On 5 July 2012, the Moldovan Parliament passed Act No. 155/2012 (Act No.155) amending the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Moldova. Act No.155, which shall enter into force on 1 December 2012, implements substantial modifications to the norms currently regulating dispute resolution by the Moldovan courts. Among others, the amendments will extend the material competence of the courts of first instance, change the mechanism of repartition of files to judges, modality of is-suance of motivated decisions and also the approach to judging the declared ap-peals and recourses.
Act No. 155 is inter alia meant to increase the efficiency of the Moldovan court sys-tem, decrease the time spent by participants in courts and reduce the number of delay / abuse tactics that are currently often used by bad-faith participants. The new legislation follows the recent recommendations by the European Council and is a component part of the judicial reform currently ongoing in the Republic of Moldo-va.
Within 15 days as of the entrance into force of Act No. 155, all statements of claims submitted to be judged on merits to the courts of appeal shall be passed to the courts of law competent pursuant to the entered amendments, with the exception of those cases for which the date of hearings was set, in which case the courts of ap-peal are obliged to judge the cases within 3 months as of the date of entrance into force of the Act No.155.
Material competence of the courts of first instance
Act No.155 considerably reduces the material competence of the courts of appeal and, as a result, passes such powers to the courts of first instance. Accordingly, as of 1 December 2012, except for situations expressly set forth in the laws (e.g. insolvency proceedings), all disputes are to be examined on the merits in the first instance by the courts of first instance.
Allocation of the submitted statements of claims
The adopted law provides for strict rules on allocation of files between judges. In particular, the norm sets that a statement of claims submitted to a court has to be allocated to a judge (or panel of judges) within 24 hours as of the submission and by means of the implemented software (Program on Management of Cases). The stated software should ensure an aleatory repartition of files.
Issuance of the motivated judgment by courts of first instance
Another novelty implemented by Act No.155 is the exclusion from the Code of Civil Procedure of the courts’ obligation to issue motivated judgments.
As a general rule, judgments passed by courts of first instance will consist of two parts: introduction and decision. However, should the entitled persons request a motivation (i.e. within 30 days as the judgment public pronunciation), or declare an appeal against the pronounced judgment, or should an enforcement abroad be in-tended, the judge/panel of judges who/which judged the matter will have to issue a motivated part within 15 days as of the receipt of the ground triggering the obliga-tion to issue.
Prescription term to declare an appeal against the judgment of the court of first instance
Under the new rules, the term to declare an appeal against a judgment has been in-creased. As of 1 December 2012, participants receive the right to declare appeals within 30 days as of date of the pronouncement of the decision part of the judgment by the judge/panel of judges. By way of comparison, under the current wording of the Code of Civil Procedure, an appeal can be declared within 20 days as of the date of communication to the participant of the motivated judgment, which, in practice, could have lasted weeks or even months.
Examination of recourses by the Supreme Court
Act No.155 also introduces new rules on the examination of recourses by the Su-preme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova. Under the new provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Supreme Court of Justice will not be obliged to summon the participants when examining the recourse. The physical presence of the partici-pants may be required by the Supreme Court of Justice in case it deems that their participation is necessary.
Besides the amendments indicated above, Act. No.155 implements the notion of the consulting opinion of the Enlarged Plenum of the Supreme Court of Justice, and de-tails the rules regarding mandatory procedural co-participation, expertise and the appointment of experts, as well as for the receipt and submission of subpoenas, in-terim measures (relief), rules on evidences, proofs and discovery.
The amendments’ ultimate goal is to contribute to bringing Moldova closer to having a functional, independent and uncorrupted judicial system, as in the countries of the Euro-pean Union. To a great extent, achieving this goal will depend on a proper en-forcement of these amendments and, of course, on the continuation of the judicial reform com-menced in 2011.