Debt recovery Italy

Quick collections are particularly difficult in Italy. A different system and a different mentality create difficulties. How can you deal with Italian debtors?

1. Demanding payment

When you do business in Italy and your customer does not pay within the set deadline for payment, you can send a demand for payment. It is important that this is done both in writing and by telephone. If your customer does not respond to the demand(s), you can assign your claims to Bierens Collection Attorneys.

2. Assigning claims

Bierens handles Italian collections in Amsterdam using an Italian lawyer and an attorney. They have perfect command of the language and a thorough knowledge of Italian law, regulation, and culture. Since our Italian employees speak fluent Italian, English, and Dutch, you can discuss your issues with them.

3. Dealing with collections in Italy

Cultural differences between the Dutch and Italian attitude toward payment can produce friction. Where Dutchmen often pay on or before the due date, Italian debtors almost never do. This requires a stronger approach and Bierens’ Italian team knows how to deal with this in the proper legal way.

A. Extrajudicial collections

After your claim is transferred Bierens Collection Attorneys will demand payment in writing and by telephone. Generally speaking, a demand for payment by a lawyer is taken very seriously in Italy. When a debtor does not pay within the set deadline, we can advise you further. Since Bierens has handled the case right from the start, legal action can be instituted quickly.

B. Court-ordered collections

Italy has two options for legal action against debtors: a quick order compelling payment or a thorough action on the merits. In is possible to execute a claim based on an enforceable order, such as an order compelling payment (“Decreto ingiuntivo”) or a judgment.

Decreto Ingiuntivo (order compelling payment)

The order compelling payment allows for asking the court for execution by anticipation. The debtor then has forty days to raise a defense against the order. When a defense is raised, an action on the merits starts automatically. When the court does grant execution by anticipation, Bierens will continue the enforcement proceedings. This can freeze the debtor’s property until the action on the merits is concluded.

Action on the merits

When a civil case (such as one involving damages, insurance, or contract) is substantively more complicated than a collections case, Italy will use an action on the merits (or, ‘Processo ordinario di cognizione’). This is also used in complex collections cases. Since the court carries out a substantive review of the case during its sessions, these are expensive proceedings and take longer.


A court can permit prejudgment attachment until such time as final judgment is pronounced. To do so, the following rules must be met: presumption of sufficient legal basis (fumus boni iuris) and the danger of loss of collateral from any delay (periculum in mora). These two requirements are difficult to prove, which means that prejudgment attachment will not easily be permitted. The ultimate purpose of prejudgment attachment is to provide the creditor with some guarantee that the debtor’s property will not disappear.

Petition for bankruptcy

In the Netherlands bankruptcy can be declared without judgment being pronounced. This is not the case in Italy. Bankruptcy proceedings are allowed there only after an enforceable judgment is obtained (such as a judgment or an order).

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5. Advice about debt collection in Italy

Would you like more information about collections or bringing legal action in Italy? Email or telephone +31 20 312 11 00.

See also Debt Collection in Italy on the website of Bierens Debt Recovery Lawyers.

Transfer claim

This website is about sharing knowledge. But if you have a claim to recover, you can go to the website of Bierens Debt Recovery Lawyers. For claims submitted by 4pm, a demand letter is sent the same day.

Transfer claim