The birth’s moment of the judicial control of the laws in Romania confirms what, since 1803, has been demonstrated in the United States of America – the fact that it has a political determination. Looking at any disregard of the law as an abuse of rights, the judge has always opposed going beyond the legislative power that Parliament sometimes considers unlimited.
Giving the current situation of the whole world, we can see an increase in the interest of citizens in the work of the Constitutional Court, an ideal opportunity to outline a historical foreground of it, as well as to draw the main responsibilities.
What is the Constitutional Court and when did it appear?
The Constitutional Court represents the only authority of constitutional jurisdiction in Romania, being independent from any other public authority.
1912 – The tram process
All things start with the decision of the Bucharest municipality to build in the capital a modern network of electric trams instead of the old network of horse-drawn trams. In order to start this project, on April 14, 1909, a law was passed to allow the establishment of a company in charge of the execution of works and the operation of the network. Its statute was drafted by the municipality and registered the company with the Commercial Court under the name of “Bucharest Tram Company”.
The society seemed to be crowned with success, already stretching over a length of 15 kilometers, when, following a political change – the Liberal Government was replaced by a conservative one, led by Petre Carp – Bucharest had a new municipal council and a new mayor, who was not exactly pleased with the success of the company. Following an abusive contestation with the new Government, authorizations and approvals were withdrawn, a move that hid a political interest. This is the moment that marked the entire subsequent evolution of law enforcement in Romania.
The „sound” of the tram company
The majority of the doctrine pronounced on the judiciary’s right of controlling the laws constitutionality. According to Constantin C. Dissescu, eminent public law professor: ” unrecognizing the courts’right of pronouncing about laws constitutionality, the principle of the power division is violated, because it leaves it in force on unconstitutional law, confusing the legislative with the constituent power.”
1938 – Interwar constitutions
The consecration in the Constitutions of 1923 and 1938 of the constitutionality control exercised by the supreme court. At that time, the Court of Cassation and Justice had the right to judge the unconstitutionality of laws, as well as to declare them inapplicable.
1965 – Communist constitutions
The communist regime has created an almost credible camouflage in terms of controlling the constitutionality of laws. For example, according to the 1965 Constitution, it was the legislature that exercised this control.
1991 – The first constitution after ’89
Being the first democratic Constitution, it provided for the establishment “within 6 months from the date of entry into force of the Constitution” (art. 152) of a Constitutional Court.
June 1991 – Establishment of the Constitutional Court
After the revolution of ’89, experts and doctrinaires began work on a new Constitution. After more than a year of amendments and proposals, on June 30, 1992, the Constitutional Court issued its first decisions.
What is the attributions of the Constitutional Court?
- The Court shall rule on the constitutionality of laws, regulations, parliaments or international agreements of parliament
- The Court rules on conflicts of a constitutional nature between public authorities.
- The Court decides on the exceptions of unconstitutionality regarding laws and ordinances.
- The Court confirms the results of the presidential election and ensures that the procedure for these elections is followed.
- The Court notes the circumstances requiring an interim President and communicates the findings to Parliament and the Government.
- The Court gives an advisory opinion for the proposal to suspend the President of Romania from office.
- Legea 47∕1992 privind organizarea și funcționarea Curții Constituționale, republicată
- www. ccr.ro
- Constituția României, Titlul V
Legal Intern R&R Partners Bucharest
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