For example, procedural time limits, periods of prescription or limitation periods, pre-fixed periods, etc.
In civil law, the time-limit or period represents one of the procedural aspects of the legal act in the broad sense.
In civil law theory, the time-limit or period is defined as a future event that is certain to take place, until which either the commencement or the cessation of the exercise of subjective rights and the performance of the civil‑law obligations is postponed.
The relevant provisions are to be found either in sections 1022-1025 of the Civil Code, or in sections 101-104 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
According to their effects, there are two types of time limit. Suspensive time limits postpone the start of the exercising of subjective rights and performance or related duties, while extinctive time limits defer the extinction of a subjective right and performance of the related obligation.
The overriding principle of the effects of time limits is that the time limit only affects the performance of an act, not its existence.
The various types of time limits applicable in civil proceedings are classified as juristic, judicial, or agreed time limits, irrespective of whether they are procedural time limits, limitation periods or deadlines for carrying out certain acts. Statutory periods of limitation are specifically laid down by law. They are generally fixed, and therefore may not be shortened or extended by the court or the parties to the trial. Judicial time limits are set by the court during legal proceedings for the parties to appear before the court, the hearing of witnesses, the taking of evidence, e.g. written documents, expert reports, etc. Agreed time limits may be set by the parties during the proceeding (e.g. the time limit stipulated in section 341(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure in relation to arbitration matters).
From a purely procedural point of view, the procedural period of limitation is broadly defined as the time within which certain procedural steps have to be followed or, conversely, the time within which it is forbidden to carry out certain procedural acts.
Procedural time limits are imperative or prohibitive. Imperative time limits are deadlines by which a certain procedural action has to be performed (e.g. periods of limitation within which a certain application has to be lodged, such as an initial appeal or a final appeal), while prohibitive time limits prevent procedural actions from being taken.
Another classification criterion relates to the penalties applicable for non‑observance of time limits, and in such cases time limits are either absolute or relative. The non-observance of absolute time limits ultimately affects the validity of the procedural acts, while the non-observance of relative time limits (deadlines for giving judgements, time limits for drafting, etc.) may not invalidate the procedural acts, but may bring about disciplinary or financial penalties for those responsible.
Finally, depending on their duration, time limits may be expressed in hours, days, weeks, months and years, as indicated in section 101 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Additionally, there are particular circumstances where the law does not specifically set a specific time limit (minute, hour, day, etc.), referring instead to a point in time by which the procedural act may be performed (for example, enforcement may be challenged until the last enforcement decision) or indicating that the procedural measure should be taken “without delay”, or “at once” or “as a matter or urgency”, as stipulated by sections 383, 448 and 579 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
According to the Romanian legislation, non-working days include all Saturdays and Sundays, national holidays (Romania’s National Day – 1 December, Labour Day – 1 May), plus the major religious holidays (Christmas –25 and 26 December - Easter – 2 days according to the Greek Orthodox calendar), and the New Year holidays on 1 and 2 January.
Refer to the applicable legislation
The rules that apply concerning periods of limitation are those set out in sections 101-104 of the Code of Civil Procedure:
Section 104. – Procedural documents sent to the courts by mail, the time limit is deemed to have been observed if they were registered for delivery by mail before the time limit expired.
(For example: the date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation from which it runs).
Each period has a starting point and an appointed time of completion separated by the duration.
Concerning the starting point, the first subsection of section 102 of the Code of Civil Procedure stipulates that periods of limitation begin to run from the date the procedural acts are notified, provided the law does not stipulate otherwise.
There are also cases when the act set as the starting point for the time limit may be replaced by other equivalent acts. Thus, the second subsection of section 102 stipulates that time limits generally start to run for the party that has requested the notification, from the date the request was made specifically and explicitly. Moreover, under the second and third subsections of section 284 and section 301 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the time limit for an appeal or final appeal runs even if the decision was notified at the same time as the enforcement notice and if a party lodges an initial or final appeal before notification of the decision, the decision is considered to have been communicated on the date of application for the initial or final appeal. Consequently, the date of notification marking the beginning of the period is replaced in such cases by other acts that become the starting point of the period (for example, a request for notification of the act by the opposing party, the lodging of an appeal or final appeal or the notification of the judgement enforcement notice).
By way of exception to the general rule provided in the first subsection of section 102 of the Code of Civil Procedure, there are also cases when periods start to run at times other than the date of notification, namely on delivery of judgement (the last subsection of section 22, section 252 and section 281 of the Code of Civil Procedure); at the moment evidence is admitted (section 170 or section 186 of the Code of Civil Procedure), at the moment certain acts are published (section 507 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
The period completion point is defined as the moment when a time limit takes effect in that the act for which the time limit was set may no longer be performed (as in the case of imperative time limits) or, on the contrary, as the moment when the right to take certain procedural steps may be exercised (as with prohibitive time limits).
