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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance


Client Briefing - The Joint Civil Divisions of The Supreme Court And The End Of 'Supervening Usury'; Initial Comments

4 June 2018

By way of decision no. 24675 of 19 October 2017, the Joint Civil Divisions of the Italian Supreme Court rejected the relevance of so-called supervening usury and held that crossing the threshold rate in the contractual relationship does not, in and of itself, make a clause void or unenforceable or trigger the automatic replacement of the rate that became usurious with the threshold rate applicable at that time, or lead to application of criminal sanctions. The judgment also affirms that the request by the lender to collect the interest in accordance with the rate validly agreed, even if it subsequently exceeds the threshold rate, does not constitute a behaviour contrary to the principle of good faith in the performance of the contract.

Despite the definite relevance of this judgment, several interpretative questions remain open in both civil and criminal areas, which require the adoption of appropriate precautionary safeguards by financial operators.

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