New measures to accelerate the settlement of litigations

On 26th of October 2010, the Law no. 202/2010 regarding some measures to accelerate the settlement of litigations was published in the Official Gazette, by which a series of amendments are brought mainly to the procedural provisions in the Civil Procedure Code, Family Code, Ordinance regarding Romania’s adhesion to the Hague Convention, Law on the administrative litigations, Emergency Ordinance regarding circulation on public roads, Law on the commercial companies, Criminal Proceedings Code, Criminal code. The Law no. 202/2010 comes into after a 30 days term after it was published in the Official Gazette, except for the provisions regarding the divorce in the administrative or notarial procedure, which shall come into force after a 60 days term from its publishing.

We shall present herein below the most important amendments brought to the Civil Procedure Code and the Family Code by the Law no. 202/2010.

I. Amendments to the Civil Procedure Code

1.      Competence of the local courts – local courts will judge on the first and last instance, processes and applications for claims as having a sum of money of up to 2,000 lei, inclusive. The decisions in these cases are not subject to appeal.

2.      Communication of the procedural documents – new methods of communication of the procedure documents  are introduced, for:

a.      The direct communication between the lawyers/ legal consultants of the parties;

b.      Informing the parties regarding  hearing dates / procedural documents through telephone, telegraph, facsimile, electronic mail or other means of communication that ensures, as appropriate, the transmission of the text of the document to be transmitted or the notification regarding the hearing date, as well as the confirmation of receiving the document, or, as case may be, the notification.

3.      Hearing dates – The court, considering the circumstances, will set tight hearing dates, even from day to day. When deemed necessary, the court may set longer terms. The hearing date may be exchanged for good reasons, either ex officio or at the request of either party. The application for the change of the hearing date is judged in the council chamber without summoning the parties.

4.      Decisions not subject to appeal – The judgments on evacuations in commercial matters and those on damages caused by judicial errors in criminal cases are not subject to appeal.

5.      The enforcement – the court executor is obliged to address to the court for permission to start forced execution process not later than five days from filing of the application by the creditor. The court also is held to set the request for the approval of the beginning of the forced execution within 7 days of registration.

6.      Evacuation – The new law provides that no evacuations from dwellings can be done between the 1st of December and until the 1st of March, unless the creditor proves that in the purpose of the housing legislation dispositions, he and his family don`t have a proper home or the debtor and his family have another suitable house in which they could move immediately. These provisions do not apply in case of evacuation of persons abusively occupying, without any title, a house, and neither to those who have been evacuated for threatening the cohabitation relationships or are seriously disturbing the public order.

7.      Provisions regarding the divorce on mutual consent – If the spouses divorce by mutual consent, there will not be a compulsory two months term before the settlement of the case. Under the new regulations in this situation the court checks for the consent of the parties and sets a date for hearing the application in the council chamber.

II. Amendments to the Family Code

Divorce by parties’ agreement

Divorce by consent of both spouses can be pronounced by the court or the civil status officer or public notary from the marriage location or common domicile of the husbands.

The court can pronounce a divorce by agreement between the spouses regardless of the marriage duration and regardless whether there are under-age children resulted from marriage or not. Spouses may apply to the civil status officer or public notary if they agree to divorce and they don’t have under-age children. Divorce application is registered by the spouses together.  The Civil status officer or public notary registers the application and gives the spouses a 30 days term for a potential withdrawal of the divorce application.

If, after the 30 days term, the spouses insist on the divorce, the civil status officer or the public notary certifies the divorce without any motivation on regarding the causes of the divorce.

If the request does not meet the legal conditions stipulated above, the civil status officer or the public notary dismisses the application for divorce. Against the dismissal of the civil status officer, or as appropriate, the public notary, there is no appeal but spouses can address the request for divorce to the competent court of law.

Marriage is canceled starting with the day when the divorce judgment remained irrevocable, or the day of the issuance of the certificate of divorce.