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 Post subject: El Caribe/Bella Vista II
PostPosted: August 17th, 2012, 8:47 pm 
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Joined: August 17th, 2012, 7:21 pm
Posts: 2
Location: London-Rome
Who we are

We are a law firm based in London specialised in cross-border litigation between Italy and England. We advise individuals and companies in the field of civil and commercial matters. We are registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and therefore provided with the right to conduct litigation before English Courts. We have dual expertise, in English and Italian Law.

General

We are aware that in 2006 and 2007 dozens of English and Irish individuals have exchanged contracts (and paid the related deposits) for the purchase of off-plan properties in two developments named El Caribe (Isola di Capo Rizzuto) and Bella Vista II (Bianco). The works for the construction of both developments have never commenced and nobody has been refunded for the aborted purchase, apart from those who have agreed on a swap with the developer.

We are also aware that some of the purchasers in those developments have commenced proceedings in Italy for the recovery of the deposit paid or have lodged a complaint with the SRA. The majority of them have not take any action so far and are at risk of losing the money they have invested. This post is addressed to every purchaser in El Caribe and Bella Vista II, whether he has already taken action or not.

Liability

We have conducted an extensive analysis on the facts and we are of the strong view that all purchasers are entitled to be compensated by the law firm that advised them on the transaction.
We have already represented a purchaser in El Caribe in a claim that we brought before the High Court of Justice, whose outcome has been successful. Some confidentiality clauses agreed with the defendant prevent us from disclosing the terms of the settlement agreed. However, we believe that any claim brought against the law firm that advised on El Caribe and Bella Vista II may have high chances of success.

The action

Our advice is to start a claim for professional negligence in England pursuant to the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol, which works as follows:
(1) the client should send a detailed Letter of Claim to the firm, requesting it to investigate the claim and to provide him with a substantive response within 3 months;
(2) if the claim is denied and no offer is made, it is open to the client to commence litigation. The competent court would be the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, London. The claimant is entitled to claim the deposit, interest and costs borne in connection with the claim.
(3) We are of the view that the claim may disposed of by means of a summary judgment, a type of procedure which does not have the high costs of a trial.
(4) depending on the circumstances, we estimate a duration of 6-8 months (or even less, if the law firm agrees to settle upon the pre-action stage)

Alternative actions

We believe that litigation before the Queen's Bench Division for professional negligence is the best way to proceed for the following reasons:

(1) litigation in Italy against the vendor has very few if not null chances of concrete success, due to the way Italian justice works and the fact that, in the two cases in question, it is very unlikely that the defendants will meet the judgment.
In relation to Bella Vista II, please note that the selling party, Italian Connection Properties S.r.l., has been adjudged bankrupt in 2009; the Receiver appointed by the Court has told us that the Company is just an empty box.
As to El Caribe, we are of the view that GB Immobiliare S.r.l., the Company that owns the plot of land where the development was due to be built, cannot be sued in the proceedings.

(2) Complaints lodged at the SRA have a different purpose (disciplinary liability) and the SRA itself have extremely restricted powers to award compensations.

In other words, this is a matters to be disposed of by Civil Courts, and the English Courts are by far the best choice that one can take. The reason is simple: the law firm's insurer is legally responsible for the compensation.

If a purchaser has already started a claim before the Italian Courts, no worries: he is not prevented from commencing proceedings in England (as the two actions have a different cause of action) and, in addition, may be entitled to recover those costs too (as they are costs borne in connection with the breach of duty committed by the law firm)

Limitation issues
This is an extremely important point. Please be aware that, pursuant to the Limitation Act, proceedings for breach of contract must be commenced within 6 years from the date of the breach. In light of the fact that instructions for Bella Vista II were given as of around the second half of 2006, any action related to this development is at risk of being declared statute-barred. Therefore, any purchaser in this development should take action immediately. There are some more months for El Caribe, but there is an imminent risk there too.

Why you should choose us

There are several reasons for which the purchasers in El Caribe and Bella Vista II should choose to be represented by us:

(1) The claims in question are very complex, as they involve the knowledge of English law and procedure, from one hand, and Italian Contract law, from the other. Unlike English solicitors, we have both, therefore we do not need to instruct experts in foreign law. The result is that we have the full picture of the matter, not to mention the advantage in terms of costs;

(2) we know the background of the claims perfectly (structure of the deals, companies involved, issues of liability). The intended claimants do not have to explain us what happened, as they should do if instructing a 'normal' English firm; they just have to provide us with the relevant documents of the purchase and we will be able to start the claim straight away;

(2) we practise in England as Registered European Lawyers since 2007 and our records at the SRA are simply immaculate.

What is next
Whilst we will be happy to provide some further general clarifications on the forum, our aim is not to start an academic discussion on this topic. This is a call for immediate action. If you are interested in being represented by us, please have all the documentation ready (reservation form, preliminary sale agreement, receipts of payments, report on title, correspondence related to the instruction, all such documents well in order and in pdf format) and feel free to contact the writer, Pietro Gatto, by email at pietro.gatto@ag-law.co.uk, even in relation to the very competitive structure of the fees that we will request to start the claim (costs that you will be entitled to recover).

This is really the last call for getting compensated. Please consider this post with the most attention.

We are also willing to consider claims for other developments, subject to the prior assessment of the related background.

Kind regards

Pietro Gatto
AG Avvocati Gatto
25 Southampton Buildings
London WC2A 1AL
pietro.gatto@ag-law.co.uk


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