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LAW

on The Supreme Court of Justice

(The Law No. 56 of 9 July 1993 was published in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I, No. 159 of 13 July 1993, and was modified by the Law No. 79/1996, published in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I, No. 150 of 17 July 1996, and by the Law No. 142/1997, published in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I, No. 170 of 25 July 1997.

Republished on the grounds of Art. IV of the Law No. 153/1998, published in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I, No. 267 of 17 July 1998 , giving the texts a new numbering.)

TITLE I

General Provisions

Art. 1.- Justice in Romania shall be achieved by The Supreme Court of Justice and the other courts of law, in accordance with the principles and provisions stipulated by the Constitution and the laws of the country.

The Supreme Court of Justice shall aim at the correct and unitary enforcement of the law by all courts of law.

In Romania there is a single Supreme Court of justice, having its seat in the capital of the country.

Art. 2. -The decisions of the courts of appeal, as well as other judgments established by law are subject to appeal to The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 3.The Supreme Court of Justice shall try the appeals in the interest of the law and the actions for cancellation declared against the decisions and judicial acts, in the conditions and for the reasons established by law.

Art. 4.- The Supreme Court of Justice shall also have a special competence of judging in substance, in all the cases provided by law.

Art. 5.- The Supreme Court of Justice shall inform the Constitutional Court in order to give its verdict on the constitutionality of the laws prior to their promulgation.

Art. 6.- The judges of The Supreme Court of Justice shall be independent in their judicial activity and they shall submit only to the law.

TITLE II

Organisation, Management, Functioning and Competence of The Supreme Court of Justice

CHAPTER I

Organisation and Management of The Supreme Court of Justice

Art. 7.- The Supreme Court of Justice shall consist of one president, one vice-president, four division presidents and at the most eighty judges.

The Court shall be organised in four divisions - civil, penal, commercial and administrative actions -, the Panel of 9 judges and the joint Divisions, each having its own competence.

Art. 8. -The president of the Court, assisted by the vice-president, shall carry out the administrative management of The Supreme Court of Justice.

The president shall represent The Supreme Court of Justice in the internal and international relations.

Art. 9. -Within The Supreme Court of Justice there shall function assistant-magistrates, as established by the organisation chart.

Art. 11.- In order to maintain law and order, The Supreme Court of Justice shall have at its disposal, free of charge, a police contingent provided by the Ministry of the Interior. The president of the Court, to whom these cadres are subordinated, shall establish the required police staff.

The security of the seat of The Supreme Court of Justice shall be ensured by troops of the Gendermerie, free of charge.

CHAPTER II

Judges of The Supreme Court of Justice

Art. 12.- The president, vice-president, division presidents and the other judges of The Supreme Court of Justice shall be appointed for a period of six years by decree of the President of Romania, on the proposal of the Superior Council of the Magistrature, made on the recommendation of the Minister of justice.

In case the mandate of the president, vice-president, division president or of a judge of The Supreme Court of Justice, was terminated before the expiry of the duration for which he had been appointed, another person shall be appointed to the respective post, with the observance of the conditions stipulated by law. The mandate of the president, division president or judge thus appointed shall be terminated at the expiry of the duration of the mandate held by the predecessor he had replaced.

Art. 13.In order to be appointed at The Supreme Court of Justice, the judges have to fulfil the conditions provided by the Law No. 92/1992 on the judicial organisation, republished, and shall have a seniority in magistrature of at least fifteen years for the president, vice-president and division president, and of at least twelve years for the judges.

In the sense of paragraph 1, seniority in magistrature shall also be considered the period in which a person acted as teacher at the Faculty of Law, researcher at the Academy's Institute for juridical Research, judge at the Constitutional Court, adviser in the Ministry of justice, or lawyer.

Art. 14.The judges shall not exceed, in office, the age of 70 years. By request, they may retire, after reaching the age of 62 years for men, and 57 years for women.

Art. 15.- Before coming into office, the judges shall take the following oath before the President of Romania: "I swear to observe the Constitution and the laws of the country, the fundamental rights and liberties of thecitizens, to fulfil my tasks honourably, conscientiously and impartially. So help me God!"

Art. 16.- The president, vice-president, divison president and the judges shall be state dignitaries and shall be irremovable for the duration of the mandate.

CHAPTER III

Panels of judges

Art. 17.- The panels of judges shall consist of three judges from the same division.

