UPDATE: Performing Legal Research: the Moldovan Experience
By Mariana Harjevschi and Svetlana
Update by Mariana Harjevschi and Ecaterina Eriju
Mariana Harjevschi is the director of the Public Law Library in Chisinau, a branch of the Municipal Library "B.P.Hasdeu". She holds a Master's in Library Science and Information Assistance and a Master's in Journalism from Moldova State University. She attended training courses for law librarians granted by Constitutional Legal Policy in 1999 and 2002 (Budapest, Hungary) and 2000 (Moscow, Russia).
Svetlana Andritchi is the Chief of the Digital Information Department of the Public Law Library in Chisinau. She holds a Master's in Library Science and Information Assistance from Moldova State University, and attended "Training the Law Librarian" courses in 2002 (Latvia, Riga).
Ecaterina Erjiu is an SJD candidate at the Department of Legal Studies of Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. She holds an LLM degree from Saint Louis University (Saint Louis, USA) and worked as a lecturer at the Law Department of Moldova State University (2004-2008).
Please note that all links to legislation present the original text, no updates are included.
Published April 2012
(Previously updated on March 2010 by by Mariana Harjevschi)
See the Archive Version!
Table of Contents
The Moldovan Legal system, as any legal system, presents a dynamic and very complex body of legal materials and institutions. While a detailed examination of the Moldovan legal system would require more focus on its historical roots and development and more attention to particular regulations and legal institutions, the purpose of this article is to provide a short overview of the main legal institutions and regulations. Our goal is to provide initial information about the Moldovan legal system which can efficiently help in the legal research. The following issues are to be touched upon: the structure of the government (main authorities and separation of powers); the constitutional court and the judicial system, and classification of law sources and legal education. It should be noted that the article focuses selectively on legal information systems with no pretension of being exhaustive.
The electronic legal environment in Moldova is still developing, thus using printed resources is more accessible and still remains a reliable and accurate source for doing legal research. The present article emphasizes on major printed primary legal documents and provides an insight of secondary legal materials. All citations include legal materials written in Romanian and Russian, as no authorized translations in foreign languages are publicly available for using.
Historically, the Moldovan legal system has been categorized as a legal system in the civil law family. Geographic reasons also lead one to note that Moldova’s legal system should fall within the civil law family, mixed with Germanic features. However, during Soviet times the Moldovan legal system was adjusted to the Soviet Union’s legal norms, representing an overlap of the Soviet and Continental legal systems. Beginning with 1990, the legal system was reformed in order to harmonize it according to national historical traditions and European legal models.
On July 28, 1994, the Moldovan Parliament approved a new constitution, declaring Moldova a Republic as well as declaring its enduring neutrality. The document proclaimed that Republic of Moldova was an independent state and pronounced its commitment to democracy. Moreover, during 2003 the new Moldovan Civil Code, Penal Code, Civil Procedural Code and Penal Procedural Code were adopted, and those from Soviet times being abrogated. Accordingly, the entire legal system underwent major changes. The entire list of new Codes can be viewed here.
Currently, the judicial system is divided into three branches: ordinary Courts, Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Accordingly, appeals are examined by the Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Justice. In previous years, the Supreme Court of Justice only selectively examined judicial cases which had to pass a complex procedure; nowadays the cases that potentially can be examined by the SCJ significantly increased. This tremendously changed and expanded petitioner’s rights.
The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova represents the supreme law for the system of Moldovan legislation. No laws, other legal acts or regulations in contradiction with the provisions of the Constitution may have any legal power. Such a legal hierarchy assumes the subordination of normative acts of a lower level to normative acts of a higher level and, ultimately, to the Constitution as the normative act of the highest legal power. All constitutional amendments have to pass a prolonged and specifically defined legislative process, the Constitution’s supremacy being guaranteed by the Constitutional Court.
Constitutia Republicii Moldova [The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova] was adopted on July 29th 1994 and published in Monitorul Oficial (Official Gazette) 1st from August 12, 1994. Latest update of the Constitution was published in Monitorul Oficial 106-111/502 from 07/14/2006.
The Constitutional Court is the sole and highest authority of constitutional jurisdiction in Moldova. It is a unique judicial body, independent from the executive, legislative and judiciary branches; it deals exclusively with constitutionality issues of the law (judicial review). It consists of six judges nominated for six-year terms. Two judges are appointed by Parliament, two by the Government and two by the Magistrate Council.
