Romanian Legal Week: February 22-28, 2016

Irina Horodincă

The National Anti-corruption Directorate presented its 2015 activity report LIVE@JURIDICE
A meeting in which The National Anti-corruption Directorate presented its 2015 activity report took place on Thursday, 25.02.2016. The full video is available here. Laura Codruţa Kovesi, chief prosecutor of the Directorate, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis, prime-minister Dacian Cioloş and Livia Stanciu, president of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, were among the speakers.

Kovesi stated that over the course of the last year, more than 1.250 defendants have been brought to justice for acts of corruption. The number of indicted ministers and members of the Parliament is five times higher than it was in 2013 and consists of one prime-minister, five ministers, and twenty one members of the Parliament. The bribe money claimed and received by the defendants in these lawsuits peaks at 431 million euros. However, for the first time in recent years, the acquittal rate has dropped to 7,63%.

President Iohannis praised the activity of the Directorate and has expressed his support for the battle against corruption, whereas Livia Stanciu spoke of the DNA’s tradition of success. Minister of Justice Raluca Prună, Superior Council of Magistracy president Mircea Aron, Minister of Internal Affairs Petre Toba, Romanian Information Service director Eduard Helvig and Bogdan Licu, first deputy of the general Prosecutor’s Office, have also encouraged and congratulated the National Anti-corruption Directorate.

Ana-Maria Iliescu

The Minister of Justice’s proposal for the leadership of the National Anticorruption Directorate
Raluca Prună, the Minister of Justice will propose that Laura Codruţa Kovesi should be reinvested as the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate. This decision was made public at the end of the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s assessment meeting, on 25.02.2016.

The Ministry of Justice. 2016 Strategy Map
The Romanian Ministry of Justice shared on Wednesday, 24.02.2016, on its official Facebook page, the post published by the Parliamentary Relations Office, concerning the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Justice for 2016. The map can be consulted here.

Public debate concerning the organization of the election process for the 2016 elections to the Romanian Parliament and regarding the adequateness of postal voting
The Romanian Ministry of  Foreign Affairs hosted on Monday, 22.02.2016, a public debate with reference to the challenges which might be brought about by the election process for the 2016 elections to the Romanian Parliament and with reference to the adequateness of postal voting. Among the participants to the debate were Dan Stoenescu, the delegate minister for the relations with Romanians everywhere, Violeta Alexandru, the minister for public consultation and civic dialogue, Dan Vlaicu, the vice-president of the Permanent Electoral Authority, Sorin Moise, the secretary general of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs and Andrei Stanescu, the executive director of the Romanian Post. The civil society was represented by the coordinator of the ActiveWatch Media Monitoring Agency, Paul Chioveanu, the director of  Funky Citizens association, Elena Calistru, representatives of the Group for Participatory Democracy, of the Public Innovation Centre and of the Pro-Democracy Association.

During the debate the adequateness of the amendments regarding the elections was emphasized.  A subject of particular interest was postal voting.

Motion to amend Law no. 415/2002. The participation of the Prosecutor General in the Supreme Council of National Defense 
The Public Ministry sent a motion to the Minister of Justice, proposing the amendment of Law no. 415/2002 on the functioning of the Supreme Council of National Defense. The amendment regards the appointment of the general prosecutor of the Prosecutors’ Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice as rightful member of the aforementioned Council. The participation of the general prosecutor of the Prosecutors’ Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice as rightful member of the Supreme Council of National Defense would be a manifestation of the state balance of power without infringing the principle of separation of powers. Moreover, the reason for requesting the general prosecutor’s participation is legitimate, necessary and proportional to the scope of the de facto existence of the SCND.

SCM. The acta of the joint Commissions no. 1 and 2
The Superior Council of Magistracy published the acta of the joint commissions, dating from 23.02.2016:
Commission no. 1- Independence and accountability of justice, the streamlining of its activity and the development of judicial performance, the integrity and transparency of the judicial system
Commission no. 2- Streamlining the activity of the Superior Council of Magistracy and of the coordinated institutions, the partnership with the internal institutions and the civil society

PwC analysis. The Romanian Mergers and Acquisitions sector surpassed 3 billion euros last year
The value of the mergers and acquisitions sector in Romania saw an increase of 160% in 2015 and surpassed 3 billion euros, according to an analysis conducted by PwC Romania. The considerable increment of the local sector reflected the evolution at an international scale as well, the mergers and acquisition activities having surpassed in 2015 the previous historical record set in 2007. At an international level, the top dynamic sectors were the following: the energy, the medical and pharmaceutical and the consumer goods sectors.

