Legal Assistance

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Officers of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates overseas are prohibited by federal regulation from acting as agents or attorneys on behalf of U.S. citizens involved in legal disputes overseas. Department of State personnel, including its attorneys, do not provide legal advice to the public.

While we may not recommend a particular foreign attorney, we may furnish the names of several attorneys who have identified themselves as willing to assist U.S. citizen clients. For hints and guidelines on dealing with a foreign attorney, please read the information available on the website of the Department of State at Retaining a foreign attorney.

For English-speaking attorneys in Romania, please download our Attorney List  (PDF 416 KB).

The Romanian Bar Association provides links to county bars with contact information for their members.

Below is a summary of judicial assistance in Romania. For the most up-to-date and complete information please see the State Department’s International Judicial Assistance page.

 

 

Service of Process:

Service of process can be accomplished in civil cases through the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters.

Service of process in criminal cases is accomplished only through the letter rogatory process, as described in 4 Moore’s Federal Practice 28.05.

For the most up-to-date and complete information please see the State Department’s judicial assistance web page.

Romania acceded to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters on August 21, 2003. The Convention, including reservations and declarations made by Romania, entered into force on April 1st, 2004.

In accordance with Article 8, paragraph 2, of the Convention, Romania declares that the foreign diplomatic and consular agents can effect service of judicial or extrajudicial documents within the territory of Romania, exclusively upon nationals of the state they represent.

Romania objects to the possibility of direct notification or service provided for in Article 15(1). In Romania direct notification or service within the meaning of Article 15(1) of the Regulation is not accepted by the civil procedure code.

Service can be requested by mailing a completed request form and the documents to be served (two copies of each) directly to the foreign Romanian Central Authority as provided by Article 3 of the Convention. The summons, complaint and any other documents to be served must be translated into Romanian and submitted in duplicate.

Upon receiving the request, the Central Authority will arrange for service in a manner permitted within Romania, generally through an officer of the court. Once service is affected, the Central Authority sends a certificate of service to the “Judicial Officer” who made the request.

Complete information on the operation of the Convention and copies of the standardized forms are available at the Hague Service Convention website.

Romanian Central Authority: Ministry of Justice, Department of International Law and Treaties, Directorate for judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters, Str. Apolodor nr. 17, Sector 5, Bucuresti, Cod 050741, Romania, Tel: +4 037 204 1077 or 1078 (director’s office), Fax: +4 037 204 1079, e-mail: dreptinternational@just.ro, website: http://www.just.ro.

U.S. Central Authority: Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L St., N.W., Room 11006, Washington, D.C. 20530, Tel: (202) 307-0983; Fax: (202) 514-6584.

Costs: There are generally no costs incurred in connection with service through the central authority under the Convention.

In civil cases, where a U.S. citizen witness is willing to testify voluntarily, a deposition may be conducted. Depositions may be taken on notice or by issuance of a commission by an American court to a “consular officer” (see 22 CFR 92.53).  under the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, with the reservations declared by Romania.

The taking of depositions of willing witnesses in Romania is governed by Article 5(f) and 5(j) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and, in civil and commercial matters, the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters, with the reservation declared by Romania.

Romania allows no voluntary depositions of its citizens. Deposition of Romanian citizens must be requested by the foreign court through the Romanian Central Authority, the Ministry of Justice. The witnesses may refuse to take an oath or refrain from answering any or all questions. For additional information, please visit the Department of State’s page on Obtaining Evidence.

 

 

The deposition must be of a U.S. citizen resident in Romania. All testimony must be given voluntarily without coercion or threat of future sanctions. Therefore, prior to the taking of testimony and in accordance with the law, the consular officer will administer a voluntariness advisement to each witness. The attorney arranging the deposition(s) should contact the consular section of the Embassy as soon as possible prior to the proposed deposition date to discuss procedures, scheduling and payment of fees.

A minimum of six weeks prior to the agreed-upon deposition date, the attorney must provide to the Consular Section either:

  1. A copy of his/her notice to opposing counsel of anticipated taking of testimony; or
  2. A copy of the court order commissioning the consular officer to take testimony.

The notice or order should include the following:

  • Case name and docket number
  • Court where case is pending
  • Name/citizenship/address/telephone number of witness(es)
  • Date and place of depositions
  • Must include a brief description of the case with special focus on the appropriate standards of the American procedural and substantive laws.

It is the responsibility of the attorney arranging the depositions to engage a court reporter and, if necessary, a translator or interpreter. Please provide the Embassy or consulate taking the deposition with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the court reporter and translator/interpreter in advance of the deposition(s).

For the most up-to-date and complete information please see the State Department’s judicial assistance web page.