The President of Moldova is the representative of the executive power with basic supervisory and guarantor functions. The President is elected by Parliament for a four year term and is eligible for re-election. In relation to the legislative branch of government, his powers include the promulgation of legislative acts and regulations, and suspension of the promulgation of legislation by requesting its re-examination. Also, the President is responsible for the nomination of the Prime Minister. Further roles include the power to conduct negotiations and conclude international treaties on behalf of the Republic of Moldova, accrediting official representatives of Moldova in other countries, and decreeing diplomatic missions abroad. In relation to the judicial branch, the main function of the President is to appoint the judges following the proposal of the Higher Magistrates Council.
The president is elected by three fifths of the votes of selected deputies from the Parliament. If any of candidates proposed do not obtain necessary quantity of votes, a second round of voting takes place between the two nominees with the highest percentages.
Additionally to the president, the executive authority is represented by the Government (the Cabinet of Ministers). The Government is the highest authority of executive branch. The role of the Government is to carry out the domestic and foreign policy of the State and to apply general control over the work of public administration. The Government structure consists of a Prime Minister, a first vice-prime-minister, vice-prime-ministers of ministries and other members as determined by organic law. The president, after consultations of parliamentary factions names a nominee for the post of prime minister. The candidate for the post of prime minister in 15-days time asks Parliament to express a vote of confidence to the program of activity and the structure of the Government. The President of Moldova, based on the vote of confidence expressed by Parliament, appoints the Government. Within three days from the date of appointment, the prime minister and the members of the Cabinet must take the oath of office, the text of which is stipulated by the Constitution.
Ministries constitute the state’s specialized agencies: Ministry of Economy , Ministry of Finances, Ministry of Transportation and Road Administration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor Social Protection and Family, Ministry of Culture , Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Information Development, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Construction and Regional Development, Ministry of Health, Ministerul Tineretului si Sportului .
The Moldovan Parliament is a unicameral assembly, considered the supreme representative authority of the people and the sole legislative body of the state. It consists of 101 members elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term, who hold the permanent professional activity. Parliament may also meet in extraordinary or special meetings at the specific request of the President of the Republic of Moldova, of the President of Parliament or of a third of the members.
Parliamentary leadership consists of a chair and two deputy chairs elected by the members of Parliament. The work of Parliament is carried out by fifteen permanent committees, which have purview in the following areas: agriculture and rural social development, crime prevention, culture and religion, ecology, the economy and the budget, foreign affairs, health and social assistance, human rights and relations among nationalities, law, legislative ethics, local administration and the local economy, public relations and the mass media, science and education, state security and military affairs, and women and family issues.
The structure, organization and functioning of the Parliament are set out by its Internal Rules. The Moldovan Parliament consists of a permanent bureau, parliamentary fractions and commissions sharing the following powers: to pass laws, decisions and motions; to declare the holding of referendums; to provide legislative interpretations and ensure the legislative unity of regulations throughout the country; to approve the main directions of the state’s internal and external policy; to approve the state’s military doctrine; to exercise parliamentary control over executive power in the ways and within the limits provided for by the Constitution; to ratify, denounce, suspend and abrogate the action of the international treaties concluded by the Republic of Moldova; to approve and control the national budget; to supervise and control the allocation of State loans, the aid granted to foreign countries, as well as to elect and nominate State officials as foreseen by law; to approve the orders, medals and awards of the Republic of Moldova; to declare partial or general mobilization of the armed forces; to declare the state of national emergency, martial law, and war; to initiate investigations and hearings concerning any matters touching upon the interests of society and to suspend the activity of local institutions of public administration under the law.
The judicial authority in Moldova is exercised through the court system, regulated by the Constitution and specific laws. According to the new legislation on the judicial system, justice is carried out by the following judicial institutions: the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal and ordinary courts. For separate categories of proceedings, specialized courts (economic, military, etc.) can operate according to the law.
The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court of law which, besides its direct jurisdictional functions, ensures the correct and unitary implementation of laws by all courts of law in Moldova. The organization and functioning of the Supreme Court of Justice is regulated by a special Law on the Supreme Court of Justice.
The official periodical published by the Supreme Court is “The Supreme Court Bulletin” (Buletinul Curtii Supreme), which appears on a monthly basis.
The Courts of Appeal are the supreme instance for ordinary ways of appeal and examine the majority of ordinary appeals in both civil and criminal cases. However, the Courts of Appeals may serve as courts of first instance for certain cases as provided by law.
