In light of the COVID-19 virus’ spread in Romania, the President of Romania issued Decree no. 195/2020 declaring a state of emergency in Romania (hereinafter referred to as the "Decree"). The Decree entered into force and generates its effects from the date of publication (i.e. 16 March 2020). The Decree sets up emergency measures with direct applicability in several areas, including in the justice field, for a period of 30 days (which can be extended if needed).
The are no rules yet concerning lock-down or shutting down of operations. These types of rules are expected to be implemented this week (most probably on Wednesday 18 March 2020).
I. Measures regarding the statute of limitations and the lapse terms
The statute of limitations (Romanian: prescripţie extinctivă) and the lapse terms (Romanian: termene de decadere) are frozen, and, if such deadlines started to lapse, they shall be suspended during the entire state of emergency established according to the Decree.
II. Measures regarding the judgement of civil cases
- During the state of emergency, the activity of the national courts continues in the cases of special urgency (which is not defined). In the special urgency cases, if possible, the courts take the necessary measures for conducting the court hearing by videoconference and proceed to the communication of the procedural documents by fax, e-mail or other means that ensure the transmission of the text of the document and the confirmation of its receipt;
- Foreclosure proceedings will continue only in cases where it is possible to comply with the sanitary discipline rules established by the decisions of the National Committee on Special Emergency Situations;
- The judgment of all other civil cases (which are not of special urgency) is suspended during the state of emergency established by the Decree;
- The deadlines for exercising appeals in cases that are not of special urgency and which are in progress at the date of the establishment of the state of emergency (i.e. 16 March 2020) are interrupted;
- After the cessation of the state of emergency, the judgement of the civil cases (which were not of special urgency) is resumed ex officio, the courts shall be taking measures to set up the new hearing terms and summon the parties.
As respects the judgment of the other civil cases which are not of special urgency, some of the national courts have already changed the hearing terms previously given in these cases, with new longer hearing terms.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.