Declarations in lieu of cheque protest are equivalent to a formal protest and are issued by Banca d'Italia at the request of the drawee (the intermediary at which the issuer of the bank or postal cheque - the drawer - has his/her current account) acting on behalf of the negotiator (the intermediary that receives the cheque to be cashed from the bearer).
The bearer of a bank or postal cheque, presented on time and not paid, can take action ('exercise recourse') against endorsers (those who transferred the cheque to another party), the drawer, or other obligors, even when refusal of payment has been certified by a declaration from Banca d'Italia (Article 45 of Royal Decree 1736 of 21 December 1933, hereinafter the 'Cheques Law').
Recourse to Banca d'Italia for the purposes of issuing declarations in lieu of protest is subject to fees to enable Banca d'Italia itself to recover the costs incurred in carrying out the related activities.
Banca d'Italia transmits the list of protests monthly to the Presidents of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture for subsequent publication in the 'Computerized register of protested cheques' and transmits to the Prefects reports of administrative violations consisting in the issuance of cheques without authorization or without funds (Law 386/1990).
Law 106/2011, which amended the Cheques Law and the related implementing provisions, introduced the possibility of using an electronic format both for the interbank presentation of cheques for payment and for declarations attesting to non-payment (protests and declarations in lieu of protest).
The service for issuing declarations in lieu of protest was accordingly adapted to the new regulatory framework, which envisages online interaction with the banks that use this service.
These procedures enable drawees to transmit requests for declarations in lieu of protest to Banca d'Italia via the Internet, attaching a digital image of the cheque and the related documentation.
The new service for issuing declarations in lieu of protest was launched in concomitance with the new interbank procedure, Cheque Image Truncation (CIT), set up for the presentation of cheques in electronic form and their settlement through Banca d'Italia's BI-Comp clearing system.