The courts operate in the sectors established by Parliament under the recommendations of the Highest Magistrates Council. Extra courts may be established in some cities, villages (communes), on a case by case basis. The ordinary courts have general jurisdictions over all cases, unless otherwise is provided by the law.
The military court is part of the specialized judicial courts that administers justice, according to the law, within the military forces.
The military court administer justice concerning any cases of assault on the security of the state, the capacity to fight and defend of the military forces, as well as cases concerning the rights and freedoms of servicemen. Besides criminal cases, the military courts also consider civil cases involving military units, cases concerning claims of pecuniary damages resulting from military offences.
The Commercial Court is a specialized court and is a part of the judicial system of Moldova established to administer justice in cases deriving from economic relations between natural persons and legal entities. The economic court has the duty to safeguard the rights and legal interests of natural persons and legal entities during their entrepreneurial activity and other relations of economic nature, as well as for the correct and uniform application of the legislation in the field of the economy.
The decisions of both specialized courts can be appealed in the higher courts of common jurisdiction (Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court of Justice) which may institute specialized divisions for this purpose.
The Prosecutor's Office is an autonomous institution within the branch of judicial power which, in the limits provided by the law, defends the general interests of the society, the rule of law, and the fundamental human rights and freedoms; conducts and supervises the criminal investigation; and represents the prosecution in courts. The Prosecutor’s Office consists of the Prosecutor General and his subordinates.
The Information and Security Service is a state organ responsible for safeguarding the state security. It is coordinated by the President of the Republic of Moldova but also subject to parliamentary control.
The Police is an armed law enforcement body, component of the Ministry of Internal Affairs which ensures protection of the public safety and the interests of the society against criminal attacks. An important function of the police is to ensure the safety in the courts of law, including the security of judges and of other participants of the proceedings.
The Audit Court is the sole public authority empowered to control the formation, administration, and use of public financial resources. It is composed of seven members. The President of the Audit Court is appointed for a five year term by Parliament on proposal submitted by the President of Parliament. The Audit Court annually submits to the Parliament a report on the administration and utilization of public financial resources.
Statutory laws are created by the legislature (Parliament), which is the sole body (unicameral) endowed with the powers to pass them. The law is structured hierarchically, with the Constitution at the top, then codes and at the bottom of the hierarchy, executive laws. According to their importance and legal value, the laws are divided into three categories: constitutional, organic and ordinary.
During 1960-1990 laws were published in an official journal called Vestile Sovietului Suprem RSS Moldovenesti, issued by the supreme authority - Sovietul Suprem. After Moldova became an independent country all Moldova’s laws started to be published in Monitorul Parlamentului Republicii Moldova (1991 through July 1994). Since August 1994 till present the Official Gazette became Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, which is currently the major source of all legislative documents and is considered the major official publication. The Official Gazette is published in two parallel issues (Moldovan and Russian versions) by State Informational Agency - Moldpress and begins the numbering from August 1994. Issues are published on a base of passing a certain amount of enforced laws (ex. weekly). The following structure is characteristic for all Official Gazette issues, even it differs from one issues to another according to the legislation that was enacted:
Also includes Constitutional Court decisions and Court of Accounts.
Also includes documents of Central Electoral Commission.
Also includes acts of State Commission for National Securities, National Agency of
The entire law system is composed of the legal norms included in the enactments adopted by the Parliament. The enactments refer to laws (the three types of laws mentioned above, but also other acts which are adopted by other entities rather then the Parliament. Such pieces of legislation can only be subordinate to laws.
Codification, in civil law system, is a complex systematization and a unitary concept of legal norms that usually comprises in a unitary system the most important norms of law of several areas of legal system. All codes are published initially in the Official Gazette and all updates continue to be included correspondingly in late editions. Government agencies or state organizations or private companies can print selectively the codes, as well as in separate publications and as a rule must make references to the code published in the Official Gazette.
