Judicial Reform

SoJust assesses the pace of implementation of judicial reforms

BUCHAREST, April 19, 2007

According to the monitoring mechanism imposed by the European Commission in the field of justice, Romania has the obligation to send to the Representation of the European Commission, starting with January 2007, bi-monthly reports, including the progress registered in the areas highlighted in the benchmarks established by the Comprehensive Monitoring Report. European Commission dated September 26, 2006. Romania also submitted by the end of March, the progress report for the reference period September 1, 2006 – March 31, 2007, which includes the progress made in the areas highlighted in the bechmarks established by the Report European Commission. A report from the European Commission is expected in June, in which a general assessment will be made of the degree of compliance with the obligations assumed by the Accession Treaty.

The Society for Justice (SoJust) made an assessment of the stage of realization of the measures included in the Action Plan for the implementation of the judicial system reform strategy 2005-2007, document approved by Annex no. 2 to GD 232/2005 and which summarizes the obligations assumed by the Romanian Government in carrying out the justice reform.

SoJust has identified a number of 21 measures included in the Action Plan with due and unfulfilled deadlines or with an expired deadline .

The evaluation highlighted a clear slowdown in the pace of implementation of measures aimed at developing normative acts, in areas essential for the transformation of the judiciary and its real compatibility with European justice. The most important measures with exceeded deadlines are those concerning the elaboration of a new code of civil procedure, draft laws on unification of judicial practice, reorganization of courts and prosecutor’s offices, amending the legislative framework on free legal aid and eliminating provisions preventing enforcement claims of citizens and legal persons under private law against the state and public institutions.

Failure to achieve the measures included in the national justice reform strategy in time can have several explanations, from lack of political will, to inefficient allocation of human and material resources, lack of inter-institutional communication or even opposition of the political class.

Whatever the reasons, and why the responsible institutions must provide public explanations, it is indisputable that we are witnessing a deadlock in the development of policy development and legislative initiative relevant to the reform of the judiciary.

Among the measures not carried out within the established deadlines, a no. 18 are the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, alone or together with other public authorities, and 3 are the responsibility of the Superior Council of Magistracy, also alone or together with the National Institute of Magistracy. The latest measure is the elaboration of a draft normative act subject to public debate aimed at reorganizing the activity of judicial expertise and the accountability of judicial experts, which had to be fulfilled since October 2005. A number of 10 outstanding measures concern the elaboration of draft normative acts subject to debate. public and assumed by the Government.