Online Courts in Romania: A small step for legal practitioners, a giant leap for the Romanian judicial system
On 3rd of April 2020, a group of visionary legal professionals organised the first online court hearing in Romania. The case was a moot one, in the sense that the parties and the matter brought forth before the court were all fictional. What was at stake here, though, was for the legal professionals to get a taste of online/remote dispute resolution before courts of law.
Shortly, on 7th of April 2020, the Bucharest Tribunal (both a court of first instance and appellate court) launched the Videoconferencing section on its website to be used by and large for civil cases.
These shifts of paradigm were triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated measures. The challenge will now be to sustain these actions and continue the innovation process and digitalise the Romanian judicial system once the pandemic crisis is over. The task will be a demanding one because, unlike alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as arbitration and mediation, the procedural rules governing the activity of the courts of law are largely different and mainly strict. Although seeing the possible advantages, Romanian legal professionals are still wary of the digitalisation process.