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In December 2007 Italy joined the class action club by passing a law that introduced a new type of judicial remedy into the Italian legal system: azione collettiva risarcitoria (compensational collective action), commonly known as Italian-style class action. The Bank of Italy has called it “among the most relevant legislative novelties of the year” in its 2008 annual report.

The collective action remedy was due to become effective on 29 June, but recent statements by representatives of the newly-elected government suggest that the date will be postponed to 2009.

In the meantime, the class action law will likely be modified to address concerns raised by banks, financial institutions and insurance companies, as well as companies having a wide consumer base and even the Bank of Italy. The Italian Government appears to be very sensitive to the pressure created by these groups, while one proposal has already been filed in the Senate calling for wide-sweeping modifications to the class action law. Five features of Italian-style class action law are:

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