Codul Penal al RM. Legea RM 985-XV from 04/18/2002. In Monitorul Oficial, 128-129/1012 published on 09/13/2002. Last revision 19.12.2011
Codul Civil al RM. Legea RM 1107-XV from 06/06/2002. In Monitorul Oficial, 82-86/661 published on 22/06/2002 Last revision 21.04.2011
CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Codul de Procedura Penala al RM. Legea RM 122-XV from 03/14/2003. In Monitorul Oficial 104-110/447 published on 06/07/2003 Last revision 02.12.2011
CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
Codul de Procedura Civila al RM. Legea RM 225-XV from 05/30/2003. In Monitorul Oficial 111-115/451 published on 06/12/2003 Last revision 21.10.2011
CODE OF LAND USE
Codul Funciar al RM 828 –XII from 12/25/1991. Codul Funciar al RM, Legea RM nr.828-XII from 25.12.1991. In Monitorul Oficial nr.107/817 published on 04.09.2001. Last revision 16.07.2010
CODE OF SUBSOIL
Codul Subsolului al RM, Legea RM nr.3-XVI from 02.02.2009. In Monitorul Oficial nr.75-77/197 published on 17.04.2009. Last revision 26.03.2011
CODE OF WATER
Codul apelor al RM, Legea RM 1532-XII from 06/22/1993 In Monitorul Oficial 10/287 from 10/30/1993 Last revision 23.12.2009
CODE OF CONSTITUTIONAL JURISDICTION
Codul jurisdictiei constitutionale al RM. Legea RM 502-XIII from 06/16/1995. In Monitorul Oficial 53-54/597 from 09/28/1995 Last revision 25.11.2011
CODE OF FORESTRY
Codul silvic al RM, Legea RM 887-XIII from 06/21/1996. In Monitorul Oficial 4-5/36 from 01/16/1997 Last revision 22.07.2011
CODE OF INCOME TAX
Codul Fiscal al RM. Legea RM 1163-XIII from 04/24/997. In Monitorul Oficial, Special Edition published on 08.02.2007. Last revision 23.12.2011
CODE OF ELECTIONS
Codul electoral al RM. Legea RM 1381-XIII from 21/11/1997. In Monitorul Oficial 81/667 from 12/08/1997 Last revision 23.12.2011
CODE OF COMMERCIAL NAVY
Legea RM pentru aprobarea Codului navigatiei maritime comercial 599-XIV from 09/30/1999. In Monitorul Oficial 1-4/2 from 23.11.2011
CODE OF CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION
Codul vamal al RM. Legea RM 1149-XIV from 07/20/2000. In Monitorul Oficial 160-162/1201 from 12/23/2000 Last revision 23.12.2011
CODE OF FAMILY
Codul Familiei al RM. Legea RM 1316-XIV from 10/26/2000. In Monitorul Oficial 47-48/210 from 04/26/2001 Last revision 09.07.2010
Codul Muncii al RM. Legea RM 154-XV from 03/28/2003. In Monitorul Oficial 159-162/648 from 07/29/2003 Last revision 09.12.2011
CODE OF RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION
Codul transportului feroviar al RM. Legea RM, nr. 309-XV from 07/17/2003. In Monitorul Oficial 226-228/892 from 14.11.2003 Last revision 05.26.2005
CODE OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION
Codul cu privire la stiinta si inovare al RM. Legea RM 259-XV from 07/15/2004. In Monitorul Oficial 125-129/663 from 07/30/2004 Last revision 17.09.2010
CODE OF EXECUTION
Codul de executare al RM. Legea RM 443-XV from 12/24/2004. In Monitorul Oficial nr.214-220/704 republished on 05.11.2010. Last revision 27.08.2011
CODE OF ADMINISTRATIVE CONTRAVENTIONS
Codul Contraventional al RM, Legea RM nr.218-XVI from 24.10.2008. In Monitorul Oficial nr.3-6/15 published on 16.01.2009. Last revision 27.12.2011
Codul audiovizualului al RM, Legea RM nr.260-XVI from 27.07.2006. In Monitorul Oficial nr.131-133/679 published on 18.08.2006. Last revision 19.12.2011
AUTO TRANSPORT CODE
Codul Transportului Auto, Legea RM nr.116-XIV from 29.07.1998. In Monitorul Oficial nr.90-91/581 published on 01.10.1998. Last revision 17.06.2010
CODE OF HOUSING
Codul cu privire la locuinte al RSSM, Legea RM nr.2718-X from 03.06.1983. In Vestile nr. 6/40 published on 1983. Last revision 04.12.2009
Constitutia Republicii Moldova: comentata articol cu articol: Vol. 1: Titlul I Principii generale. (2000). Chisinau: CIVITAS
Codul Penal: Comentat si adonotat (2009). Chisinau: Sarmis
CODE OF PENAL PROCEDURE
Codul de procedura penala: Comentariu (2005). Chisinau: Cartier juridic
The Moldovan legal system, similar to other civil law countries, does not recognize legal precedent as stare decisis. However, currently the court reports are given more and more weight in the process of applying the legal rules , as it ensures a more uniform and prudent approach to the implementation of the national law.
