One of the many advantages of visiting Italy or owning a property in Italy is the relaxed lifestyle it brings. This is of course great whilst you are relaxing however can often be frustrating when you are trying to get something done, particularly of a legal nature. In Italy there is often a considerable difference between what the law says and what actually happens and is common practice. Add in a difference in language (despite many Italians speaking good English) and it can sometimes be quite frustrating dealing with Italy.
Italy as a country
Italy is a country in Europe that protrudes into the Mediterranean and is the fourth most populated country in Europe. Italy also includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The states of San Marino and Vatican City are found within Italy and conversely Campione d’Italia en an Italian enclave which is situated in Switzerland.
How can Judicare Law help
Judicare has been dealing with Italy and the Italian legal system for many years and therefore not only understands what the law says but also how to get things done for clients. We work with our lawyers on the ground and therefore you will have the advantage of having UK based Solicitors to speak to and guide you through the process whilst also having the advantage of local Italian lawyers in Italy doing what is necessary there on the ground.
Your contact will be with the office in the UK (a UK law firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation in the UK) where we can explain things to you in terms that you understand whilst working with our colleagues on the ground in Italy. We can cover the whole of Italy.
The Italian legal system
The Italian legal system is considerably different to that in the UK and you should not assume that doing something in Italy works in the same way you are familiar with, as some of the concepts are significantly different. If you add in the fact that sometimes local customs are different to what the law says you can see how it can be quite difficult to work your way around the Italian legal system on your own.
Italian Law is very similar to the laws of France, Portugal and Italy in concept but very different to that in the UK. This is because it is based on Roman Law and the codified Napoleonic Law rather than being based on the Common Law approach that we have in the UK.
The Italian legal system uses the Notarial system for transactions such as property transactions, Wills and inheritances. The role of the Notary public is essentially to witness the signatures of the people who attend the signature, to make sure that they are who they say they are and to make sure that they are not being pressured into signing. They will get involved at the end of a transaction and are no substitute for having an independent lawyer as they don’t get involved in the whole transaction.
Judicare can assist you with a wide range of different legal requirements throughout the whole of Italy including;
- Conveyancing – the purchase or sale of properties in Italy. This can be either for your own personal use as a holiday home, retirement home or to live in or as an investment to rent out. We can advise on tax and inheritance issues that arise when purchasing a property in Italy.
- Probate in Italy. We can help with inheriting Italian assets whether there this is a result of an Italian Will, a British Will or no will at all (intestacy).
- Making a Will in Italy to make sure that your Italian assets are left to the correct people in the most effective and tax efficient manner.
- Golden Visa applications for non EU Citizens
- The recovery of debt either from a failed off plan property investment or a general debt owed by somebody in Italy.
- Setting up a business in Italy
- Italian lawyers are called Avvocatos. In Italy there is no separation between the roles of an Italian Lawyer like there is in the UK and therefore there is no equivalent of having a Solicitor and a Barrister who are separate.
- Like the UK, Italian lawyers have to pass their degree course and then spend some time at a Law Firm before they can become a lawyer. The Italian training is slightly shorter than the training in the UK in that they spend 18 months with a law firm rather than 2 years in the UK.
- Avvocatos in Italy are regulated at a National level by the National Bar Association ( Consiglio Nazionale Forenze) and on a regional level by local Bar Associations (Consiglio dell’Ordini degli Avvocati).
- Italian lawyers have to have compulsory Indemnity Insurance just like in the UK. The level of cover required is based on the number of lawyers and annual turnover and is generally much less than the minimum of £3 million required by all firms of Solicitors in the UK.
- Many Italian lawyers are not used to dealing with British clients on a daily basis and will therefore make certain assumptions about what those clients may know about the Italian Legal system. Italian lawyers will also often have no knowledge of the British legal system and will therefore pay no regard to this when dealing with a transaction. Both of these things can impact upon the legal nature of the transaction.
Italian law can at times be quite complex and some of the concepts are very different from those which you may be used to in the UK. Furthermore there is a considerable difference between what the law says and what actually happens in practice. All of this means there are quite a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions when it comes to Italian law. It is therefore an advantage to use an independent law firm who understands not only Italian Law but also UK law to assist you with your legal issues in Italy.