Expert witness activity on Italian law (substantive law, procedure, and law of privileges)

Expert witness activity on Italian law (substantive law, procedure, and law of privileges).

Judicial notice is required to enable the judge to apply foreign law in a case. Judicial notice is established pursuant to F.R.Civ.P 44.1:

A party who intends to raise an issue about a foreign country’s law must give notice by a pleading or other writing. In determining foreign law, the court may consider any relevant material or source, including testimony, whether or not submitted by a party or admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The court’s determination must be treated as a ruling on a question of law.

Some states, for example such as Florida, have similar rules.

While a court can conduct its own research on the foreign law without involvement of the parties, it may request the parties to bring materials and information and usually courts give them an opportunity to provide their points on the foreign law. A wide range of materials can be used to prove foreign law (e.g., journals, treatises, etc.) but often the most efficient way to prove it is through an expert witness, who can render declarations, depositions, or live testimony. Why expert testimony is better then written material to prove the foreign law? As the Seventh Circuit held in Bodum, USA, Inc. v. La Cafetiere Inc., 621 F.3d 624, 638 (7th Cir. 2010)

“Exercises in comparative law are notoriously difficult, because the U.S. reader is likely to miss nuances in the foreign law, to fail to appreciate the way in which one branch of the other country’s law interacts with another, or to assume erroneously that the foreign law mirrors U.S. law when it does not .” Full decision here.

In addition, unlike a written document, an expert witness can explain the sources of law, the hierarchy of law, the legal interpretation, and other matters.

“In fact, the best source of foreign law is said to be an expert who has studied the foreign law, has practiced law in the country of its origin, and can translate and interpret it in the idiom of the American attorney.” Matthew J. Wilson, Demystifying The Determination Of Foreign Law In U.S. Courts: Opening The Door To A Greater Global Understanding, 46 Wake Forest L. Rev. 887 (2011), quoting C.C. Bjorklund, Law of Foreign Jurisdiction, in 21 AM. JUR. PROOF OF FACTS 2D 1, § 13 n.25 (2010) available at

This is exactly the type of service that we can offer for Italian law. Francesca Giannoni-Crystal  is a dually qualified Italian and American attorney (admitted NY, DC and as Foreign Legal Consultant – not a member of SC Bar, in South Carolina). She has a dual education, having received a JD from Italy and one from the United States. She worked more than ten years in Italy and is now a member of the law firm Crystal and Giannoni-Crystal, LLC.

Contact us to inquire into this service.