If the number of judges necessary to form the panel cannot be ensured, it shall be formed of judges from the other divisions, designated by the president of The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 18.- In addition to the panels of judges of the divisions shall also function a panel consisting of nine judges presided over by the vice-president of The Supreme Court of Justice. In the absence of the vice-president, the panel shall be presided over by a division president or by a judge designated for this purpose.

Art. 19.The president shall preside over The Supreme Court of Justice in joint Divisions, and in the divisions, over any panel, when he participates in the trial.

In the absence of the president, the sittings he must take part in shall be presided over by the vice-president of The Supreme Court of Justice or by a division president.

The division presidents may preside over any panel of judges, while the other judges shall preside by turns.

Art. 20. -In case The Supreme Court of Justice tries in joint Divisions, at least there quarters of the number of members in office shall have to participate in the trial. The decision is to be taken only with the majority vote of those present.

CHAPTER IV

Competence of the Divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice, and of the Panel of 9 judges

Art. 21.The divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice shall have the following competences:

The Civil Division shall try the appeals:

a) in civil cases, determined by the Code of civil procedure except those given in the competence of other divisions by the present law or by special laws;

b) against the decisions pronounced in labour litigations, in the cases determined by law;

c) in any cases regarding other matters which have not been given in the competence of the other divisions. The Penal Division shall try the appeals:

d) in penal matters, in the cases determined by the Code of penal procedure, or by special laws;

e) against the decisions pronounced in penal matters by military courts of law.

The Commercial Division shall try the appeals against the decisions pronounced in commercial matters, in the cases determined by law.

The Division for Administrative Actions shall try the appeals:

a) in matters of administrative actions, in the cases determined by law;

b) in matters of expropriation;

c) in fiscal matters, except the litigations which, by special laws, are given in the competence of other courts of law.

Art. 22. -The divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice, in relation to their competence, shall try the actions for cancellation declared against the decisions pronounced by courts of first instance, tribunals and courts of appeal.

Art. 23. -The divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice, in relation to their competence, shall settle:

a) the petitions of transfer for the reasons specified in the codes of procedure;

b) conflicts of competence, in the cases stipulated by law;

c) any other petitions provided by law.

Art. 24. -The Panel of 9 judges shall try the appeals in the cases tried in the first instance by the divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice and the action for cancellation in the cases in which the divisions of the Court passed sentences which remained final by not lodging an appeal, or decisions in the settlement of ordinary appeals.

CHAPTER V

Competence of The Supreme Court of Justice in the First Instance

Art.25. -In the first instance, The Supreme Court of Justice shall try the penal cases and other cases stipulated by law, regarding:

a) the senators, deputies and members of the Government;

b) the marshals, admirals and generals;

c) the judges and assistant-magistrates from The Supreme Court of Justice, the judges from the courts of appeal and the Military Court of Appeal, as well as the public prosecutors from the public prosecutor's offices attached to these courts of law;

d) the judges of the Constitutional Court;

e) the members of the Court of Audit, judges, public prosecutors, and the auditors from this Court;

f) the president of the Legislative Council;

g) the heads of religious cults and the other members of the High Clergy, holding the rank of bishop or its equivalent;

h) other cases provided by law.

Cases in the first instance shall be tried by the Penal Division.

CHAPTER VI

Competence of The Supreme Court of Justice in joint Divisions

Art. 26. -The Supreme Court of Justice shall meet in joint Divisions in order to:

a) try the actions for cancellation in the cases in which the Panel of 9 judges passed decisions in ordinary appeal;

b) try appeals in the interest of the law;

c) settle, under the conditions of the present law, the notification regarding the change of the jurisprudence of The Supreme Court of Justice;

d) apply to the Constitutional Court for the control of the constitutionality of the laws before their promulgation.

TITLE III

Procedure Provisions

Art. 27.At the divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice, as per the competence of each, the parties may also lodge an appeal against the interlocutory judgments or judicial acts of any kind, which cannot be attacked in any way, while the proceedings have been interrupted in the courts of appeal.

Art.28. -The appeal submitted to The Supreme Court of Justice shall not adjourn the execution of the judgment, except for the cases provided by law.

Art.29. -Upon fixing a term for the appeal, the president may designate a judge or an assistant-magistrate to draw up a report on the case, in the lawsuits he considers more complicated.

The report shall be presented by the judge during the sitting before calling upon the parties to speak.

