Disputes in the electronic communication field are given an alternative
In explaining the Romanian framework for solving disagreements between different parties in the electronic communications field, Ioana Catalina Barbu, Attorney-at-Law, reveals the details
Romania was the first European
country to incorporate the New
Regulatory Framework in electronic
communication networks and services
into its national legislation. This was
adopted at the EU level in 2002.
Romania’s committed and enthusiastic implementation of the framework is viewed as an example to many countries and aims to provide the market with many alternatives in solving litigation.
What this means
If there is a dispute between electronic
communication networks and services
providers or postal services providers,
as well as between users and providers,
the interested party may give a petition
to the National Regulatory Authority for
Communication (ANRC) to solve the
The standard form of such a petition is available at ANRC central headquarters or on the ANRC website.
Attempts to solve the dispute are discretionary and free of charge. If one of the parties is from outside Romania, ANRC collaborates with the correspondent regulator in the other country to solve the case.
Disputes between providers
The petition needs to include:
- the identification data of the parties involved in litigation
- the subject matter consisting of the obligations arising out of the special legal provisions or the Framework Ordinance
- factual and legal grounds
- the damages suffered by the applicant
- the previous attempts (if there are any) of amicable settlement
- the proposed solution or measures to solve the litigation
- the agreed procedure
When an applicant registers a petition, the ANRC President, depending on the nature and the case difficulty, appoints a Commission in charge of the litigation, formed by a president and one or more members.
Two routes are available to solving the disputes: litigious procedure and conciliation.
The first alternative occurs when mediation has failed or if the applicant has chosen this directly.
The conciliation procedure aims at amicably settling the dispute by means of ANRC assistance and clarification of the applicable legal provisions.
In this case the procedure takes place in no more than 30 days, with the parties concluding a written transaction.
But what happens if there is still debate?
Further to the preliminary measures, consisting of meetings, document review and gathering all the necessary information, the Commission makes a preliminary solution accompanied by the proposed measures to solve the dispute.
Within 15 days, the parties may submit a request to the Commission to re-assess the preliminary solution. The ANRC decision on solving the dispute takes four months to deliver from the date ANRC was vested. To better solve the case, such a deadline may be extended exceptionally, according to the ANRC president’s decision.
At any time during both procedures, the parties may conclude a transaction.
The ANRC decision may be appealed within 30 days at the Bucharest Court of Appeal- Administrative Contentious Section.
Disputes between users and providers
If an applicant has alleged
infringements of users’ rights, one
can submit them orally, at the ANRC
headquarters, by mail, fax or e-mail
to ANRC scrutiny. The applicant does
not have to address the petition in its
standard form. If the parties do not
reach an agreement within 60 days,
ANRC issues an opinion, which is a recommendation containing means in view of solving the issues.
Compared to the significantly larger number of litigations in front of the ordinary courts, the number of cases ANRC receives is relatively few.
Nevertheless, the considerably high importance of the parties involved in such disputes and the leading force of the communication industry in Romania are good reasons that might trigger the reputation of the ‘ANRC court’ - of course, depending on the decisions it makes.
Ioana Catalina Barbu
NÖRR STIEFENHOFER LUTZ
28C General Constantin Budisteanu St
Sector 1, Bucharest
Tel. ++40-(0)21-3 12 58 88
Fax ++40-(0)21-3 12 58 89