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The International jurisdiction of Romanian Courts

What is the law that regulates the jurisdiction of the Romanian courts and to which types of cases do these provisions apply?

The law governing the international jurisdiction of Romanian courts is the new Romanian Civil Procedure Code. These provisions extend to private law cases which present foreign elements, to the extent that the international treaties to which Romania is part of,  the European Union law or special laws do not provide otherwise. Furthermore, these provisions govern both the general international jurisdiction of the Romanian courts Romanian, and the exclusive or preferential jurisdiction.

What is the international jurisdiction of the Romanian courts in general for private law causes?

According to the law mentioned above, the Romanian courts have jurisdiction if the defendant is domiciled or, failing domicile, a habitual residence or headquarters, and in the absence of the headquarters, a secondary office or goodwill in Romania at the date of filing the request. In case there are multiple defendants involved, the Romanian courts will become competent if at least one of the defendants comply to the previously mentioned conditions. However, if the request was filed only for the purpose of excluding the defendant from the jurisdiction of his domicile or habitual residence or, where applicable, the main or secondary office located abroad, the Romanian courts will not gain international jurisdiction.

Moreover, the Romanian courts are also competent to judge any request regarding activities at the secondary office of a legal person not having headquarters in Romania, when this secondary office is located in Romania at the date of the request.

Regarding the choice of the court, Romanian law provides that, on what concers patrimonial matters, the parties may agree on the competent court to hear the actual or potential litigation springing from legal relationship that has foreign elements. Except as otherwise provided, the chosen court owns exclusive jurisdiction. However, the choice regarding the court will not take effect if it leads to abusively depriving one of the parties of the protection provided by the court which was established by the Romanian law.

As would be normal, the election of the court will also not take effect in the situation that the choice concerns a court other than that which has exclusive jurisdiction.

When, in matters involving the rights that they have freely under the Romanian law, the parties validly agreed on the jurisdiction of the Romanian courts to hear current or potential litigations relating to such rights, the Romanian courts are the only ones competent.

The Romanian court before which the defendant is summoned will remain competent to judge the request, if the defendant appears before the court and makes defense on the merits of the case without invoking the objection to jurisdiction, at the latest by the end of the judicial inquiry before the first court. What’s more, the Romanian court may reject the request when it follows that all the circumstances of the dispute have no significant connection with Romania.

What does the notion of "forum of necessity" in terms of international jurisdiction of the Romanian courts?

The notion of "forum of necessity" refers to the situation where the Romanian court at the place with which the case has a sufficient connection becomes competent to hear the case, even though the law does not provide for the Romanian jurisdiction, because it follows that it is not possible to file a request abroad or that it can not be reasonably claimed for it to be introduced abroad.

Who verifies the applicability of the Romanian international jurisdiction?

The addressed court will automatically verify its international competence, proceeding according to internal rules regarding jurisdiction, and if it finds that neither it, no other Romanian court is competent on the matter, it rejects the request as not being of Romanian jurisdiction, except for when the forum of necessity becomes applicable. The court’s decision is subject to appeal to a higher court. It is useful to know that the lack of international jurisdiction of the Romanian courts can be invoked at any stage of the process, even directly in remedies.

How is the competent Romanian court determined in cases when the international jurisdiction becomes applicable?

In these cases, the competent Romanian courts shall be determined in accordance with the new Code of Civil Procedure of Romania. In case the competent Romanian court can not be determined according to these regulations, the request will be dealt with, following the rules of the material competence, by the Judicature of the 1st District of Bucharest, or by the Bucharest Court.

Regarding preliminary issues, Romanian law provides that the addressed court can incidentally judge matters not within its competence, but whose resolution is needed to decide on the main claim. Moreover, the court competent to hear the original request owns the jurisdiction to equally judge requests for intervention, except when such requests were made only to evade the intervening from the normal jurisdiction, as well as counterclaims.

Can Romanian courts order provisional or conservatory measures?

Yes, in cases of emergencies, the Romanian court may order provisional, conservational and enforcement measures, regarding persons or property found in Romania on the date of the request, even if, according to the provisions of th Romanian law, that Court would not have had jurisdiction to hear the merits of the case.

In what circumstances and under which conditions do Romanian courts possess exclusive competence?

Romanian courts have exclusive jurisdiction in disputes with foreign elements in the sphere of personal status concerning:

▪ civil status documents concluded in Romania regarding persons residing in Romania and who are Romanian citizens or stateless persons;

▪ approval of the adoption, if the person to be adopted domiciles in Romania and is a Romanian citizen or a stateless person;

▪ guardianship and trusteeship to protect a person domiciled in Romania, who is a Romanian citizen or stateless person;

▪ placing under judicial interdiction of a person residing in Romania;

▪ dissolution, nullity or annulment of marriage, and other disputes between spouses.

Regarding the exclusive jurisdiction on patrimonial matters, Romanian courts have jurisdiction in disputes with foreign elements related to:

▪ property located in Romania;

▪ property left in Romania by the deceased with a last domicile in Romania;

▪ contracts with consumers having their domicile or habitual residence in Romania, for benefits for current consumption for personal or family use of the consumer and not related to his professional or commercial activity, if the supplier has received the order in Romania and if the conclusion of the contract was preceded in Romania by an offer or advertisement and the consumer has fulfilled the documents necessary for the conclusion of the contract.

For additional information regarding the international jurisdiction of the Romanian courts, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys within the law firm Darie, Manea & Associates.

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