Art. 30.- The appeal in the interest of the law and the action for cancellation may be introduced even if for the same merits the instance had delivered judgment in the appeal declared by the parties.

Art. 31.- In case a division of The Supreme Court of Justice considers it appropriate to revert to its own jurisprudence, the judgment proceedings shall be interrupted, and the joint Divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice shall be notified, and shall try by summoning the parties in the record the judgment of which had been interrupted. After the Joint Divisions shall have adjudicated on the notification regarding the change of the jurisprudence, the judgment proceedings shall continue.

Art. 32. -The Supreme Court of Justice shall adjourn the judgment in case the exception of unconstitutionality of the law deemed to be applied is raised, and shall notify, according to law, the Constitutional Court, which shall decide on the exception.

The judgment proceedings shall be revived at The Supreme Court of Justice after having received the final decision of the Constitutional Court .

Art.33. -When The Supreme Court of Justice quashes the attacked decision and orders the re judgment, it shall transfer the case for a new judgment to the court whose decision had been quashed.

In the interest of a proper administration of justice, or if the court whose decision had been quashed no longer exists, the case shall be transferred to another court of the same rank.

Art. 34.- In case of a quash and a transfer of case, the decisions lawfully pronounced by The Supreme Court of Justice shall be binding, unless after re judgment the actual situation does not change.

Art. 35.- In case The Supreme Court of Justice admits the appeal and passes a final decision for the case, this decision shall be enforced by the court of first instance.

The decisions pronounced in the first instance at The Supreme Court of Justice shall be carried out according to the provisions under the Code of Penal Procedure.

TITLE N

Assistant-magistrates

Art. 36.- The prime assistant-magistrate, the chief assistant-magistrates and the assistant-magistrates shall belong to the Body of Magistrates and shall enjoy stability. The general conditions for their appointment shall be the ones required for the office of magistrate, according to Law No. 1992, republished.

Art. 37.The prime assistant-magistrate shall have the rank of a judge at a court of appeal. He shall be appointed out of the chief assistant-magistrates with a length of service of at least 2 years in that position. After a probation period of 5 years as prime assistant-magistrate, he may be promoted directly to the rank of president at a court of appeal.

The chief assistant-magistrates shall hold the rank of president at a tribunal and shall be appointed out of the assistant-magistrates with a length of service of at least 3 years in that position. After a probation period of 2 years as chief assistant-magistrates, they may be promoted directly to the rank of judge at a court of appeal and, after 5 more years, to the rank of president at a court of appeal.

The assistant-magistrates shall be appointed out of the judges or public prosecutors with a seniority in rank of at least 4 years. After a probation period of 4 years in that position, they may be promoted directly to the rank of president at a tribunal and, after 2 more years, to the rank of judge at a court of appeal.

The president of The Supreme Court of Justice may reduce by one quarter the seniority in the speciality for the assistant-magistrates who achieved special results in their activity.

Art. 38. -The prime assistant-magistrate and the chief assistant-magistrates may also be appointed out of the judges or public prosecutors having the seniority stipulated in Art. 37.

The chief assistant-magistrates and the assistant-magistrates may be also appointed out of the lawyers, legal advisers and the teaching staff from the university law department, for whom seniority shall be established according to the Law No. 92/1992, republished.

Art. 39. -The prime assistant-magistrate shall have the following attributions:

a) to co-ordinate the activity of the assistant-magistrates in the divisions and of the clerks in the Chancery of The Supreme Court of Justice;

b) to participate in the sittings of the joint Divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice and of the disciplinary panel;

c) to co-ordinate the activity of the Bureau for foreign relations.

Art. 40. -The chief assistant-magistrates shall have the following attributions:

a) to participate in the judgment sittings of the divisions and of the Panel of 9 judges;

b) to distribute the assistant-magistrates who participate in the judgment sittings;

c) to take care of the keeping in proper conditions, of the accounts of the divisions, and of the carrying out, in time, of all the paperworks.

Art. 41.- The assistant-magistrates shall participate in the judgment sittings of the divisions.

Art. 42. -The assistant-magistrates who participate in the judgment sittings of The Supreme Court of Justice shall make a note of the pleadings, draw up the conclusions, participate with an advisory vote in the deliberations, and draw up decisions, in accordance with the distribution made by the president for all the members of the panel of judges.

