ECHR about the unification of judicial practice in Romania

On the 10th of May 2012, the European Court of Human Rights pronounced her interim decision, in cause Albu and others c. Romania, finding no violation by the Romanian state of the article 6 from the European Convention of Human Rights about the right to an equitable trial.

In essence, the 64 claimants, with the quality of public servants of the Labor Force Occupation Agency from Caras Severin, claimed to the European Court about the alleged violation of the right to an equitable trial, due to the existence of some conflicting decisions. In the case, the claimants showed that the national courts rejected their applications for the grade and step growth, even if, in all the country, there were other courts that admitted similar actions, introduced by their colleagues.

In fact, during the period 2008-2009 there existed a divergent approach from the national courts about the right of public servants in receiving these two increases. Though, in November 2009, the High Court of Cassation and Justice unified the judicial practice in this area, pronouncing an appeal on points of law in which she declared the unfounded character of the claims in according these two salary increases.

In her decision, the European Court retained that the unification of the courts practice needs some time, in this case a short period of time when many jurisprudential solutions coexist in similar situations, do not determine automatically a violation of the Convention.

The trust of the citizen in the judicial system efficiency depends, from the point of view of the Court, by the existence and good function on an intern system for the unification of the divergent practice. So, in this case, the European Court retained the decisive role played by the High Court of Cassation and Justice through the pronouncing, in a short period since the problem has occurred, of the appeal on points of law made to unify the judicial practice in the field of the solicited increases.

Moreover, in a general plan, the Court noted the consistent effort of the supreme instance, taking into consideration that during the period 2008-2011 she gave solutions to more than 100 appeals in the unification of the practice.

Through the same decision, the Court rejected as inadmissible the claimants’ complaint under the aspect of a violation by the Romanian state of their property right. In this case, it has retained that the servants could not pretend having a certain claim against the state, as long as the internal courts have not recognized them the required salary increases and at the national level did not existed a clear and unified jurisprudential orientation in their favor.

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