Remedies and enforcement

AuthorRomanita Iordache
6.1 Judicial and/or administrative procedures (Article 7 Directive 2000/43,
Article 9 Directive 2000/78)
a) Available procedures for enforcing the principle of equal treatment
In Romania, the following procedures exist for enforcing the principle of equal treatment
under th e Anti- discrimination Law: jud icial before civil courts; administrative before the
national equality body (NCCD); and alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation,
before both the courts and the NCCD. In specific fields, such as employment or education,
the relevant authorities might receive and investigate complaints of discrimination,
although the NCCD reports that in practice these entities usually redirect complainants to
the equality body.
The Romanian anti-discrimination system provides for a mixed system of for ums:
contraventional (ad ministrative), civil an d criminal . In cases of an alleged act of
discrimination, the victim of discrimination or any interested person can choose between
filing a complaint with th e NCCD, and/or filing a civil complaint for civil damages with the
courts of law, unless the act is criminal, and the Criminal Code provisions apply. Both
before the NCCD and the courts, the parties can reach a friendly agreement at any tim e.
In a November 2009 decision, the Constitutional Court concluded that the NCCD is not an
extraordinary court and confirmed the constitutionality of the mandate of the national
equality body as an ad ministrative-jurisdictional entity. The Cou rt noted that the NCCD is
not a mandatory forum and that victims may choose betw een the two forums (courts and
NCCD) to enforce their rights.184 The possibility of dual, even simultaneous venues as an
exception to the principle that once a venue is chosen there is no recourse to another, was
confirmed by the High Court of Justice and Cassation, which emphasi sed that using one
forum, the NCCD (in the case c oncerned, an administrative complaint before t he N CCD
under Article 20 was fol lowed by an administrative appeal challenging its decision), does
not have any impact on the admissibility of a petition filed before the civil court under
Article 27.185
The fact that the two f orums (NCCD and civil court) are not mutually exclusive and the
complainant can choose to use only one or to use both simultaneously creates problems in
practice for the parties, the NCCD and the judiciary. In addition, the action before the
NCCD does not have a suspensive effect in regard to the prescription of the administrative
or civil action. The complaint with the NCCD might result in an administrative sanction
(administrative warning or fine), while the civil case, judged under general torts provisions,
results in civil damages payable to the victim of discrimination, re -establishing the status
quo ante, the situation as it was before the act of discrimination occurred, or nullifying the
situation established as a result of the discrimination, in accordance with civil law provisions
on torts. Following the 2013 amendments to t he Anti-discrimination Law, both the NCCD
and the courts can oblige the perpetrator to publish a brief summary of the decision in the
In a series of decisions issued in 2008, the Romanian Constitutional Court (Curtea
Constituional) limited the mandates of both the NCCD 186 and the civil courts in relation
to discrimination generated by legislative norms.187 Subsequently, protection against
184 Romanian Constitutional Court, Decision 1470, 10 November 2009.
185 High Court of Justice and Cassation, Decision 5211, 7 December 2012, available in Romanian at:
186 Romanian Constitutional Court, Decision 997, 7 October 2008, finding that Article 20 (3) of the Anti-
discrimination Law (GO 137/2000), defining the mandate of the NCCD in relation to discrimination triggered
by legislative provisions, is unconstitutional.
187 Romanian Constitutional Court, Decisions 818, 819, 820, 3 July 2008. The Constitutional Court concluded
that the dispositions of Article 1(2)e and of Article 27 of the Anti-discrimination Law are unconstitutional, to

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