Lawyers in Italy are on strike today in protest over latest laws requiring the parties to go to mediation in commercial cases.

The strike has been initiated by Italy’s national union of lawyers, the Organismo Unitario dell’Avvocatura Italiana. The organization asks lawyers to refrain from attending hearings in any civil, criminal, tax, or administrative proceedings as well as to send their customers letters urging them to sign a form letter of protest.

Based on reports, Italy currently endures a backlog of 5.4 million civil cases, and a 2008 European Union directive calls on every E.U. nation (except Denmark), to pass a law by May providing for mediation of cross-border civil cases. Only Italy’s fresh law makes it mandatory, effective March 21.