Prof. Verginia Vedinas – Doctor Honoris Causa, Ovidius University of Constanta

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Ovidius University of Constanta conferred the title of “Doctor Honoris Causa” to our colleague, Prof. Univ. Dr. Verginia Vedinaș, for outstanding contributions to legal sciences.

In her lecture in response to the Laudatio, the Professor spoke on“Administrative Law at the Turn of the Millennia, Centuries and Political Regimes“.

ROMANIAN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW AT THE CROSSROADS OF MILLENNIA, CENTURIES AND POLITICAL REGIMES

– Summary of the dissertation presented on October 13, 2022, on the occasion of the conferral of the title of “Doctor Honoris Causa” by the “Ovidius” University of Constanta –

I. PROLEGOMENE. BEGINNINGS
1. Administrative law began to develop in the second half of the 19th century. The reforms of the ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, whom we have likened in our previous writings to a Napoleon of the Romanians, undoubtedly contributed to this, of which we mention the two Laws no. 396 of 31 March 1864 for the establishment of county councils and, respectively, the Communal Law no. 394/31 March 1864 which established the real modern administration at local level as well as the Law of 1864 establishing the Council of State, after the French model, with the same triple role, as a jurisdictional body, as advisor to the government and head of state and as disciplinary authority over state officials.

II. Administrative law in the interwar period
The interwar period was dominated by the adoption of the 1923 Constitution, considered by most authors to be the most democratic Constitution of Romania. It raised, through Article 107 to the level of the Fundamental Law, the institution of administrative litigation. On the basis of the 1923 Constitution and the laws adopted on its basis, and we refer in particular to the Law on the Status of Civil Servants of 1923 and the Law on Administrative Disputes of 23 December 1925, a rich doctrine and jurisprudence developed.
A shining moment in this period was the establishment “without any official support or subsidy from the state” by Paul Negulescu on 30 June 1925 of the Institute of Administrative Sciences of Romania, of which he was the head until the end of his life in 1946, although he only formally served as secretary general. The Institute was recognized as an establishment of public utility by an express law.
A special place in the work of the Institute was given to the publication of the Review of Public Law, the first issue of which appeared in 1926, and in whose pages were published sacred masters of French and European public law.

III. Administrative law in the post-war period
In the post-war period, public law faced a decline in the significance of its institutions, the great institutions of public law were formally abolished and replaced by what we can call “surrogate” versions considered specific to this regime.
We point out that, despite these unfavourable realities to say the least, the great professors of public law have defended public law institutions such as administrative litigation, the administrative contract or the civil servant.

IV. Contemporary Administrative Law
1. A new Constitution, revised in 2003.
The end of 1989, when what the Constitution states in its first article, para. (3) to represent the ideals of the December 1989 Revolution, put an end to one regime and the cornerstone for another. And because any new society needs a new head law, the priority of 1990-1991 was the adoption of a new Constitution, which underwent one revision in 2003 and several failed attempts since then. The revision was prompted by the need to enshrine in the Constitution the necessary rules to achieve the process of integration into the European Union, in which our country was fully involved.
2. Administrative litigation
The first institution to which we turn is administrative litigation, to which the original form of the Constitution devoted three articles, which had been preceded by the former Law no. 29/1990, a pre-constitutional law that imposed a process of constitutionalisation of administrative litigation, a dimension of the constitutionalisation of law as a whole, subsequently replaced by Law no. 554/2004.
3. Public and private property of the State and of the territorial administrative units.
The 1991 Constitution enshrines property in its two forms, public and private, in a way that leads to the conclusion that private property is the rule and public property the exception.
The current regulation is represented by the Administrative Code which devotes Part V of its specific rules on public and private property of the state and administrative-territorial units as well as the Civil Code approved by Law No 287/2009, Title VI Articles 858-875 as well as Article 854.
4. Public service
The regulation given by the Public Services Administrative Code was necessary because in our country we can say that the sequence of regulatory priorities has been reversed. First sectoral regulations were adopted and then a general one. Instead of concluding at this institution, we will recount one of our experiences in public life.
5. Administrative liability.
The Administrative Code, through its Part VII devoted to administrative liability, recognizes for the first time in the history of Romanian public law institutions that, until then, were exclusively evoked in doctrine and jurisprudence.
The Administrative Code identifies three forms of administrative liability: disciplinary, contraventional and pecuniary liability.

In our opinion, an administration is truly modern, European when the number of officials or dignitaries who are held accountable is as low as possible, when it does not “run” with criminal files. The reality in Romania in recent years has been the opposite of our vision, which has dangerously eroded trust in the authorities, brought it to a lamentable level, with the most negative consequences for the evolution of the rule of law and democracy in our country.
We wanted to create an essential epic of administrative law. Such a goal is an arduous task, because it is much more difficult to write a little about what you could cover in hundreds, if not thousands of pages.
The “roots” of administrative law are to be found in those “democratic traditions” referred to in Article 1(1). (3) of the Romanian Constitution. We must build on them to preserve our identity. It is in this spirit that we have built our presentation, which we also want to be a manifesto of conscience of the professor who is an enthusiast of public law, to which he has dedicated his entire professional and human destiny and who wishes to transmit, in addition to knowledge, thoughts, feelings, experiences. People need education at all ages and it cannot be limited to information. We need to form beliefs and attitudes. And public law, as “the law of the citizen”, has such a mission, of which we are aware and strive to transmit to those we train, but also to other categories of recipients of our academic and public work.

Prof. Dr. VERGINIA VEDINAȘ
Faculty of Law, University of Bucharest
Corresponding member of AOSR
President of the Institute of Administrative Sciences “Paul Negulescu”