After the state of emergency was established in Romania for a period of 30 days as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, in each field there were taken special measures in order to prevent the contamination.
It is important to mention that each court did not suspend entirely its activity. Therefore, as you will see in the following, the relationship with the court can be held through electronic means. Basically, in almost all of the regions of the country, each concerned party can have access to the electronic case file, and can send/receive documents to/from the court via e-mail or fax. In addition to this, the public schedule for the administrative issues can be held only by phone or via e-mail or fax.
It is also important to know that even though some of the courts suspended their hearings they are still working and drafting the text of the delivered decisions. Therefore, it is quite possible that in the next period the parties will receive the motivations of each decision.
- The Presidential Decree no. 195/16.03.2020 regarding the state of emergency established in Romania;
- The Decision no. 257/17.03.2020 of the Superior Council of Magistracy;
- The Decision no. 53/18.03.2020 of the Bucharest Court of Appeal and Decision no. 4/18.04.2020 of the Constanta Court of Appeal.
According to the special regulations mentioned above, in the justice area there were taken the following measures:
- any statute of limitation and deterioration period will not run, and, if they have started to run, they are suspended pursuant to the presidential decree;
- during the state of emergency, only the urgent files will continue to be judged; taking into account the circumstances, the judges can set short hearings, including from one day to another or even on the same day;
The following trials are considered urgent to be judged:
- civil, commercial and insolvency matters: temporary injunctions; temporary suspension of the enforcement procedure; jurisdiction conflicts in matters of protection order; execution of public procurement contracts concerning the medical products and services; temporary suspension of the enforcement procedure until the syndic decides to approve/reject the insolvency request; involuntary hospitalization; approvals / non-approvals of the enforcement procedures based on temporary injunctions or other enforceable titles which concern the minors;
- labor and social insurance matters: temporary injunctions; temporary suspension of the enforcement procedure; issues regarding the ending of strike;
- administrative and fiscal matters: temporary injunctions; detention issues; declaring the undesirable people; temporary suspension of the first court decisions; issues that are examined in closed session without summoning the parties and are related to the cases mentioned above, including the procedural incidences; challenges submitted against the administrative acts issued on the basis of presidential decree;
- criminal matters: issues decided by the judges of rights and freedoms; issues in front of the preliminary chamber judge/court, as – challenges regarding the protective measures, preventive measures, temporary medical safety measures, protection of the victims and witnesses, crimes against the national security and terrorism in case of preventive measures, international judicial cooperation in criminal matters which involve the preventive measures, penalty interruption / delay, delay cancellation / interruption; challenges concerning the conditional release and the release of the minors from the educational or detention center; issues solved by the judge that is supervising the deprivation of liberty.
It is important to mention that other courts, like Constanta Court of Appel, established more issues that can be considered urgent to be judged, as: precautionary measures ordered by the court, guardianship, delegation of parental authority, approvals / non-approvals of the enforcement procedures, different issues regarding minors, protection orders, issues concerning the foreigners, seizure / detention / arrest of ships, suspension of strike.
- when it is possible, the courts can set the necessary measures in order to judge by videoconference and also can send all the procedural documents by fax, electronic mail or by other means that ensure the transmission of the document and the confirmation of its receipt;
- the hearings can be postponed in case of request send by an isolated, quarantined person or hospitalized in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; in case the judges do not agree with the postponement request, they will postpone the decision in order for the parties to submit written conclusions;
- according to the decree, the enforcement procedures will continue only if they will be in compliance with the health discipline provisions established by the National Committee on Special Emergency Situations, in order to protect the rights to life and physical integrity of the forced execution participants.
On 23.03.2020, the National Union of Bailiffs issued a press release stating that all the evacuation procedures and all the direct enforcement procedures (for example, concerning the obligation to return a movable) are suspended until the end of the state of emergency. Even though the indirect enforcement procedure (garnishment, selling the assets of the debtor in order to recover the claim) is not suspended, 99% of the bailiffs suspended their entire activity due to the fact that they do not comply with the health discipline provisions established by the National Committee on Special Emergency Situations.
- the activity in the criminal prosecution procedure and the activity of the judges of rights and freedoms will be limited to certain cases; all the other cases that are not considered to be urgent will be suspended;
- during the state of emergency, all the cases that are not considered to be urgent will be suspended, without the need of any request; during the state of emergency, the pending appeal terms will be discontinued and therefore, after the end of the state of emergency, there will be issued new terms, of the same duration; in case the parties appealed the decisions before the decree was established, the case files will be submitted to the competent courts after the end of the state of emergency;
- all the auctions established in the criminal files in order to sell the seized movables are suspended by law;
- the statute of limitation regarding the criminal liability is suspended in the cases where no criminal prosecution documents are carried out or where the criminal case is suspended according to this decree.
The list provided by the Romanian courts of law can be supplemented or modified in the event of any exceptional change.