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Galatz


Merchant courts of Justice    EN

Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

The modern juridical organisation began in the Romanian Principalities with the Organic Statutes (1831–1832) which regulated domestic law on a French model. On 15 February 1832 there was founded the court of Covurlui County, led by a president and two assessors. The instance preserved this name until 1864, being thereafter called the tribunal of Covurlui County (1865–1952).

The Organic Regulation stipulated the existence in Moldavia of a commercial court, initially organised at Jassy and then transferred to Galaţi in 1833. Its staff consisted of a president, elected from among the local boyars, two members from among merchants, a director of chancery and two scribes. By a decision of Prince Mihail Sturdza two additional members were appointed thereafter. In its first years foreigners could serve as elected members, a fact that made the native merchants complain to the prince. The appeals to the decisions of the commercial court were judged by the appellative divans and by the princely court[1].

In 1840 a commercial code was introduced in Wallachia, based on the French commercial code. The law had 595 articles, divided into three parts: collective trade, bankruptcies, maritime trade. When needed, this regulation was also applied in Moldavia. By a decision in 1848 the commercial court was reformed, adding two new members besides those already existent. The president and two members were appointed and the other two were elected from among the merchants with immovable fortune and due experience, being confirmed for a term of three years. The trials were judged in a panel of three (president, appointed member, elected member), and the divergences in a panel of five[2].

The new law of juridical organisation in 1864 settled the following courts at the level of the Romanian modern state: the court of the plasa (administrative–territorial unit inferior to the county), the county court, the courts with jurors, the appellative courts and the court of cassation. The county court had under its jurisdiction the territory administered by a prefecture. The court judged in first instance all commercial, civil and penal causes. The court of Covurlui had two sections: a) the civil and correctional one, and b) the commercial one. The regional appellative court was initially based at Focşani, and then transferred to Galaţi in 1866. Other instances were temporarily organised, among which a commercial section which existed until 1931, when the court stopped recording the commercial and industrial companies, its attributions being taken over by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. For commercial issues, the court had not only professional magistrates, but also commercial judges, elected among local merchants from a list settled publicly[3].

In 1888 the Court of Covurlui solved, in both sections, 2,726 cases, among which 241 commercial ones and 40 bankruptcies of firms. In 1889 in both sections there were recorded 2,478 files, and 1,114 decisions were given, among which 111 commercial ones[4]. According to the report of activities for 1906, among the causes solved there were 131 commercial litigations. In the juridical year 1913–1914 the court of Covurlui pronounced the following sentences: penal – 1,281, civil – 329, commercial – 146, divorces – 61[5].

After the establishment of the bourse, commercial disputes could also be solved by a commission á l’amiable, instituted by the involved parties. In 1910 a Chamber of Arbiters and Conciliation was organised, and the cases they solved were publicly presented in the official review of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry[6].

Picture 1.3_3 Mihail Orleanu
Source: http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihail_G._Orleanu


 

 

[1] Gabriela Ana Costin, “Instanţele judecătoreşti gălăţene în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea şi la începutul secolului al XX-lea”, Danubius, 22 (2004), 75–76; Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 354–355.

[2] Istoria dreptului românesc, edited by Dumitru Firoiu and Liviu P. Marcu (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1984), vol. II, part 1, 311–312.

[3] Costin, “Instanţele”, 76–77.

[4] Moise N. Pacu, Cartea judeţului Covurluiu. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice, (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891), 198; Costin, “Instanţele”, 77–78.

[5] Ibid., 78.

[6] Buletinul Camerei de Comerciu şi Industrie din Galaţi, the issues from 1911–1914.


References

Archival sources that contain cases:

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Triunalul Judeţului Covurlui (The Court of Covurlui County), files starting with 1836.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Baroul de Avocaţi Galaţi (Galaţi Bar of Lawyers), files starting with 1879.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Curtea de Apel Galaţi (The Appellative Court of Galaţi), files starting with 1864.

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Parchetul Curţii de Apel (The Prosecutor’s Office of Galaţi), files starting with 1864.

Bibliography:

Costin, Gabriela Ana, “Instanţele judecătoreşti gălăţene în a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea şi la începutul secolului al XX-lea” [The Juridical Courts of Galaţi during the Second Half of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries], Danubius, 22 (2004), 75–80.

Firoiu, Dumitru, Liviu P. Marcu (editors), Istoria dreptului românesc [History of Romanian Law], vol. II, part 1 (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1984).

Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).

Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).


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