Believe it or not, the Italian Bar Association is calling on its members to strike in opposition to a mandatory mediation law. According to the website for the Organismo Unitario dell’Avvocatura Italiana (the Italian bar association- www.oua.it, lawyers are being asked to participate in a strike from March 16-22, and a public protest demonstration on March 16th. The strike is aimed at a new law commencing March 21st, requiring mandatory mediation in certain cases. Lawyers are being asked to attend the protest and to cease work on all cases during that period.
Interestingly, the timing of the strike blankets a national holiday (March 17-18) and a weekend (March 19-20), effectively extending what is already a four day weekend.
Now that mediation is an accepted part of the civil litigation process, we forget that in other parts of the world, lawyers are still fighting against measures that may settle cases and reduce legal fees. Even though there is a significant backlog of cases in Italy, lawyers are obviously not taking this new law lying down.
That said, it is interesting that the Government passed the law notwithstanding such strong opposition from the Bar.
Written by Paul Godin, LL.B., C.Med