The Constitutional Court publishes annually, the "Curtea Constitutionala: Culegere de hotariri si decizii" (Constitutional Court: "Rulings and decisions). The first volume was issued in 1998, with the reports commencing officially in 1995, February 23rd, when the Constitutional Court was founded. Court reports are compilations of judicially decided cases, decisions and reports, published simultaneously or previously in Gazette Official and are arranged according to court competencies or decisions significances. (Available online)
The following publications are issued annually with selective decisions. The content is presented according to the civil and criminal cases. (Available online)
Since 2003 (according to the law 191-XV din 08.05.2003) the judicial system was reorganized and the Court of Appeal (considered republican or national) was dissolved and five new territorial courts (Curti de Apel raionale) were institutionalized – Chisinau Court of Appeal, Balti Court of Appeal, Bender Court of Appeal, Cahul Court of Appeal, Comrat Court of Appeal and a specialized one Curtea de Apel economica (Economic Court of Appeal). No any publications were issued since 2002. (Available online)
The harmonizing process of national legislation with European standards and international human rights and in particular, by joining the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), the Moldovan case began to play an important role than before in the national jurisprudence.
More details follow the links:
Government Agent is the representative of the European Court of Human Rights. Government Agent is appointed and dismissed by the Government, proposed by the Minister of Justice.
Lawyers for Human Rights - promote international standards on human rights in Moldova, oriented mainly towards the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in Moldova. It contains the collection of all ECHR decisions pronounced against Moldova.
CEDO.md - designed by an initiative group to facilitate access to information about the European Court of Human Rights on the procedure addressing the Court.
The following printed publications include the Resolutions and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Moldovan cases.
Tratate internationale la care Republica Moldova este parte 1994 - Chisinau: MOLDPRESS – is the official publication that includes all treaties to which Moldova is a party. It has 43 volumes from 1990 till present. The publication founders are Ministerul Afacerilor Externe al RM [Ministry of External Affaires] and Ministerul de Justitie al RM [Ministry of Justice] and it is published officially by MoldPress Agency.
Typically, Law Schools, State Departments, Private Agencies and non-Governmental Organizations are major institutions that publish Law Reviews. The major distinction between them is content, scope and target audience to whom they are addressed. Accordingly it could be classified in five types of publications:
There are no other publications published by Bar Associations. The only one, that can substitute is issued by the Law Center called Avocatul Poporului, whose primary purpose is to comment on recent or pending legislation.
Concurrent with the general developments of the law, some legal journals could be named as specialized reviews: Revista de Stiinte Penale [Review of Criminal Science], Dreptul Muncii [Review on Labor Law]. The following publications are considered the most distinguished interdisciplinary journal: Revista de Filosofie si Drept.
Reviews are arranged in alphabetical order according to the Romanian language.
· Buletinul Curtii de Apel Economice si Inspectoratului Fiscal Principal de Stat de pe langa Ministerul Finantelor [Bulletin of Economic Court of Appeal and the State Fiscal Inspectorate from the Ministry of Finances] presents explanations and commentaries on the laws concerning business areas. It is a monthly supplement of the Legea si viata Review.
· Buletinul Curtii Supreme de Justitie [Bulletin of the Supreme Court of Justice] is a monthly issue published by the Ministry of Justice since 1996 in Moldovan and Russian. It appears as a supplement to Legea si viata. It provides commentary and explanations of the Supreme Court of Justice decisions and also includes randomly selected examples of civil and criminal trial cases applied within the Supreme Court of Justice from Moldova and the European Court of Justice. The Bulletin publishes entirely all normative acts and standards that regulate court activities, prosecutors and attorneys’ offices. It includes reference of national and international literature that concerns court practices. Certain issues include interviews with court officials and a public forum addresses different latest issues deliberated in Court.
· Revista de Filosofie si Drept [Review of Philosophy and Law] was founded in 1990, by Institutul de filosofie, sociologie si drept al Academiei de Stiinte (Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Legal Studies from the Academy of Science) the Revista de Filosofie si Drept is one of the nation’s few law reviews devoted exclusively to theoretical discussion of contemporary ideas on diverse law issues. It publishes three issues per year.