NOTE: A list of local court reporters and a list of official sworn translators and interpreters can be obtained by contacting the consular section of the Embassy or consulate where the deposition is to be taken. The Embassy takes no responsibility with regard to the professional competency of any of those individuals whose names appear on the respective lists.

In the case of Romanian citizen witnesses deposed in Romanian courts, please note that the testimony of witnesses in Romanian court proceedings is not taken verbatim. Accordingly, the court reporters on the list may or may not be capable of recording the deposition(s) in a manner acceptable to an American court. It is the responsibility of the attorney arranging the deposition(s) to make certain the proceedings are recorded and transcribed in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction in which the case is pending.

Post Deposition Proceedings

Absent a waiver on the record by the attorneys for the parties, following the deposition:

  1. The court reporter and the translator/interpreter must execute affidavits of accuracy before the consular officer
  2. The witness, after reviewing the transcript of his testimony and making any corrections in the manner prescribed by the attorneys or by the court having jurisdiction over the matter, must sign the transcript in the presence of the consular officer; and
  3. The consular officer must prepare a deposition closing certificate.

Deposition Fees

All fees must be paid prior to the swearing of the participants and the taking of testimony. Arranging attorney must deposit $1,283.00 at the time of requesting scheduling, to cover consular time spent scheduling and arranging the deposition. The fee should be in the form of a certified check or money order payable to the U.S. Embassy Bucharest. The scheduling fee and deposit for deposition fee is used  to cover consular officer and staff time in scheduling the deposition, and is not refundable if the deposition is cancelled or rescheduled, unless at the request of the Consular Section. To reschedule a deposition, the arranging attorney must deposit an additional $1,283.00.If the consular officer believes the fees will far exceed this amount, a larger deposit may be requested.

Consular Hourly Rate/Costs

An hourly rate of $309.00 per hour, assessed in minimum increments of one hour, is charged for non-scheduling-related services rendered in connection with the deposition, e.g., administration of oaths and witness voluntariness statements, the consular officer’s time spent presiding over the deposition, packaging of the deposition for mailing to the U.S., and any other deposition-related service. In the exceptional case where the depositions are taken outside consular premises at some distance, or after working hours, additional fees will be charged for consular time and transportation costs. In such a case, the Embassy will require the arranging attorney to deposit the estimated amount of costs before the swearing of participants.

Post-Deposition Matters/Deposition Closing Certificate

The charge for the court reporter’s and translator/interpreter’s affidavit of accuracy and the charge for the witness’ signing of the transcript are included in the original hourly fee for the oath. Therefore, there is no additional charge for these services. The fee for a deposition closing certificate is $415.00.

Postage

Unless other arrangements for filing the original transcript(s) of the deposition(s) are made beforehand, the attorney arranging the deposition must deposit an additional $100.00 to cover registered postage and incidental expenses related to the handling of the transcript. Any unused amount will be returned.

The fees for photocopies is $1 per page.

Compulsion of evidence in criminal matters is governed by the provisions of the bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance treaty signed in Washington on May 26, 1999 and the Protocol to the Treaty, signed in Bucharest on September 10, 2007. The remedies offered by the MLAT treaty are only available to the prosecutors. The defense must proceed with the methods of obtaining evidence in criminal matters under the laws of Romania, which involve letters rogatory. A letter rogatory is a request from a court in the U.S. addressed “to the Appropriate Judicial Authority” of the foreign country.

For details about the process consult our general information flyer, Preparation of Letters Rogatory.

Defense requests in criminal matters should be directed to Overseas Citizens Services office of the Department of State.

 

The consular fee for processing letters rogatory and judicial assistance cases is $2,275. Counsel are requested to submit a certified bank check in the amount of $2,275 payable to the U.S. Embassy. Corporate or personal checks are not acceptable. Foreign authorities may also charge a fee. Counsel will be notified by the U.S. embassy and/or the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management in the Department of State if the Embassy is advised by foreign authorities of any applicable local fees. There is no consular fee for letters rogatory on behalf of federal, state or local government officials. (See 22 CFR 22.1, item 53). If the letter rogatory requests compulsion of evidence from more than one witness or service of process on more than one person, multiple fees may be charged if more than one foreign court is required to execute the request due to multiple jurisdictions.

Requests from State or Federal Government Officials: If the service is on behalf of the federal, state or local government, there is no fee (22 CFR 22.1, item 58(a)/ (c). If the letter rogatory is being transmitted at the request of a state or federal official no U.S. consular fee will be charged. However, local authorities in the foreign country may impose fees of their own which must be paid by the state or federal authority in the United States requesting the judicial assistance. You will be contacted if a federal appropriation number and fund code or remittance a check for foreign fees owed by state or local governments in the U.S. are necessary.