Steven van Groningen’s comments impacted „impartiality of the judiciary”, says CSM

Newsroom 24/08/2016 | 16:25

The Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) said that Steven van Groningen, the president of the Council of Banking Employers in Romania (CPBR) and the CEO for Raiffeisen Bank, has made comments that have impacted the image of courts following rulings given by judges in trials involving foreign exchange loans.

The comments made by Van Groningen were included in a letter that the CPBR had sumbitted to key institutions in the judiciary such as the Ministry of Justice and the National Institute of Magistrates (INM).

In that letter, the representatives have criticised the uneven practice of courts in litigations between banks and clients, regarding the repayment of foreign exhange loans, primarily for Swiss francs.

The Judicial Inspection has made its own investigation after receiving a request from liberal MP Daniel Zamfir, who has also initiatiated the passing to pay bill.

„The comments in the letter on how certain domestic and European regulations should be interpreted for granting and repayment of loans in foreign currency have casted doubt on the solutions pronounced by courts for bank customers ,” says the CSM.

The CSM added in the statement that the request of courts to take into account the arguments included in the letter for the „act of justice to be more objective and impartial, in line with the legal provisions”, the statements that the application of regulations that were invoked and of the judiciar practice of the European Court of Justice „could determine an objective approach of judges that are called to make justice and to build the basis for a correct application of the law” or that the „courts restrict the circulation of capital, which breaches the EU legislation that has to be applied with priority”, induce the idea that the judges are not impartial when solving the litigations between clients and banks.

„The judicial inspectors have concluded that the comments represent an interference in the activity of the judiciary and question the decision of courts and the professionalism of judges, also representing a form on pressure on them, given that the High Court will have to make a ruling in one of these cases. The (CSM members of the e.n) Plenary Session has appreciated that the comments of Steven van Groningen breach the limits of freedom of speech in relation to the activity of magistrates, impacting the independent and impartiality of the overall judicial system,” added the CSM.

Ovidiu Posirca

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