· Revista Institutului National al Justitiei [The Review of the National Institute of Justice] is a practical and scientific publication that appears quarterly. (Here is the online version of the review)
· Revista moldoveneasca de drept international si relatii internationale [Moldavian Journal of International Law and International Relations] published by the Institute of History, State and Law of the Academy of Sciences from Moldova . (Here is the online version of the review)
These publications include two volumes and two supplements having the update on January 1st 2002. The first volume contains an index to all statues, decisions of Parliament, Government, president Decrees, etc. Second volume encompasses an index of all Constitutional Decisions, Supreme Court Decisions and International Treaties to which Moldova is a party. The supplement contains an update version of previous issues from January 1st till May 16th 2002. The second supplement compasses an index of all laws from May-October 2002 (this issue is missing from LL).
The Moldavian legal education system comprises both state and private institutions, which include secondary (colleges) and higher professional (academies, universities) institutions.
The major state universities have law departments - Moldova State University at Chisinau, State University from Cahul, and the State University at Balti. Beside these, there are law departments or law faculties at private universities, such as Free International University of Moldova.
Students at both state and private institutions have to pass an admission test. Following the Bologna system studies last for three years for Bachelor Degree and two years for Master Degree. Students also have the possibility to graduate at full-time and part-time program at law departments. After graduations, candidates must pass an examination at the Bar Association in order to become an advocate.
Those who are striving to pursue an academic activity have a possibility to continue their education and scientific research at the postgraduate level with master’s degrees and a doctorate.
There is enormous work to be undertaken in the legal information system in Moldova; it is recognized that without well-structured legal information system adequate legal research can’t be efficiently performed. Chaotic publishing activity, mediocrity in legal content publications, obstacles regarding the access to legal information, and deficiencies and inadequacy in finding legal information on the web are the predominant vicissitudes that encompass nowadays the legal information system in Moldova. The negative impact in conducting an efficient and effective legal research is also influenced by the absence of academic law libraries, along with shortage of law librarians and trained legal information specialists.
Moldova’s laws issued by the Parliament are published weekly in the official journal called Monitorul Oficial which is printed in Romanian and Russian. Therefore the primary print resources are a government concern and their publication is handled by a State Agency. In addition to Monitorul Oficial, all codes are published separately by different publishing houses.
Statistically, a minimal amount of doctrinal legal publications are published annually; in the year 2000, the legal publishing industry development increased significantly comparing with previous years, but still could be characterized by an inherent unpredictability in publication activity, lack of uniform publication strategy and mainly a lack of specialized legal publishing houses. Occasionally ordinary publishing houses will publish legal books, but the lack of specialization hurts the overall legal communities’ research needs. As the main source for collection development is the Romanian and Russian publishing market, this from a practical legal point of view doesn’t express usefulness. Exceptionally the appropriateness and helpfulness can occur for comparative analysis for theoretical matters, as Romanian and Moldovan legal system are similar, but the legislation itself differs.
The major institutions for the publication of legal materials are still the universities, where the law school faculties are involved in publishing as a part of their academic responsibilities. Thus, law schools, under the undergoing policy of academic research, are publishing adequate textbooks and monographs to support legal study in the academic environment. This characteristically occurs only in certain universities where financial assistance supports the scientific research. The State Moldova University, Free International University and Police Academy are some of the best examples of where this takes place in Moldova.
Compared to textbook and monograph publications, periodicals are seen in more positive light. During the 1990s, several professional publications were offered for the legal community: in Romanian Revista de Drept, Revista de drept privat, and Russian Business i pravo, Pravo. Additionally major law schools have their own law reviews, the most common type of legal academic work - Analele Stiintifice is published annually.
Legal electronic publishing is currently evolving to meet the high standards found in the rest of Europe. Only Practica Judiciara offers access to several legal journals from Moldova and Russia.
The legal practitioner-oriented literature is much more developed and this is explained by the idea of profit making. This type of literature is published randomly by various publishers, but heavily used by the law community.
In spite of difficulties that arise, the legal publishing activity of secondary legal publications is passing an invigorating period, a range of publishing houses are striving to launch specialized collections in the law field (ex. Cartier Juridic), also legal publishing houses, as Cartea Juridica. Besides the content quality of literature the overall publishing graphic is also remarkably improving.