As a rule periods run continuously between the starting point and the appointed time of completion, and may not be interrupted or suspended. As in the case of the prescription, the law of civil procedure does not provide for a general system for interrupting periods for procedures, but according to legal theory and case law, for all procedural deadlines by which a procedural step has to be taken, circumstances beyond the control of the party – as stated in section 103 of the Code of Civil Procedure – are grounds for interrupting the time limit. Other special cases for interrupting exist, for instance, for interrupting the time limit for appealing sections 285-286 of the Code of Civil Procedure) or of limitation periods (section 249 of the Code of Civil Procedure). At the same time, the law stipulates that the procedural/statutory periods of limitation may be suspended (in the case of the limitation period under section 250 of the Code of Civil Procedure). In all cases of interruption, a new time limit will start to run, irrespective of the time elapsed before the interruption. If the period was interrupted under the first subsection of section 103 of the Code of Civil Procedure, a new fixed 15–day period starts after the obstacle has been removed, regardless of the duration of the interrupted period. In case of suspension, the time limit runs its course from the point where it was interrupted, including the time lapsed before the suspension.
In conclusion, under section 104 of the Code of Civil Procedure, where documents are sent by post or by bailiff, either to or by the court, the time limit is deemed to have been observed if they were registered to be sent by mail before the expiry of the time limit. So, as a rule, the starting point of a time limit may not be affected or modified by the way the documents are sent or notified (delivered by a bailiff or notified by mail); however, under exceptional circumstances this procedure may be influenced by external circumstances beyond the control of the party, in which case the rules mentioned in the previous paragraph apply.
Under the first subsection of section 101 of the Code of Civil Procedure the periods expressed in days are calculated according to a special system, namely on the basis of full days, excluding both the first day of the period – dies a quo – as well as the last – dies ad quem; the rules stipulated for the starting point as presented under section 4 apply.
The periods expressed in days are always calculated in whole days but the document/act may only be filed when the court is open to the public. To avoid this problem, the procedural document may be sent by post, with the post office clerk specifying the date and the method by which the document has been transmitted to the addressee.
For example, if a person must act or is served a document on Monday, 4 April 2005, and he/she is requested to answer within 14 days from service, does it mean that he or she shall answer before:
The correct answer is that the person in question has to respond by the end of 18 April.
Under subsections 3-5 of section 101 of the Code of Civil Procedure, periods expressed in years, months or weeks end on the day of the year, month or week corresponding to the starting day of the period.
A period which starts on the 29th, 30th or 31st day of one month and ends in a shorter month is deemed completed on the last day of the month in question.
A period of limitation that ends on a public holiday or when work is suspended is extended up to the end of the subsequent working day.
Periods expressed in weeks, months and years end on the day of the week, month, or year corresponding to the starting day. Under subsection 4 of section 101 of the Code of Civil Procedure, a period which starts on the 29th, 30th or 31st day of a month and ends in a shorter month is deemed completed on the last day of the month in question. Regardless of the way periods are set, a period which ends on a public holiday or when work is suspended is extended to the end of the subsequent working day. Consequently, in such a case, public holidays within the period are counted.
Yes, there are special starting points which are not influenced by the date of service of the document but by previous identifiable moments, both in civil procedure and in civil law in general.
Regardless of the way periods are set, a period which ends on a public holiday, or when work is suspended, is extended to the end of the following working day. Consequently, in such a case, public holidays within the period are counted.
Yes, there are time limits specific to certain fields of law, for instance, in labour disputes, where the time limits for the trial and lodging appeals are shortened; this is also true of judicial procedures under Act No 248/2005 concerning the free movement of persons.
There are also shorter periods than usual in certain matters related to judge's order under sections 581-582 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The answer is yes. In certain exceptional circumstances, the law enables a judge either to extend the period (for example, Article 303 Paragraph 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure – in the matter of the second/final appeal), or to shorten it (for example, the first subsection of section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure – concerning the time limit for srving subpoenas). These periods are called imperfect statutory time limits.
This is covered by the procedural rules applicable in lex fori, i.e.the rules of procedure applied by the court under whose jurisdiction the case falls.
As shown earlier, if absolute time limits are not observed, the validity of procedural acts is ultimately affected; if relative time limits are not observed – even if they do not necessarily render the procedural acts null and void – they can bring about disciplinary or financial penalties for those responsible (time limits for passing sentence, time limits for drafting decisions, etc.).
The system of sanctions applicable in case of non-observance of procedural periods of limitation consists of:
In such a case, the sanction is the loss of entitlement which can be remedied by the judge under section 103 of the Code of Civil Procedure; the interested party must apply for the reinstatement of the time limit, presenting and evidencing the circumstances which prevented him/her from observing the period of limitation. Such circumstances must be insuperable and beyond the party’s control.
 For instance, The Azores Islands or Madeira for Portugal, the Overseas Departments and Territories for France, The Canary Islands for Spain, etc.Top
Last update: 07-09-2007