25 May 2021

On 25 May 2021, the President of the Romanian Constitutional Court, Professor Valer Dorneanu, PhD, participated in the 9th Conference of Heads of Supreme Courts with the topic “Collegiality, organised in online format by the Association of Francophone Constitutional Courts (A.C.C.F.) and the International Organisation of Francophonie.

A.C.C.F. was created in 1997 on the initiative of the French Constitutional Council with the aim of facilitating links between the members of the French-speaking area in ensuring the values of the rule of law and democracy. Currently, A.C.C.F. brings together 48 constitutional courts and equivalent institutions from Africa, Europe, America and Asia.

The Romanian Constitutional Court has joined the Association in 1998, pursuant to Law No 59/1998, and has been a member of the AC.C.F. Bureau since 2000.

The 9th Conference of Heads of Supreme Courts was attended by Presidents or representatives of constitutional courts and equivalent courts from 32 States. Representatives of the Venice Commission, the International Organisation of Francophonie, the Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne University and the Conference of African Constitutional Courts were also present.

The opening ceremony of the event was marked by speeches by Mr Richard Wagner, President of the Supreme Court of Canada and President of A.C.C.F. since 2019, Mr Antoine Michon, Director for Political Affairs and Democratic Governance — International Organisation of Francophonie and Mr Laurent Fabius, President of the French Constitutional Council. The event was structured into two working sessions: first round table with the topic “Practices and methods of deliberation” and second round table with the topic “Collegiality versus dissenting opinions”. The general summary report of the Conference was presented at the end of the Conference by Mr Mathieu Disant, Professor of Law of the University of Paris I — Panthéon-Sorbonne, invited as an expert.

During the two sessions, 10 thematic papers were presented, on which questions and comments made, which made the event both dynamic and practical. The President of the Constitutional Court of Romania, Mr Valer Dorneanu, presented at the first session the paper on Practice and methods of deliberation at the Constitutional Court of Romania, providing the audience with details of both the legal framework and the deliberation practices.

The purpose of the topic of the Conference was to exchange experience on the diversity of methods and practices of deliberation and the expression of individual opinions in the trial activity of high jurisdictions, members of the A.C.C.F. The conclusion was that the principle of collegiality — which is sometimes expressly regulated, sometimes enshrined at customary level — is a multi-faceted principle that is found in all these jurisdictions in different forms, practices and methods. The same principle is also invoked as justification both for prohibiting the public expression of individual opinions (in 23 States) and for allowing those opinions to be expressed and published together with the decision (in only 10 States, including Romania), without any of those rules, albeit so different, affecting the quality of justice and collegiality relations within each court.