Covid Emergency and Imprecise and Disproportionate Administrative Sanctions: the Decision of the Romanian Constitutional Court

Romanian Constitutional Court, 6 May 2020, n. 152

With an interesting decision of the 6th of May 2020, the Romanian Constitutional Court declared the constitutional illegitimacy of the emergency legislation adopted by the Romanian Government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, with particular reference to the administrative sanctions imposed by a Government Emergency Ordinance of 1999 – regulating the state of emergency – and to the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 34/2020 as a whole.

This regulation was characterized by the harshness of the administrative sanctions and by the high margin of discretion left to the ascertaining agents: it in fact imposed extremely severe fines, equal to up to five times the average salary of citizens, for any violation of the emergency measures established by legislative acts and governmental or military ordinances. The Romanian Constitutional Court consequently recognized this discipline in contrast with the principles of clarity, precision and predictability of administrative offenses. It was also noted that the emergency regulation adopted by the Government with ordinance no. 34/2020 illegitimately exceeded the governmental powers by limiting the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.

To read a summary of the decision in English language, click here.