Art. 43. -The assistant-magistrates shall carry out any other tasks assigned to them by the president of The Supreme Court of Justice, the vice-president or the division president.

TITLE V

Activity of the Public Prosecutor's Office Attached to The Supreme Court of Justice

Art. 44.- The Public Prosecutor General at the Public Prosecutor's Office attached to The Supreme Court of Justice shall participate in the sittings of the Court in Joint Divisions, as well as in any panel of the Court, whenever he deems it necessary.

In case of obstruction, the Public Prosecutor General at the Public Prosecutor's Office attached to The Supreme Court of Justice may delegate one of his deputies to participate in his place in those sittings.

Art. 45. -The public prosecutors at the Public Prosecutor's Office attached to The Supreme Court of Justice shall draw conclusions in the judgment of the appeals in the interest of the law, of the actions for cancellation and of all penal cases, and in the other cases, whenever they participate as main party, when so provided by the law, as well as in case they deem it necessary.

Art. 46.The public prosecutors shall exercise the ways of appeals and recourses stipulated by law against the decisions of The Supreme Court of Justice.

TITLE VI

Studies, Documentation, Informatics, Economic and Administrative Department, the Chancery of The Supreme Court of Justice,

and the Bureau for Foreign Relations

Art. 47.- The studies, documentation, informatics, economic and administrative department shall be managed by a director with the rank of chief assistant-magistrate and shall have the following compartments:

a) studies, documentation and informatics, made of assistant-magistrates, other specialised and auxiliary personnel;

b) economic, financial and administrative, made of specialised personnel, clerks, workers, security and attendant personnel.

Art. 48. -In order to be appointed to the office of director, a seniority of at least 10 years in the magistrature shall be necessary, while for the other assistant-magistrates, a seniority of at least 7 years. The provisions of Art. 36-38 shall be applied accordingly.

The assistant-magistrates in the studies, documentation and informatics compartment shall ensure: the registration of legislation, jurisprudence and doctrine; the selection and summarising of decisions with a view to publishing them in the Bulletin of The Supreme Court of Justice; the studies activity and the operation of the library, as well as any other tasks entrusted by the president of the Court.

Art. 49. -The Chancery of The Supreme Court of Justice shall consist of: prime-clerk of the court, clerks, recorders, typists and other employees provided for in the organisation chart.

The personnel of the Chancery shall be distributed to the divisions, according to the requirements of the post, by the president of the Court, while within the divisions, by the division presidents.

Art. 50. -The Bureau for foreign relations shall be managed by a chief assistant-magistrate and shall employ specialised and auxiliary personnel.

TITLE VII

Judicial Recess

Art. 51.- The annual judicial recess shall be of two months, from July 1 to August 31.

Art. 52. -During the judicial recess, the following matters shall be judged:

a) in penal matters, the cases with prisoners;

b) in all matters, the cases considered to be urgent, according to the law, or appreciated as such by The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 53. -During the judicial recess, the president of The Supreme Court of Justice, together with the division presidents, shall designate a number of judges from each division, required to form the panels of judges.

The mode of designating the judges for the recess panels of judges shall be established by regulations.

During the recess, the division presidents shall sit by turns.

Art. 54. -The annual paid holidays of the personnel of The Supreme Court of Justice, established according to the law, shall be taken during the judicial recess.

For well grounded reasons, the president of The Supreme Court of Justice may approve the paid holidays to be taken in another period of the year than that of the judicial recess.

TITLE VIII

Final and Transitory Provisions

Art. 55. -In case the Superior Council of the Magistrature shall act as a disciplinary council for the judges, its proceedings shall be presided over by the president of The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 56. -At the end of each year, The Supreme Court of Justice, in joint Divisions, shall establish the cases calling for the improvement of legislation, and shall transmit them to the Minister of Justice.

Art. 57.- The president of The Supreme Court of Justice may agree that the judges should inform themselves at the seats of the courts of law about thematters regarding the correct and unitary enforcement of the law, imparting the jurisprudence of the Court, and that thay should find out the situations which would justify proposals for the improvement of the legislation.

Art. 58. -The regulations under their Law No. 92/1992, republished, regarding the conditions for the appointment and promotion of magistrates, their rights, obligations and disciplinary conditions, as well as the other provisions which are not contrary to the present law, shall apply accordingly to The Supreme Court of Justice, to the judges and assistant-magistrates of this Court.

