In a recent Decision, the High Court of Cassation and Justice in Romania has illuminated an intricate aspect of the process – the panel number criteria when a court of appeal is called to decide on transfer of file requests from one court to another. Should it involve a single judge or multiple judges? This article succinctly summarizes the court decision, aiming to harmonize the interpretation of the law (i.e., an appeal in the interest of the law) and delves into the nuances and implications thereof, providing valuable insights for legal professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Understanding the Legal Context
The High Court’s decision revolves around interpreting provisions within the Romanian Civil Procedure Code and Law no. 304/2022. The central question posed to the Court was whether the panel of judges of a court of appeal responsible for resolving transfer of file requests (when such requests are within the latter’s jurisdiction) should consist of a single judge or multiple judges, depending on the procedural phase (of appeal or last appeal) of the file subject to transfer. This inquiry touches upon the broader issue of ensuring uniformity in interpreting and applying the law across judicial bodies.
Deciphering the Court’s Rationale
The Court’s ruling addresses the heart of the matter by asserting that the panel number criteria when deciding on transfer of file requests should align with the number of judges (either a single judge or multiple judges) of the court from which the transfer is sought. This interpretation is rooted in the language of the Civil Procedure Code and Law no. 304/2022, which does not explicitly stipulate that procedural incidents (like transfer of file requests) should be resolved by varying numbers of judges sitting on a panel. Similarly, this deviation is not provided when the law states that such incidents are to be resolved by other courts of law than the initial court that received the file. Even when a higher court has jurisdiction to resolve a procedural incident like a transfer of file request, such an incident is not considered an independent action (whose resolution follows single-judge criteria) based on the definition of “the legal action” outlined in art. 29 of the Civil Procedure Code.
Broader Application of the Ruling
The ruling underscores the rationale that underpinned another decision dealing with panel number criteria when the higher court is called upon to decide on conflicts of jurisdiction among various courts (Decision no. 8/17 May 2021). While the recent ruling specifically pertains to transfer of file requests, its broader implications extend to a wide range of legal proceedings. The principle of interpreting legal provisions to uphold consistency and fairness acts as a guiding principle for judges and legal professionals across different contexts. Just as Decision no. 8 did, this ruling, offering a clear insight into the court’s reasoning, serves as a precedent for similar situations, fostering a cohesive legal landscape.
In the intricate realm of legal proceedings, the recent Decision* by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in Romania brings to the forefront the crucial matter of panel number criteria in transfer requests resolved by a court of appeal. The ruling’s emphasis on aligning the number of judges handling the incident with the panel from which the transfer is requested showcases the court’s commitment to ensuring uniformity in the application of the law. For legal practitioners and enthusiasts, this decision underscores the significance of meticulous interpretation of legal texts and contributes to the overall advancement of the legal landscape in Romania.
* Court Decision no. 10/20023 (Decizia nr. 10/2023 privind examinarea recursului în interesul legii formulat de Colegiul de conducere al Curţii de Apel Cluj cu privire la următoarea problemă de drept: “În interpretarea dispoziţiilor art. 142 şi 144 din Codul de procedură civilă şi art. 59 din Legea nr. 304/2022, completul competent să soluţioneze cereri de strămutare este format în toate situaţiile dintr-un singur judecător sau este format şi din doi sau trei judecători, după caz, dacă se cere strămutarea soluţionării unui dosar aflat în faza de apel sau de recurs?” (Publicată în Monitorul Oficial, Partea I nr. 740 din 11 august 2023))
** Disclaimer: This article is intended for the general information of readers who may be interested. It is not meant to provide a comprehensive overview and should not be considered as legal advice due to their general nature. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal counsel for specific and personalized guidance.