A Hungarian Judge Seeks Protection from the CJEU – Part II

In 2012, Hungary introduced a unique system of judicial administration that was criticized by domestic and international actors. This criticism has been validated by events since then which have shown that the National Judicial Council, the highest collective body of judges, is practically unable to counter-balance the broad powers of the President of the National Judicial Office (NJO). This has caused tensions between judges and the judicial administration, something that was predictable in 2012 when the system was introduced and has led to what can only be described as a ‘constitutional crisis’.

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A Hungarian Judge Seeks Protection from the CJEU – Part I

For the first time, a Hungarian judge stayed proceedings to ask the CJEU preliminary questions about the independence of Hungarian courts. The questions concern the appointment of court presidents and the low salary of judges. The response of Hungarian authorities was quick: Within a week, the Prosecutor General requested the Kúria (Hungary’s Supreme Court) to review the reference with the possible effect of deterring other judges from asking similar questions.

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„No one has the right to be homeless…”

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s decision on the homelessness ban is not only devastating in terms of outcome, but also in terms of quality of the Court’s reasoning. This poor quality does not stem from the justices’ intellectual inability to adequately address the issues involved in this case, but from unacceptable political considerations spread among the members of the Court.

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Human Dignity for Good Hungarians Only

On 4 June 2019 the packed Constitutional Court of Hungary issued an astonishingly inhuman decision: The criminalization and eventual imprisonment of homeless people, the Court declared, is in line with the 2011 Fundamental Law of Hungary. According to the majority, “ (…) nobody has the right to poverty and homelessness, this condition is not part of the right to human dignity.”

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Dritte im Bunde: Für mehr Transparenz in der Partei- und Wahlkampf­finanzierung

Heinz-Christian Strache hat sich und seine FPÖ um Kopf und Kragen geredet. In dem heimlich aufgenommen Video, das den ehemaligen Parteivorsitzenden und Vizekanzler von Österreich in einer Villa auf Ibiza zeigt, schwadroniert er u.a. über einen Verein, der der FPÖ nahestehe und an den mehrere Vermögende gespendet hätten, vorbei am Rechnungshof. Der Vorgang wirft ein Schlaglicht auf Defizite der Parteien- und Wahlkampffinanzierung, nicht nur in Österreich.

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Administrative Judicial Reform in Hungary: Who Gives a Fig about Parliamentary Process?

In the past few months, the Fidesz government has been working on the reform of the administrative judiciary at full speed. The Constitutional Court recently had the opportunity to slow down the process of undermining judicial independence by invalidating the reform legislative act on the basis of procedural irregularities. Even though the law had been adopted as a result of a chaotic parliamentary vote, the justices did not find a violation of the Fundamental Law. The outcome is not surprising, as the Court cannot be accused of exercising a particularly strong control over the parliamentary legislative process in general. What is puzzling, however, is the massive amount of hypocrisy manifested in the reasoning.

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What Does the Spring Bring for the Rule of Law in Europe?

The Hungarian minister of justice requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on two bills establishing a new administrative court system in November 2018. Yet, before the Venice Commission got to have its say, the twin laws were adopted in December 2018, with the new courts expected to commence their work in January 2020.

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How to Defend the Integrity of the EP Elections against Authoritarian Member States

The elections to the European Parliament will take place in a few weeks’ time. There is a clear danger that some of the new MEPs will gain their mandates in elections organised by Member States that are not up to democratic standards. The European Parliament should try to defend itself from being infiltrated by MEPs with questionable democratic mandates. It already possesses the competence which is necessary for it, in the form of mandate validation.

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