. The Public Prosecutor oversees compliance with the law, and safeguards for the rights of the state, as well as those of legal persons and the incompetent. In urgent situations, the Public Prosecutor applies for orders as he or she deems necessary. The Prosecutor works to fight crime and apply measures in the interest of public safety. The Prosecutor has all orders and judgements by the judge enforced, to the extent incumbent on the Prosecutor by law to do so. The Public Prosecutor appears before Justices of the Peace on criminal matters, because Justices of the Peace have no independent prosecution autonomy.

R
  • Receiver

    This is a professional engaged by the judge to take custody of seized or repossessed assets. The receiver has the care and custody of the assets, and is liable as against the parties to the proceeding for any damages attributable to such receiver. The receiver is appointed by the judge or by the judicial officer.

  • Recording

    Recording in Public Building Registries is a method of publication that refers to buildings. It allows third parties to be aware of legal transactions involving real estate.

  • Referendum

    This is a means of consulting the public - a vote through which the electoral body is called to express themselves on a proposed bill or on a political issue. It is the most important institution of direct democracy, a tool through which the population exercises its sovereign authority, without the intermediation of its representatives. The Italian legal system contemplates: - constitutional referendums, for the adoption of laws to amend the constitution or other constitutional laws; - repeal referendums, to abrogate a law or regulation on the books; - regional referendums, to modify the boundaries of regions, provinces, and municipalities - consulting referendums, without any binding legal effect, on particularly significant regional issues.

  • Regional Administrative Court ("TAR”)

    This is an entity within the administrative legal system, with authority to preside as a first-tier court over appeals on administrative orders for questions of legality (meaning whether they conform to the law) or as injurious of a legal right (that is, actual injury against a single person corresponding to a general public interest); in some areas it has subject matter or exclusive jurisdiction. The TAR’s jurisdiction includes its own district, which is the the region in which it is located. Its seat is in the regional capital. It is divided into sections, and its opinions are handed down en banc by three judges. A TAR decision may be appealed, at a second-tier level, to the Council of State.

  • Registration

    Filing a document or contract with the Registry Office; primarily used for tax purposes. It may also be relevant as a matter of private law, in that it provides proof as against a third party of the date of a private contract or other legal document. Failure to register a document does not void the contract; however, it makes it inadmissible in court until it is registered and a late-filing fee is paid.

  • Registration of a mortgage

    Mortgage publication occurs by registering the mortgage lien on the pledged property. Registration is the act through which the mortgage is perfected, and is carried out with the Building Registry for the jurisdiction in which the building is located.

  • Repossession

    Repossession is an injunction served by the judicial officer which restricts the debtor from undertaking any act aimed at clearing a creditor's security interest in an item of property, or any proceeds from the same. This legal restriction has the effect of voiding any act by the debtor attempting to alienate or dispose of the repossessed property as against the petitioning creditor or other creditors participating in a bankruptcy action.

  • Residence

    The place where a person has their usual dwelling.

  • Residence (Right of)

    This is the right to live in a home - a right restricted to the needs of the person holding the right and their family. Such right of residence may not be assigned or leased. Such right terminates with the death of the rights-holder.

  • Residual life estate

    The holder of an interest in a property possessed and held by others. The residual life tenant does not pay property tax, nor any management fees on the property.

  • Restructuring

    Restructuring encompasses all actions involving a building in its entirety, whether inside or outside. These are transformations that involve substantial changes: change of use, aesthetics, size.

  • Right to Privacy

    This is a right held by every citizen to keep others from knowing anything and everything about the citizen's private life. It is also known as the right to confidentiality. A new legal provision (Law no. 675, 31/12/1996 - protection of personal information) serves to further protect the right to privacy.

S
  • Sale by area in square metres

    When real estate is sold upon notation of its area, and for a price set as a certain amount per unit of measurement, the purchaser has the right to a reduction where the actual measurement of the building is less than the area noted in the contract. If the measurement is higher than what is noted in the contract, the purchaser must pay a price supplement, but has the right to rescind the contract where the difference is more than 1/20 of the stated area.

  • Secured mortgage

    A specific type of medium- to long-term mortgage secured by a lien on real property.

  • Seniority

    The preferential order among various liens is determined by the date they were registered. Each registration is allocated an order number, which then determines the seniority of the lien. This is fundamental because it determines which lien will be satisfied first.

  • Seniority

    This is a right to be satisfied preferentially over that of other creditors. Just cause for seniority, meaning causes for which the law ensures such preference, include pawns, mortgages, and privileges.

  • Service of process

    The activity through which an official of the court or other statutorily authorised party (municipal messenger, judicial police, attorney) formally brings a legal document to the attention of the recipient, through the delivery of a certified copy. Simplified and shortened proceedings These proceedings are an alternative procedural path enacted with the new Code of Criminal Procedure. They are distinguished by the fact that argument is waived, and a verdict is issued on the basis of the judge’s review of the record, which includes all preliminary investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor, which are treated as evidence. In opting for this procedural path, the defendant waives their right to argument and all guarantees inherent thereto. The defendant agrees to be judged on the basis of the records from the preliminary investigations and the Public Prosecutor’s case file. In exchange, should the defendant be convicted, their punishment is reduced by one-third.

