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ÎN SERVICIUL JUSTIȚIEI

About the profession

THE CLERK PROFESSION REGULATION

Until recently, the profession of clerk knew a rather scarce regulation, which was not consistent with the importance of its role in the justice achieving process. Thus, the Law no. 92/1992 for the judicial organization contained only a few general provisions regarding the activity of the clerk and of the other specialized auxiliary personnel of the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices. These competences were detailed through the organization and functioning regulations of the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices.

In the context of implementing the justice reform in Romania, considering the increasingly pronounced changes at European level in this field, the increase of the role of the clerks in the activity of the Courts has become a necessity and a solution for improving the quality of the judicial act and avoiding overburdening the judges. Thus, the creation of a statute of the clerk, regulating all aspects related to exercising this profession, was needed.

Currently, the profession of clerk is regulated by Law no. 567/2004 regarding the statute of the specialized auxiliary personnel of the Courts and of the Prosecutor’s Offices attached to them and of the staff working within The National Institute of Forensic Expertise, as amended, but relevant provisions are also found in Law no. 304/2004 regarding the judicial organization, republished, with the subsequent modifications, whose provisions were detailed by the functioning regulations of the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices.

Law no. 567/2004 constituted the first unitary and coherent regulation of the profession of clerk and created a distinct and stable status for the profession of clerk, a sign of recognizing the importance of this profession for the good functioning of the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices.

According to the provisions of Law no. 567/2004, as subsequently amended, the specialized auxiliary personnel of the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices consist of:

– (session) court clerks;

– statistician clerks;

– documentary clerks;

– archivist clerks;

– registering clerks;

– IT specialists. Furthermore, the body of the clerks consists of clerks with higher legal education and clerks with secondary education.

THE COMPETENCES OF THE CLERKS

According to the current legislation, the clerk in the Romanian Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices has many competences, regarding both case management and the participation in Court sessions, as well as the activity within the auxiliary departments of the Court.

The most important competences of the clerks of Court are:

  • participates in court sessions;
  • draws up the concepts for the summoning of the parties in trial;
  • draws up the procedural documents ordered by the trial panel;
  • fills in the dockets and delivers the mail for dispatch;
  • fills in the book of trial sessions, where the files examined during that session are entered, in the same order as in the case list, with the following observations: current issue number, name or denomination of the parties, file number and object, the term granted, indicating the reason for delaying the case; in case of pronouncement delaying, its future date shall be indicated;
  • serves the Court decision within the legal term;
  • types the Court decision and other materials given by Court administrators;
  • transcribes the audio records or the stenography notes of the trial sessions, according to the law.

For the clerks who carry out their activity within the Prosecutor’s Offices, the most important competences refer to:

  • within the registry department, registering the correspondence addressed to the Prosecutor’s Offices, the notifications regarding criminal acts and the other complaints, claims, notifications and citizens memos;
  • recording, delivering or dispatching files according to the resolution, after making remarks of subtraction and closure of the positions;
  • typing procedural and processual documents, as well as the situations presented in the file, regarding the sending or non-sending to trial;

any other activities complementing the activity carried out by the prosecutor (summons, etc.).

THE RECRUITMENT OF THE CLERKS

Law no. 567/2004 stipulates two main ways of entering into the profession of clerk: usually, through The National School of Clerks, and if the activity of the Courts or Prosecutor’s Offices cannot be carried out under normal conditions due to the large number of vacancies, the recruitment of the clerks can be performed by contest to fill the vacant positions. The contest is held within the Courts of Appeal, the Prosecutor’s Offices attached to the Courts of Appeal, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice and The National Anticorruption Directorate, according to the regulation approved by the Superior Council of Magistracy.

The archivist clerks, the registering clerks and the related personnel are recruited through contest to fill the vacant positions.

The admission contest at The National School of Clerks is held annually, at national level. The number of places available for the initial training of the clerks through The National School of Clerks, the type of the studies and the specialization of the trainees are established annually, by the decision of the Plenum of the Superior Council of Magistracy.

Persons who can sit the admission contest must:

  • have Romanian citizenship;
  • reside in Romania
  • have full legal competence;
  • have no criminal record;
  • have no tax record;
  • have a good reputation;
  • speak Romanian;
  • are medically fit to hold the office;
  • have higher legal education or secondary education or any other higher education, as applicable.

The candidates will sit a written exam in the following topics: criminal procedure, civil procedure and judicial organization. In order to be admitted to The National School of Clerks, the candidate must have at least an average grade of 6, but no less than 5 for each subject of the contest.

THE INITIAL TRAINING PROGRAMME

The initial training of clerks who promoted the admission contest within The National School of Clerks implies completing courses with duration of 6 months for clerks with higher legal education and 1 year for clerks with secondary education. These consist of theoretical training and practical internships.

The practical internship, performed within the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices in Bucharest, under the coordination and supervision of the internship tutors, is carried out according to a program established and communicated to the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices, being held over a period of 4 weeks.

In both Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices, the trainees are given the opportunity to learn about the activity of the Courts departments, or of the Prosecutor’s Offices respectively, the specific competences of the clerks, priority being given to clerk’s activity, and even to work effectively fulfilling all the tasks this profession requires. At the end of the training, the students sit for a final exam which consists mainly of practical tests. The National School of Clerks’ average graduation grade is at least 6.

