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Last update: 21-09-2007
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Service of documents - Romania

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the legal term “service of documents” mean in practical terms? 1.
2. Which documents need to be served formally? 2.
3. Who is responsible for serving a document? 3.
4. How is the document normally served in practice? 4.
5. What happens when, in exceptional cases, service on the addressee himself is not possible (e.g. because he is not at home)? 5.
6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served? 6.
7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served on a third person)? Can the service of the document nevertheless be valid (e.g. can violations of the law be remedied) or must a new effort to serve the document be made? 7.
8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document and, if so, how much? 8.

 

1. What does the legal term “service of documents” mean in practical terms?

The service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in and from foreign countries is basically the method of ensuring that the information they contain is made available to the addressees: parties, witnesses or participants in civil or commercial cases in the issuing State.

Why are there specific rules on the “service of documents”?

The rules meet an increasing need on the part of the authorities to ensure the swift and efficient administration of justice in trial proceedings involving non-national aspects and the need for improved coordination of legal systems under international law.

2. Which documents need to be served formally?

Judicial documents are issued in the course of civil or commercial proceedings: notifications of proceedings, summonses, decisions, applications relating to appeals and other similar notifications.

Extrajudicial documents are not issued by the judicial authorities but can be used in civil or commercial proceedings.

3. Who is responsible for serving a document?

(Claimants, lawyers, clerks of the court, specialist professions, such as “huissiers de justice”, public officials, the police, the postal service, etc.?)

  • Officers of the Court

    The Code of Civil Procedure lays down detailed rules on how officers of the court should serve summonses.

    It states that summonses and all other procedural documents are to be served at the place of residence or domicile of the person to whom they are addressed. Where the person in question has a farm or commercial, industrial or professional premises, the documents may be served there. Service may take place anywhere as long as the person summonsed receives the document. If the person is in the armed forces, the summons is served on the appropriate superior officer. Where the place of residence of members of a ship’s crew is not known, documents are served on the captain of the port where the vessel is registered. Where the person is in custody, the documents are served on the prison authorities. If the person is a patient in a hospital, hospice or sanatorium, documents are served on the management of the institution. Summonses and all other procedural documents may be served on an official or anyone entitled to receive correspondence who is clearly named (with forenames), whose function is described and who duly signs the proof of receipt.

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    The person summonsed must be served the summons in person and will sign the acknowledgement of receipt, while the person serving the document will certify the person’s identity and signature. Where the person summonsed is at home but does not wish to accept the summons or takes it but does not wish to or is unable to sign the acknowledgement slip, the officer of the court will leave the summons in his hands or, where the addressee refuses to accept it, will affix it to the door of the premises and note the incident in a report. If the person summonsed is not at home, the officer of the court leaves the summons with a member of the family or, if there is no relative there, anyone else living with him, or anyone who usually takes in the post. Where someone living in a hotel or condominium has not indicated the room or apartment number, the officer of the court leaves the summons with the administrator or porter, or with the person who normally deputises for them. The person who receives the summons signs the acknowledgement of receipt, while the officer of the court will certify the person’s identity and signature and draw up a report on the events. If the person does not wish or is unable to sign the acknowledgement of receipt, the officer of the court will draw up a report, leaving the summons with the person. Where the person summonsed does not wish to accept the summons or is not at home, the officer of the court will affix it to the door or to the main door of the premises if the person has not indicated the number of the room or apartment he is living in. The officer of the court will then enter all the details of the events in a report on the operation.

    Documents may not be served on anyone under the age of 14 or anyone incapable of pleading. Legal capacity is assumed unless there is evidence to the contrary.

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    It is not possible to serve summonses or other procedural documents on legal persons by affixing the documents to doors, or to associations or companies who can legally be summoned to stand trial, unless they refuse to accept the documents or are not on the premises at the time.

    Where the party has elected a domicile and appointed someone to receive procedural documents, those documents may be served on that person or, in the absence of any such indication, at the party’s domicile.

    Where documents cannot be served because the building has been demolished or abandoned, or for any other similar reason, the officer of the court deposits the documents with the clerk of the court, who will inform the party of the fact in good time.