  • Sole judge

    19 February 1998, no. 51

  • State-provided legal services

    This is the action by the state to pay legal expenses (authorised attorneys, consultants, investigators) to those proceeding in forma pauperis. State-provided legal services, long-since authorised for criminal and labour actions, as well as appeals against deportation orders and to the Data Protection Authority, has recently been extended to civil and administrative cases, as well as court-approved settlement procedures (Law no. 134/2001).

  • Statute of limitations

    Serves to extinguish a right due to the inertia of the rights-holder who fails to exercise such right, or refrains from using such right, for the period set by law.

  • Statutory interest rates

    Interest rates set by statute. Beginning on 1 January 2010, the statutory interest rate was equal to 1% (Ministerial Decree of 4 December 2009).

  • Subrogation (mortgage portability)

    A transaction introduced by the Bersani Law on mortgages, through which the debtor (mortgagee) can replace the bank who initially disbursed the loan with a new bank. The refinancing bank pays off the note, and replaces the previous bank. The debtor then repays the mortgage under the newly negotiated terms.

  • Surface area (right of)

    Everything above and below the ground belongs to the owner of the land itself. The owner may create the right to build and maintain a structure on such parcel of land for the benefit of others, who then acquire title to such structure. The landowner may also convey an interest in pre-existing property, separately from title to the plot of land itself. If the creation of such real-property interest is for a specific period, at the end of such period the surface right is extinguished, and whoever holds title to the plot of land obtains title to the construction.

  • Suspended imposition of sentence

    This is a benefit with which a judge, in handing down a conviction for a term not exceeding two years of arrest or detention (or a fine analogous to such detention) suspends the main portion of the punishment for a given period, conditioned upon the defendant not committing similar crimes during such period. In such cases, the crime is expunged, and any ancillary punishments are lifted. If the convicted person does commit another crime, they must execute the full suspended punishment.

T
  • Tax commission

    This is an entity with jurisdiction over tax matters. Its role is to settle disputes arising between taxpayers and the tax authorities. The Provincial Tax Commission has jurisdiction over first-tier matters, whereas the Regional Tax Commission is the second-tier authority.

  • Third party guarantor

    A lien may be granted by a party not privy to the contract The third-party guarantor is distinct from the surety. Both guarantee a third-party debt, but whereas the surety pledges their own assets, the third-party guarantor only guarantees the collateral of the main agreement.

  • To take out a mortgage

    A term used to mean entering into a mortgage

  • Transfer of deed

    A document that certifies a purchase or the deed of mortgage.

  • Trial

    This is the collection of activities contemplated and governed by statute (known as “procedural laws”) through which judicial authority is exercised. The trial takes place before a judge, and all interested parties participate (the parties to the action). The goal is a final order (a judicial order, e.g. a judgement) which applies the law to concrete facts.

  • Trustee in bankruptcy

    The executive entity for the bankruptcy proceeding. The trustee is charged with administering the assets for the bankrupt company. Trustees are appointed in the order opening the bankruptcy case. Where a trustee is replaced or removed, such order is issued by the Court. Within sixty days of bankruptcy filing, the trustee submits a report on the facts and circumstances of the bankruptcy, the debtor’s diligence and responsibility, and on the directors’ responsibilities, where the bankruptcy involves a company. Every six months, the trustee must deliver to the Enforcement Judge a report on all activity, and an accounting of any management involving receipts and expenses. A copy is submitted to the creditor committee before being filed with the business registry. Furthermore, the trustee:

    • Conducts an inventory of all assets and places seals on the same;
    • Creates a plan for the enforceable liabilities;
    • Creates the liquidation plan;
    • Manages the company, now subject to temporary administration;
    • Handles sales of assets, and may suspend the sale in the event of a better offer;
    • Creates the distribution plan.
U
  • U.T.E. (Technical Tax Office)

    Office where real property is assessed.

  • Unearned income

    Unearned income includes income obtained as payment on the use and enjoyment of an item by another person. This includes interest on principal, life and other annuities, rental payments and payments on long-term leases. Unearned income is acquired on a daily basis, for the duration of the right.

  • Unsecured mortgage

    A specialty mortgage, generally for a maximum of six years, for which there is no mortgage lien, but is rather guaranteed by a personal guarantee by the applicant or by a third party. It is generally used for mortgages up to 30,000 Euro to finance extraordinary maintenance on flats or common-areas within a condominium.

  • Usury

    A crime committed when someone supplies money in the form of a loan at interests above a pre-set limit. The Ministry of the Treasury, having secured an opinion from the Bank of Italy and the Italian Office on Currency, determines the average actual global interest rate (including fees, compensation, and commissions) once per quarter for all interest rates used throughout the banking and financial system. Such average tax rates, increased by half, constitute the threshold over which rates are deemed criminally usurious.

V
  • Variable rate

    Formula in which the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan depends on fluctuations in an index tied to variations in the cost of money. If interest rates are increasing, the rate increases, and if they are decreasing, then the loan's interest rate is lighter as well.

W
  • Warning to abide

    This is a type of letter through which one party demands the counterparty to fulfil a contractual duty by a certain deadline. In the absence of such performance, the contract shall be deemed terminated.

  • Warranty of title

    One of the main duties imposed on the seller. This is the guarantee that the item sold does not belong to anyone else, who might seek to claim it. The warranty occurs when it turns out that title to the item sold is held by another.

  • Winning bidder

    The person who is given title to real estate at auction.

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