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April 12, 2021

CSM challenges the government in the Constitutional Court

The Government and the Ministry of Justice were accused by the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) that they willingly under-finance the legal system, thus severely prejudicing the independence of Justice. CSM President Virgil Andreies filed with the Constitutional Court an appeal in which he urges the Court to notice the existence of a legal conflict between CSM – as guarantor of the independence of Justice – and the Executive, and to take the necessary measures in order to establish the constitutional order, Ziua newspaper reports.

According to CSM, the Romanian Government and the Ministry of Justice repeatedly infringed the law and severely damaged the independence of Justice “through the chronic under-financing of the legal system,” by omitting to consult CSM over the regulations that pertain to the functioning of Justice, as well as by the Justice Ministry’s auditing controls that went beyond the due competencies. With respect to these audits, CSM accuses that auditors did not limit themselves to verifying financial matters, but also “solicited, among other documents, the job descriptions of the personnel that holds leading positions or exerts roles of internal control” etc.

In the complaint filed with the constitutional watchdog, CSM accuses the Executive that, by emergency ordinance, it severely diminished the budget of courts and prosecutor’s offices, while a subsequent law took judicial stamp taxes from the Justice and gave them to local administrations. About these taxes, Andreies added they were providing for some 68-70 p.c. of the budget of the Justice sector. Reacting to the news, Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu said CSM should abandon the attitude of non-cooperation and that the Council’s complaints are “partly unjustified.” Minister Predoiu described CSM’s move to complain at the Constitutional Court as “an attempt to regain the confidence of fellow magistrates. “To my opinion, their allegations are partly unjustified and – as far as I am concerned – I think CSM should abandon this attitude of non-cooperation.”

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