    If it becomes clear that, in spite of all the claimant’s efforts, it is impossible to find out where the defendant is living, the presiding judge will order the summons to be published. It is published by being affixed to the door of the court. It can also be published in the Romanian Official Gazette or a major newspaper, if the presiding judge or the bench considers it necessary. The summons must be affixed or published in the Official Gazette or a major newspaper at least 15 days before the trial date. In urgent cases the presiding judge or the bench may shorten this period to 5 days. If the defendant appears and can prove that he was summoned in bad faith, all procedural documents resulting from the authorisation to issue the summons will be declared null and void, and the claimant may be fined and required to pay legal costs.

    The party appearing in court in person or his or her representative may not refuse to accept procedural or other documents presented in the course of the hearing. In these cases the court may, on application, allow a period of time for the documents to be studied.

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    Procedural documents may not be served on statutory holidays, except in urgent cases where the presiding judge has given permission.

    If any of the parties move during the course of the proceedings, the change of address will not be taken into consideration unless a written application to this effect is entered in the brief, and the opposing parties are informed by registered letter, receipt of which must be attached to the case file together with the application notifying the court of the change.

  • Bailiffs are allowed to serve judicial and non-judicial documents and procedural documents (Act No 188/2000 on bailiffs). The fee for the service is set at between RON 20 and RON 400 (situation as at March 2007).
  • Notaries public are also allowed to serve judicial and non-judicial documents and procedural documents (Act No 36/1995 on notaries public and notarial activities and its implementing rules).

4. How is the document normally served in practice?

If there are alternative methods, please describe all methods.

(personal service, postal service: registered or ordinary letter, fax, electronic means).

See the answers to Questions 3 and 5.

5. What happens when, in exceptional cases, service on the addressee himself is not possible (e.g. because he is not at home)?

If there are alternative methods, please describe all methods.

(personal service to other persons than the addressee, deposit (e.g. in mailbox at domicile or place of business), deposit with competent public authority such as "remise au parquet" or at post office, public notice, letter to last known address, etc.)

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Unless the law provides otherwise, the court may not rule on a claim until after the parties have been summonsed or have appeared.

Claims and all procedural documents are notified ex officio by officers of the courts or any court employee or by officers of the court or other employees of courts with territorial jurisdiction for the area where the person to be notified is currently residing.

The following natural and legal persons may be served a summons:

  • the State, the county, the local authorities or any other legal person constituted under public law, in the person of the head of the relevant authority at the authority’s disputed claims office at central headquarters or, where there is no disputed claims office, at the administration’s head office;
  • legal persons established under private law, in the person of their representatives, at the head office, branch office or, depending on the circumstances, at the representative's office;
  • associations and companies without legal personality, through their management bodies at their administrative offices;
  • bodies being reorganised or wound up, through the official receiver or, where necessary, the liquidator;
  • persons without legal competence through their legal representatives;
  • through a special guardian where one has been appointed;
  • the staff of Romanian diplomatic missions and consulates, Romanian citizens seconded as officials to international organisations and members of their families living with them abroad, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • other Romanian citizens other than those referred to in the previous point who are abroad in the interests of the service, through the central body which despatched the person or, as an alternative, the person who sent him or her;
  • in cases where no special arrangements are made under international conventions to which Romania is party or under any special regulations, persons abroad whose domicile or place of residence is known, by means of a written summons sent by registered mail with proof of receipt. If the defendant is living abroad, the presiding judge may set a longer deadline. The defendant is informed in the summons that he or she is required to elect a domicile in Romania to which all documents relating to the proceedings can be forwarded. If the defendant fails to comply, documents will be served by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt to the Romanian postal service naming the documents sent as proof that the procedures have been followed;
  • if the domicile or place of residence of persons abroad are unknown, the summons is published;
  • in all cases, if those living abroad have legal representation in the country, summonses are served on the legal representative;
  • where the person's domicile or place of residence is unknown, summonses are published;
  • until they are involved in the trial, documents are served to heirs through a special guardian appointed by the court.

