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Key Amendments to Law no. 51/1995 for the Legal Profession

An Overview of the Law no. 89/2023: Key Amendments to Law no. 51/1995 for the Legal Profession

The Romanian Parliament recently passed Law no. 89/2023, introducing amendments and additions to Law no. 51/1995, concerning the organization and practice of the legal profession in Romania. Published on April 11, 2023, and applicable as of April 15, 2023, this law has been designed to enhance and streamline legal procedures, ensuring better access to justice.

Strengthening Lawyer’s Access to Necessary Information

Article 28^1 of the new law ensures that lawyers have the right to obtain personal data required to fulfill their legal duties. This includes ensuring the litigant’s access to justice within a reasonable period and providing legal assistance. It is crucial to note that this information can only be used for the intended purpose. Any disclosure to third parties or use to create a personal database is strictly prohibited, attracting punitive sanctions.

Data Sharing from Institutions

Article 59^1 puts an obligation on institutions with duties regarding the records of persons. Upon request from the National Union of Bars in Romania (UNBR), these institutions are required to share the personal data registered in the National Register of the records of persons. This process supports the fulfillment of the lawyer’s legal duties. Moreover, bar associations and the Lawyers’ Insurance House also hold the right to obtain personal data from the National Registry of Persons, primarily for managing the pension fund and other social insurance rights of lawyers.

The new law also emphasizes the duty of the involved parties of complying with Regulation (EU) no. 679/2016 (General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR), and other normative acts in the field of personal data protection.

Adjustments to the Mandates of Key Commissions

A change to Article 60 stipulates that the mandates of members of key bodies such as the UNBR Council, the UNBR Permanent Commission, the Central Censors Commission, and the Central Disciplinary Commission will now end on the election date of the new members.

Revised Compensation Scheme for Legal Assistance

Article 81 has been amended to establish a fee for legal assistance granted, which is determined by the judicial body based on the nature and volume of the activity performed. Lawyers are also entitled to the settlement of transport expenses under certain conditions. Two new paragraphs, (3^1) and (3^2), have been inserted into Article 81. They outline conditions for fees in cases of legal assistance exceeding 60 days during the criminal investigation phase or when a lawyer ceases to provide assistance before the completion of the criminal prosecution.

Article 84 has been expanded with (1^1) paragraph, which ensures that the fees for legal assistance are annually indexed with the inflation rate, as communicated by the National Institute of Statistics.