Raffaele Cangiano

The contingency fees ("patto di quota lite") between Italian and American Law: a few remarks on pro-competitive capabilities and limits of the reform introduced by the law 248/06

  • Abstract

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Following up the recent legislative reform in Italy, aimed at fostering competition in the market for professional services, the ancient ban on contingency fees (the socalled "patto di quota lite") for lawyers has been removed. Such a reform, on the one hand has met the Italian Antitrust Authority's approval, considering the very low-level of competition among lawyers in Italy, on the other hand has raised the negative reaction of "avvocati" who, on the contrary, should find new incentives in the opportunity of linking their fees to the final outcome. According to these latter, contingency fees could lead to decreasing quality of the professional service and to opportunistic behaviour to the detriment of occasional clients, making the problem of asymmetric information between client and professional even bigger. This study aims at exploring if the removal of "patto di quota lite" could really foster competition among lawyers in Italy or the lawyer's worries should be considered prevailing. In order to better understand the capabilities of the Italian reform, we will have a closer look into the North-American system of "no win-no fee", pointing out the main features, limits and pro-competitive capabilities of it.

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