In Romania, the constitutional review of laws was enshrined by means of judicial interpretation ever since 1912, when the High Court of Cassation and Justice upheld the judgment delivered in first instance by the Ilfov County Court in the famous “Case of the trams”, establishing the courts’ power to investigate compliance of laws with the Constitution.
Later, following the European model of constitutional justice, the Constitutions of 1923 and 1938 provided that only the Court of Cassation and Justice, sitting in joint Divisions, has the right to decide on the unconstitutionality of laws and to declare them inapplicable in the respective case. In this respect, the provision in Article103 (1) of the Constitution of 1923, later Article 75 of the Constitution of 1938, stated that “judgment on the unconstitutionality of statutes shall be confined to the instant case.” These Constitutions have established thus a concentrated constitutional review exercised by the Supreme Court.

Constitutions of the communist regime created only an appearance in terms of constitutional review of laws, for example, under the 1965 Constitution, the review was exercised by the legislative power.

1989 Revolution marked the transition to a democratic political regime. The Constituent Assembly – elected a Committee for the preparation of the draft Constitution, which was made up of Deputies, Senators, as well as of a number of experts in constitutional law and other social-humanistic sciences – adopted at its meeting of 21 November 1991, the new Constitution of Romania, the text of which was published in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I, no. 233 of 21 November 1991.

According to Article 149 of the Constitution of 1991, it entered into force after its approval by means of the national referendum dated 8 December 1991.

Article 152 of the Constitution provided that “within six months from the date of coming into force of the Constitution, there shall be established the Constitutional Court“. Thus, in June 1992, Judges of the first Constitutional Court were appointed for periods of three, six, and nine years, respectively. For each of these terms, the President of Romania, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate appointed one Judge each. This method of appointment allows renewal of the Constitutional Court every 3 years, which contributes to ensuring judicial independence from the public authorities that have appointed them.

The first decisions of the Constitutional Court were delivered on 30 June 1992.

In 2003, following the revision of the Basic Law, Article 142 (1)enshrined the Constitutional Court’s role as guarantor for the supremacy of the Constitution, entrusting the Court with new powers, which increaseits importance within the institutional edifice of the rule of law.