Vol. 2 No.3  

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 problem.
     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
28C General Constantin Budisteanu St
Sector 1, Bucharest
Tel. ++40-(0)21-3 12 58 88
Fax ++40-(0)21-3 12 58 89