Under the Italian legal system, class actions are based on the opt-in mechanism. Under this mechanism, any member of a class is entitled to start an action.
Before proceedings commence, notice of the action must be advertised in the public area of the website for digital services managed by the Ministry of Justice (Portale dei Servizi Telematici) (the “MOJ Website”). Any further class actions relating to the same cause of action, starting within 60 days of publication are consolidated within the advertised notice of action. Actions starting after the 60-day publication period are struck out and cancelled from the register of the court proceedings.
At the first hearing, the court will decide on the admissibility of the class action. Once a claim is declared admissible, members of the class may opt-in: (i) after the ruling of the court on the admissibility of the action by the deadline granted by the court (ranging from a minimum of 60 days to a maximum of 150 days); or (ii) after judgment is issued on the merits of the claim.
Members can join the action without legal representation by uploading a specific application form (available on the portal of digital services) and indicating the reasons for joining the class action, accompanied by the relevant documents along with the declaration of having paid the expense fund (i.e., the application fee).