An overview of justice administration in Italy shows a situation on the verge of collapse. The traditional rigidity of European bureaucratic organisations, combined with judicial ritualism and defence of the status quo by strong guilds of lawyers and judges, has made the whole system of dispute processing intolerably long and cumbersome. In fact, the average duration of a civil case before a trial court has recently reached the peak of 1,300 days (that is over three and a half years), while the average criminal proceeding lasts 427 days (1.16 years) before the court of first instance and 555 days (1.52 years) before the court of appeal. In short, litigants planning to appeal a first instance decision in a civil case can reasonably estimate that the time needed to reach a final judgment is approximately 10 years.