In Romania, in 2015, the most transactions concerned industrial production and real estate sectors and the average value of a transaction was 26 million euros, the mergers and acquisitions activities still being dominated by small and medium transactions.

The National Association of Romanian Bars and the Bucharest Bar representatives met a delegation of the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering
The National Association of Romanian Bars published on Friday, 19.02.2016, a statement concerning the NARB’s actions, undertaken in order to clarify the inter-institutional relations between NARB and the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering. This was necessary in the light of the particular situation of law firms regarding the compliance with Law no. 656/2002 on the prevention and sanctioning of money laundering, as well as for setting up measures for prevention and combating of terrorism financing acts, republished.

A different kind of Bar. Draft amendments to the Law and the Statute of the Profession
An Ordinary General Assembly convoked by the Cluj Bar was held on 26.02.2016.  Mr. Lawyer Dan-Sebastian Cherteş has forwarded draft amendments to the Law and the Statute of the Profession  concerning the following points (which ought to be discussed in the meeting and taken into consideration by other lawyers):
– access to certain leading positions should be facilitated by modifying specific requirements.
– access to the High Court of Cassation and Justice and to the Romanian Constitutional Court should require a minimum  experience of four years instead of five.
– decisional transparency should be ensured. Written records regarding the decisions of local and central governing bodies should be made available on-line.
– rethinking the purpose of continuous professional training through specific changes and optimization.
– deductibility of certain work-related expenses.
– restructuring the National Health Insurance House contributions system for lawyers.
– modernization of publicity methods.
– protecting trainee lawyers’ rights to a fair wage.
– general modernization of the means of professional communication.

The Bucharest Bar. Elective proceedings for selecting the representatives who will be sent at the Lawyer Congress 2016. UPDATE: Valid candidates, final list.
The Bucharest Bar has published the list of candidates who will be its representatives at the Lawyer Congress. The Congress will take place on the 25-26th of March 2016. The list is available here.

National Institute of Magistracy. Work groups created in the view of a reevaluation of the new institutions introduced by the recent civil and criminal codes
The National Institute of Magistracy announced a reevaluation of the new institutions introduced by the recent civil and criminal codes which will take place, at the request of the Superior Council of Magistracy, with regard to the respect owed to fundamental human rights and liberties and concerning their compliance with the Romanian Constitution. Field specialists are, therefore, invited to forward their propositions concerning the matter until 20.03.2016, at the e-mail addresses which are available here.

The status of the National Institute of Magistracy teaching personnel was modified
The National Institute of Magistracy published on Thursday, 24.02.2016, the Status of the National Institute of Magistracy teaching personnel, approved by the SCM Resolution no. 531/2012, containing the amendments brought via the SCM Resolution no. 71/2016.

After Bara. The HCCJ was required to make a reference for a preliminary ruling
During an ongoing litigation between a natural person and the National Integrity Agency, the High Court of Cassation and Justice was required, as per article 267, paragraph 3 of the TFEU to make a reference for a preliminary ruling before the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the compatibility of the national legislation with the law of the European Union. The proposed object of the reference could be summed up as it follows: do the proceedings by which a public authority requests financial, contractual and commercial information from public institutions, public authorities or natural and legal private persons concerning a certain natural person, without informing the latter constitute a violation of articles 10, 11 and 13 of Directive 95/46/EC?

High Court for Cassation and Justice. Judicial error in a civil trial. Conditions for granting compensations
The High Court of Cassation and Justice has held that repairing the material damages caused by judicial errors in lawsuits that are not criminal in nature is conditioned by the existence of a final ruling which assesses the criminal liability of a disciplinary sanction concerning the judge or prosecutor in question, for an act committed during the trial proceedings which caused the judicial error, as per art. 96(4) of Law no. 303/2004.

Irina Horodincă
Ana Maria Iliescu

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