The ways of serving documents on the addressee or some other person are set out in Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure. If the person cannot be found at his or her domicile or has not indicated the number of his or her flat, the officer will serve the summons on the following persons:

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  • a family member;
  • any other person living at the same place;
  • any other person who regularly receives correspondence: administrators or porters, or anyone regularly taking their place.

The ways of serving documents on the addressee or some other person are as follows:

  • in person;
  • in hand (if the recipient does not wish or is unable to sign the acknowledgement of receipt, the summons is left with the person and the officer of the court enters the incident in a report);
  • by attachment to the door or the main entrance (a report is written if the recipient does not wish to accept the summons or is not present).

Documents may not be served on anyone under the age of 14 or anyone incapable of pleading.

The aim of the summons procedure is to inform the parties of the existence of the proceedings, the date of the trial and the venue. This aim can also be achieved by informing the party attending the first session of the proceedings.

6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served?

(postal receipt, affidavit, "Zustellungsurkunde”, etc.).

YES

  • Proof of service (or a service report) is an official document evidencing the statements made by the officer serving the documents, unless proven to be false. Therefore, as our courts have ruled in practice, proof of having served a summons and the report drawn up by the officer of the court if the person on whom the documents were to be served is not at home at the time or refused to take delivery of the summons are the only documents which can prove that the procedure for serving documents was followed in accordance with the law.
  • Postal receipt. Under Section 87(8) of the Code of Civil Procedure, where no special arrangements are made under international conventions to which Romania is party or under any special regulations, persons abroad whose domicile or place of residence is known, by a written summons sent by registered mail with proof of receipt. The fourth subparagraph of Section 1141 applies. If the domicile or place of residence of persons abroad are unknown, documents are served in accordance with Section 95. In all cases, where those living abroad have legal representation in the country, summonses are served on the legal representative.

Under Section 8 of Act No 189/2003, proof of service abroad can be obtained in the form of:

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  1. communication by post direct to the addressee with proof of receipt of registered letters containing the summons and annexed documents;
  2. communication through the central authorities of the requesting State or the Romanian diplomatic mission or consulate in the requesting State using the form provided for under Section 6(3).

7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served on a third person)? Can the service of the document nevertheless be valid (e.g. can violations of the law be remedied) or must a new effort to serve the document be made?

Effects

  • Judgment may be deferred.

    Before entering into discussion of the case, the parties may ask the court to defer judgment on matters not currently before the court. Deferments without discussion are usually issued if procedural irregularities need remedying, such as a failure to summons witnesses or experts.

  • Procedural documents may be annulled where there has been a failure to summons a person or someone has been unlawfully summonsed.
  • Objections may be entered on points of law.

    At the preliminary stage of a public trial, a key moment in the proceedings is the first day of appearance. Under Section 134 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the first day of appearance is the first occasion when the lawfully summoned parties may present their arguments. The first day of appearance should not be confused with the first session of the hearing. The first session of the hearing may be the same as the first day of appearance but only if the following two requirements are met, namely that the parties have been lawfully summoned to appear and can present their arguments. The first day of appearance is important as the defendant may enter objections on points of law and the validity of procedures up to that point. Objections on points of law basically relate to the formal conditions of the proceedings. Most objections fall into this category, such as objections regarding the failure to summons people or unlawful summonses.

  • This may one of the grounds for a refusal to recognise and enforce a decision taken by a foreign court that may therefore be declared unenforceable abroad. Section 171 of Act No 105/1992 implementing international private law states that documents to be annexed to applications for the recognition of decisions taken by foreign courts should include copies of the proof of service of summonses and the referral documents notified to the party not present at the foreign court or any other official document showing that the summons and referral document have been duly recognised by the party against whom the decision was delivered.

8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document and, if so, how much?

NO, if notification and service are performed by an officer of the court.

The fee for the services rendered by bailiffs serving and giving notice of procedural documents is set at between RON 20 and RON 400 (situation as at March 2007).

Further information

(Links to websites, etc.)

http://www.just.ro/ română

http://www.executori.ro/ română

« Service of documents - General information | Romania - General information »

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Last update: 21-09-2007

 
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