AuthorIustina Ionescu
1 Introduction
1.1 Basic structure of the national legal system
The legal system in Romania is a civil law system. At the top of the legislative hierarchy is
the Constitution, follow ed by organic laws, ordinary laws and government decisions. The
court structure is organised at three levels first instance, first appeal and appeals on
grounds of law; not all cases go through all three levels, some are examined only at first
instance and an appeal on grounds of law. At the top of the court hierarchy is the High
Court of Cassation and Justice (Înalta Curte de Casaie şi Justiie (ICCJ)). The
Constitutional Court examines whether laws comply with the Constitution. The Parliament
is the regular legislator; the Government may legislate when there is a matter of urgent
attention and the acts adopted are called Government Ordinances (OG) or Government
Emergency Ordinances (OUG).
In the field of gender equality, legislation has been adopted at the level of Parliament and
the Government. On 06 October 2015, the National Agency for Equal Opportunities for
Women and Men (Agenia Naional pentru Egalitate de Şanse între Femei şi Brbai
(ANES)) was re-established. This agency is a specialised body of the national public
administration, having legal personality, under the control of the Minist ry of Labour and
Social Justice (Ministerul Muncii şi Justiiei Sociale); it promotes the principle of equal
opportunities and equal treatment between w omen and men with the aim of eliminating
all forms of sex discrimination in all national policies and programmes. According to
Article 24(1) of the Gender Equality Law (Law No. 202/2002 regarding equal opportunities
for women and men), ANES controls a national structure called the National Commission
in the field of equal opportunities for women and men (Comisia naional în domeniul
egalitii de şanse între femei şi brbai), composed of representatives of various
ministries or other bodies at the level of the national administration, including civil society.
This National Commission discusses the reports filed by the equivalent local-level
commissions from every county, which a re made up of representatives of various
institutions at the level of the local administration that deal with asp ects that have a
connection with equal opportunities for women and men.1
Over the last few years, the National Commission and the local-level commissions have
no longer been active; gender equality was n ot a priority. In July 2018, the Ministry of
Labour and Social Justice attempted to revive the county-level commissions (COJES) by
explicitly mentioning which institutions at the local level appoint the President, Vice-
president, and Executive Secretary of these commissions.2 The change aims at ensuring
the representation and contribution of local institutions that have a mandate and c ould
contribute to fighting violence against women, such as the General Department f or Social
Assistance and Child Protection (Direcia general de asisten social şi protecia copilului
(DGASPC)). Moreover, an amendment of the Gender Equality Law from 19.07.2018
introduced the professions of equal opportunities expert and equal opportunities specialist
that work at the level of employers to assessing gender inequalities and propose solutions.3
The new amendment also created the possibility, although not the obligation, of public and
private employers with more than 50 employees to assign the competences mentioned
above to an employee or to hire a gender equality expert/specialist. 4
At the same time, the OG No.137/2000 on the prevention and sanctioning of all fo rms of
discrimination (Ordonana Guvernului nr.137/2000 privind prevenirea şi sancionarea
tuturor formelor de discriminare) established the general anti -discrimination system that
1 Law 202/2002 regarding equal opportunities for and equal treatment of women and men (Lege
nr.202/2002 privind egalitatea de sanse si de tratament intre femei si barbati), Articles 24 and 25
(hereafter, ‘Gender Equality Law’).
2 Gender Equality Law, Article 25.(6)-(10).
3 Gender Equality Law, Article 2.(5).
4 Gender Equality Law, Article 2.(4).

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