Unique to Moldova, there are generally no specific law libraries within law schools. Legal collections represent an integral part of the whole library collection.
Academic libraries, both public and private, have neither uniform development collection policies nor sufficient financial support. Accordingly the scarcity of resources in these particular situations hampers effective legal research. As a result, this situation negatively affects the Moldavian studying and teaching process in law field.
As mentioned before, the library collection of legal materials, especially secondary materials, is not well balanced or consistent. This situation has specific corollary: Romanian literature is appropriate for Moldavian research as both countries belong to the same civil law family even though the legislation background is different, with exception to the enacted Moldovan Civil Code, Penal Code, Civil Procedural Code and Penal Procedural Code. Russian literature is considered partially propitious because of historical similarities between legal systems, and as well as analogous with primary legal sources and their practical interpretations. It should be mentioned that major law schools which are concentrated mainly in state capitals and accordingly financially supplied still have a lack of primary and secondary legal materials.
Unfortunately in Moldova law libraries within legal offices or legal institutions are poorly developed or even worse for no existing at all. Essentially, only state legal institutions (for instance The Parliament, The Supreme Court etc.) are supplied with a library or legal information center, and only then do they include primary resources and reference books.
However, conditions may be improving. The Law School from the State University of Moldova recently opened an independent Legal Information Center, separate from the Main Library, which has a comprehensive collection, and is also equipped with computer facilities connected to legal databases.
The Parliamentary Library serves as an in-house reference library for Parliament members. The library was opened in 1978 with the mission of building a collection mainly of primary sources. Currently it contains more than 11,400 titles.
Courts traditionally own law libraries containing primary sources, while not all of them have access to legal databases.
At the beginning of the year 2000, an interest from the legal community in creating a specialized library in the field of law gave rise to the opening of a Public Law Library, with financial assistance from the Moldova Soros Foundation and Legal Institute from Budapest. The library’s mission is to ensure that necessary legal information and documents are accessible to any person interested particularly in Moldovan law - practicing lawyers, law students from different educational institutions, state institution employees and other interested persons providing them with the opportunity to not only make use of its extensive holdings of books and journals but also the on-line and local legal databases and Internet information resources accessible at the library. The library’s informational and documentary policies are based on the principle of the public library: legal information for everyone and an academic library accessible for the legal community, and its target audiences could be implied from its name – public and legal community.
Access to legal documents and data in rural areas stands in stark contrasts to the developments seen in major Moldovan cities- no law collections are offered for public.
Due to the underdeveloped legal information system, there is a shortage of legal information specialists in Moldova. The deficiency of librarians with expertise in legal research makes the process of conducting a legal research problematic. Also the development of the law library, more exactly the law collection, is in the situation of balancing the amount of books comparing with the other fields of study within the university which impacts the resources that can be devoted solely to law. Library stacks are not open to the users and tend to function in a traditional way. This, respectively, tends to negligence of the law library as an independent entity and minimizes its importance for the legal information system in general.
A significant action took place at the University Library at the International Free University. In order to facilitate legal research, a “legal and business reference librarian” was appointed. This approach is considered a relatively new concept in Moldovan librarianship.
In spite of the appeals of librarians from Moldova dealing with legal information issues, an association of law librarians has not yet formed.
The legal materials on the internet became more present. A big success in 2007 was the development of the online bilingual legal-reference system called Registrul de Stat al Actelor Juridice a Republicii Moldova that is administered by the Ministry of Justice. It was considered the basic tool of decision-making on legal questions for all legal community members. It included Moldova’s legislation and also the whole collection of international treaties.
Jurist is the official and most reliable legal fee based database concerning that only Moldovan legislation is the fee based, offered by MoldLex. It is more extensively comprehensive, as it includes also cases from the Supreme Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. Additionally it contains access to legal periodicals. It contains legal legislation since 1989, including codes and international treaties to which Moldova joined both in Romanian and Russian languages. The database includes the following information sections:
The database functions in parallel as an archive of the past laws and updated versions of legal documents. Also each legal act includes the list of laws that affects or making brings changes. The entire database is classified according to the General Legal Qualifier.
The search can be made according to the following criteria:
The Jurist database merged with Practica Judiciara that contains Moldova's judiciary practice and includes the following information sections:
The database structure and search mechanism is similar to Jurist database. The updating process is carried out in an automatic mode weekly through internet and it is accessible on payment base.