The notifications regarding the disciplinary misbehaviours made by the assistant-magistrates shall be settled by a disciplinary board made of 5 judges of The Supreme Court of Justice elected for 4 years. The board shall be presided over by the judge with the greatest seniority in the magistrature at the Court and shall have as secretary, the prime assistant-magistrate.

Against the decisions pronounced by the disciplinary board, a complaint may be lodged at the Panel of 9 judges of The Supreme Court of Justice, as stipulated by the Law No. 92/1992, republished.

The clothes of the judges shall be black in the judgment sittings of the divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice, and mauve in the sittings of the joint Divisions, while the clothes of the assistant-magistrates shall be black. The clothing shall be provided free of charge.

In the cases in which the appointment, authorisation, petition, information or notification are required for certain measures or activities, by the Law No. 92/1992, republished, these shall be done, for the personnel of The Supreme Court of Justice, by the president.

The disciplinary action against the judges of the Court shall be exercised by the vice-president of The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 59. -The president of The Supreme Court of Justice, the vice-president, division presidents and the other judges of this Court cannot be penally or contraventionally prosecuted, or brought to trial, without the authorisation of the President of Romania.

The Ministry of the Interior shall have the obligation, on request, to grant protection to magistrates and their families in the cases in which their life, bodily integrity, or their possessions are threatened.

Art. 60. -The assistant-magistrates cannot be penally or contraventionally prosecuted, or brought to trial without the authorisation of the president of The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 61. - The president of The Supreme Court of Justice shall approve the organisation chart of the Court, shall appoint, promote, suspend and dispose the release from office of the Court's personnel, except for the judicial body stipulated in Art. 12, shall direct and supervise the activity of suggestions regarding legislation, of studies and documentation and of publishing the judicial practice of the Court.

Art. 62. -Retired former magistrates may also be appointed to the offices of assistant-magistrates at The Supreme Court of Justice.

The assistant-magistrates appointed in the conditions under par. 1 shall benefit by the full wage corresponding to the office, by the length of service allowance, as well as by the pension rights. On the cessation of their activity, these persons shall be entitled to the recalculation of the pension depending on the additional length of time acquired and the wages received after re-engagement.

Art. 63. -The president, vice-president, division presidents and the judges exercising their mandate on the date of the adoption of the present law, shall be considered to fulfil all the conditions required for the exercise of that office.

After the cessation of the office at The Supreme Court of Justice, caused by the expiry of the period for which he had been appointed, or owing to unimputable reasons, the judge shall preserve the rank acquired in the hierarchy and shall have the right to return to the former post, the reservation of which is compulsory, or he may choose another post in the magistrature or the legal profession.

Art. 64. -The salaries of the personnel of The Supreme Court of Justice shall be established by a specific law, according to the salaries of the personnel employed by the highest public authority.

Art. 65. -The Supreme Court of Justice shall have its own budget, which shall be a part of the state budget.

The draft budget, with the advisory opinion of the Ministry of Finance, and the budgetary execution, shall be approved with the majority vote of the members of the joint Divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice. The president shall establish the necessary number of cars in the fleet of cars of The Supreme Court of Justice.

Art. 66.The provisions of the present law regarding the organisation and functioning of the divisions and working compartments, as well as the disciplinary responsibility shall be completed by a regulation approved by the joint Divisions of The Supreme Court of Justice.

The regulation shall be published in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I.*

Art. 67.- The Supreme Court of Justice shall continue to try the cases, according to the competence provided by the laws in force, until the modification of the codes of civil procedure, and of penal procedure respectively, as well as of other laws having provisions with a procedural character.

Art. 68**. -The present law shall come into force on the date of its publishing in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I, with the exception of articles 2-4, 11***, 21, 22, 25, 26****-31, 37, 38, Title V, Art. 55 and 58, which shall come into force at the same time with the application of all the provisions of the Law No. 92/1992.

Art. 69. -On the date of coming into force of the present law, under the conditions of Art. 68, any contrary provisions shall be abrogated.

The Organisation and Functioning Regulation of the Supreme Court of justice was published in the "Monitorul Oficial" (Official Gazette of Romania), Part I, No. 10 of 18 January 1999 .

** The articles referred to by Art. 68 are those provided for in the text of the unmodified law.

*** Art. 11 was abrogated by the Law No. 142/1997.

**** Art. 26 was abrogated by the Law No. 153/1998.