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February 5, 2023

CCR: Christi Daniel’ dismissal as CSM member, unconstitutional

Bucharest Court of Appeal is now expected to quash the CSM decision recalling Danilet from Council.

The Constitutional Court (CCR) sustained yesterday, with six votes in favour and two against, the unconstitutionality claim introduced by judge Cristi Danilet in the case where he is asking for the overturning of the decisions of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) in connection with the procedure for his recalling as a member of the Council. ‘Further to deliberations, the Constitutional Court, with a majority of votes, sustains the unconstitutionality claim and finds that article 55, paragraphs 4 and 9 of Law no. 317 of 2004 on the Superior Council of Magistracy is unconstitutional.

This decision is final and generally binding,’ states a CCR press release quoted by Mediafax. According to the release, the motivation of the decision will be presented in the body of the decision, which will be published in the Official Journal of Romania, Section I.  With its ruling, the CCR ignores the vote of the over 1,600 judges from the country, who thought that judges Cristi Danilet and Alina Ghica had failed to fulfil their professional duties appropriately. Danilet’s lawyer, Alexandru Morarescu, who represented his client in the Constitutional Court yesterday, according to luju.ro said the judge’s ‘right to defence’ had been broken as he had not been given the chance to defend himself in front of the judges who had voted to remove him as their representative on CSM. In addition, the lawyer said that Law 317(2004) regulating the operation of CSM does not offer predictability regarding members subject to recalling procedure and that the Council had broken its main competence as guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, the quoted source further notes.

Further to yesterday’s CCR ruling, the Court of Appeal of Bucharest – the Administrative Department (headed by Alina Ghica until she was elected to CSM – a/n) is going to rule on Danilet’s request to have the CSM decision recalling him from his position overturned. According to luju.ro, the CCR decision however fits the Court of Appeal ‘like a glove’, as the Court will now be able to tailor all its future judgments quashing CSM decisions based on the ‘arguments’ provided by the ‘political constitutional judges’, reminding that., earlier this year, the Court boycotted the general assembly of judges supposed to vote on the proposal to dismiss Alina Ghica by successive postponements and changes of location and meeting room. On February 26, Cristi Danilet, judge at the Cluj Tribunal, and Alina Ghica, judge at the Bucharest Court of Appeal, were recalled as members of CSM as a result of the vote of the general assemblies of judges. Both magistrates disputed the CSM decision in the Court of Appeal. In Ghica’s case, her former colleagues recused themselves, so she had proceedings moved to a different Court. In Danilet’s case, the Court of Appeal sustained his unconstitutionality claim on March 18.

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