Press release, 9 February 2021

At the hearing of 9 February 2021, the Constitutional Court, in the context of the review of laws after promulgation, unanimously, dismissed, as unfounded, the exception of unconstitutionality raised directly by the Advocate of the People and found constitutional in relation to the challenges brought the provisions of Article 19 (3), Article  29 (1), Article  31 (1) (c) and Article 52 (1) of Law No 304/2004 on judicial organisation.

The Constitutional Court found, in essence, that the legislator had the power both to set up specialised panels itself and to grant to the Managing Board of the High Court of Cassation and Justice the decision to set up specialised panels. Thus, unlike the situation in which the law establishes specialised panels (see Article 29 of Law No 78/2000), in the event that the law provides only for the possibility of setting up specialised panels, as in the present case [Article 19 (3) of Law No 304/2004], the decision to set them up is a matter for Managing Board.

At the same time, the Court found that there is no constitutional provision or requirement arising from the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms requiring that the method of appointment of the members of the panels be determined directly by law. If the law regulates a particular method of appointing members of panels (e.g. drawing lots, in the case of 5-judge panels of the High Court of Cassation and Justice), the managing boards of courts cannot determine another method of appointing them. In the absence of an express legal provision governing a specific method of appointment of the members of the panels [Article 29 (1) first sentence and Article 31 (1) (c) and Article 52 (1) respectively], the managing boards of courts may themselves determine how to appoint them.

The decision is final and generally binding.

The arguments retained as grounds for the solutions delivered by the Constitutional Court will be set out in the decisions, which will be published in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I.

The External Relations, Press and Protocol Department of the Constitutional Court of Romania