The graduates of The National School of Clerks will be assigned, according to the average grade of the graduation order, to the vacant offices of the Courts and the Prosecutor’s Offices attached to them or, as applicable, to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice or The National Anticorruption Directorate, for which they took the admission contest.

The graduates who obtained an average grade of graduation of at least 7 will be classified in the professional rank immediately superior to that of the beginner, and the graduates who have obtained averages between 6 and 7 will be classified as beginners.

The Romanian legislation also provides an induction period for the archiving clerks and documentary clerks. For the archiving clerks and documentary clerks,who are recruited on a local levelthe Law no. 567/2004  regarding the status of the auxiliary personnel working in law courts and prosecutor’s offices and of the personnel working within National Institute of Forensic Expertise, as further amended, provides a period of probation (induction) of 2 months.

The main topicscovered during the induction period for archiving clerks and documentary clerks arecivil procedural law, criminal procedural law, communication, ethics and judicial organization.

The Romanian legislation also provides an induction period for the clerks recruited through contests for the direct occupation of the clerk vacancies,contests organized by courts of appeal or the prosecutor’s offices under the courts of appeal, or by the High Court of Cassation and Justice or its prosecutor’s office, or by National Anticorruption Directorate, but only if the activity is seriously affected by the large number of vacancies.

The Law no. 567/2004 regarding the status of the auxiliary personnel working in law courts and prosecutor’s offices and of the personnel working within National Institute of Forensic Expertise, as further amended, provides a period of 6 months within which those clerks have the quality of beginner clerks. After passing 6 months of working within courts and prosecutor’s offices, the beginner clerks have to pass a final exam. The training of the clerks recruited through contests for the direct occupation of the clerk vacancies is organized through blended Learning: in the first stage they attend distance courses (e-learning), designed with particular properties of theoretical knowledge necessary for exercising the clerk’s professional duties; in the second stage, conducted in the regional training centers, the training emphasizes the preparation of procedural documents which are the responsibility of the clerks, in order to implement the knowledge gained during the first training sessions.  The main topics studied by the beginner clerks are: Civil procedural law, criminal procedural law, communication and ethics.

THE CONTINUOUS TRAINING PROGRAMME

According to the legal provisions, the specialized auxiliary personnel within the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices must attend the continuous professional training organized by The National School of Clerks, at least once every 5 years.

In this regard, the main tasks of the Department of continuous training for clerks are to consolidate the knowledge acquired by the specialized auxiliary personnel within the School or within Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices, as well as to update their knowledge according to the legislative changes, with the evolution of the technical equipment of the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices, and their established competences.

The continuous training is conducted in a specialized manner, activities being divided into categories of personnel, as follows:

  • training activities for clerks within Courts and for clerks within Prosecutor’s Offices;
  • training activities for clerks in leading offices;
  • training activities for court clerks distinctly addressed to clerks participating in civil proceedings, labor and social insurance litigations or those who participate in criminal proceedings before the court;
  • training activities for clerks who deal with classified documents, for those assigned to the foreclosure department and/or to the contravention execution office, for the clerks appointed to the Information and Public Relations Office, for those assigned to the judicial office.
  • training activities for clerks, depending on the Courts they operate in (district Court, tribunal, Courts of Appeal and the Prosecutor’s Offices attached to them);
  • training activities for archivists and registering clerks.

The continuous professional training of the clerks and of the other specialized auxiliary personnel within the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices is mainly conducted in three ways:

  • in the training centers;
  • in the form of distance education (e-Learning);
  • in the form of blended learning method (b-Learning).

The continuous professional training is carried out through seminars, training sessions, conferences, work visits, internships abroad. The activity of continuous training of the clerks who operate within the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices attached to them are being held according to an annual program approved by the Superior Council of Magistracy, which is communicated to all the Courts and Prosecutor’s Offices attached to them in the month of December of the previous year.

The promotion of the clerks in leading positions

The promotion of the clerks in leading offices is made by contest or examination, to the immediately superior position.

The promotion to management positions such as first clerk, senior clerk, clerk department head or head computer specialist clerk is performed through a contest verifying the professional training and the managerial skills of the candidates. The contest is organized by the Courts of Appeal, the Prosecutor’s Offices attached to them or, as applicable, by the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice or by The National Anticorruption Directorate, based on the Regulation approved by The Superior Council of Magistracy, considering the following criteria:

  • a minimum of 3-year seniority in the office of clerk, respectively computer specialist clerk. For the clerks with higher legal education, a minimum of 6 months in the office of clerk is required.
  • exceptional professional activity, assessed with “very well” rating for the last 3 years, or for the last 6 months respectively;

The appointment as first clerk or senior clerk is valid for a period of 5 years, with the possibility of only one reappointment, by decision of the President of the Court of Appeal or of the General Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Court of Appeal.

The suspension from office of the specialized auxiliary personnel

The suspension from office of the specialized auxiliary personnel can be ordered under the following circumstances:

  • when mental illness occurs, which prevents the proper fulfilment of the office;
  • in case of serious misconduct, for the duration of the preliminary investigation period.

The removal from office of the specialized auxiliary personnel

The removal from office of the specialized auxiliary personnel can be ordered under the following circumstances:

  • resignation;
  • retirement, according to the law;
  • finding a lack of adequate professional training or, as applicable, failing to fulfil the specific competences of the leading office;
  • failing to fulfil any of the requirements for appointment into office;
  • as a disciplinary sanction;
  • final conviction for committing a criminal offense.

Clerks can be delegated or seconded according to the law.

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