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Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

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Issue 1, 2020 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

Editorial Comments: The Relevance of Foreign Investment Protection in International and EU Law

Foreword to Vol. 8 (2020) of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

Authors Marcel Szabó
Author's information

Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó: editor-in-chief; professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Article

The CETA Investment Court and EU External Autonomy

Did Opinion 1/17 Broaden the EU’s Room for Maneuver in External Relations?

Keywords EU investment treaties, investment arbitration, EU external relations, EU treaty-making capacity, level of protection of public policy interests
Authors Wolfgang Weiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present contribution analyzes Opinion 1/17 of the CJEU on CETA, which, in a surprisingly uncritical view of conceivable conflicts between the competences of the CETA Investment Tribunal on the one hand and those of the CJEU on the other hand, failed to raise any objections. First reactions welcomed this opinion as an extension of the EU’s room for maneuver in investment protection. The investment court system under CETA, however, is only compatible with EU law to a certain extent. This was made clear by the Court in the text of the opinion, and the restrictions identified are likely to confine the leeway for EU external contractual relations. Owing to their fundamental importance, these restrictions, inferred by the CJEU from the autonomy of the Union legal order form the core of this contribution. In what follows, the new emphasis in the CETA Opinion on the external autonomy of Union law will be analyzed first (Section 2). Subsequently, the considerations of the CJEU regarding the delimitation of its competences from those of the CETA Tribunal will be critically examined. The rather superficial analysis of the CJEU in the CETA Opinion stands in stark contrast to its approach in earlier decisions as it misjudges problems, only seemingly providing for a clear delimitation of competences (Section 3). This is followed by an exploration of the last part of the CJEU’s autonomy analysis, in which the CJEU tries to respond to the criticism of regulatory chill (Section 4). Here, by referring to the unimpeded operation of EU institutions in accordance with the EU constitutional framework, the CJEU identifies the new restrictions for investment protection mechanisms just mentioned. With this, the CJEU takes back the earlier comprehensive affirmation of the CETA Tribunal’s jurisdiction with regard to calling into question the level of protection of public interests determined by the EU legislative, which raises numerous questions about its concrete significance, consequence, and scope of application.


Wolfgang Weiss
Wolfgang Weiss: professor of law, German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer.
Article

The CETA Opinion of the CJEU

Redefining the Contours of the Autonomy of the EU Legal Order

Keywords CETA, settlement of investment disputes, autonomy of EU law, Achmea, multilateral investment court
Authors Tamás Szabados
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its Opinion 1/17, the CJEU confirmed that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA or the Agreement) entered into between Canada and the EU is compatible with EU law. In the view of the CJEU, the CETA does not have an adverse effect on the autonomy of the EU legal order; it does not violate the principle of equality, the effectiveness of EU law and the right of access to an independent tribunal. Some of the findings of the Opinion are, however, controversial. In particular, it is questionable whether the autonomy of EU law is indeed unaffected by the Agreement, because it seems that in certain situations an interpretation of EU law is hardly avoidable for the CETA Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal to make. With its Opinion, the CJEU not only lends support to similar trade and investment protection agreements, but it also paves the way for the participation of the EU in creating a multilateral investment court as long as the limits set by the CJEU are observed.


Tamás Szabados
Tamás Szabados: associate professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest.
Article

The Impact of the Achmea Ruling on Intra-EU BIT Investment Arbitration

A Hungarian Perspective

Keywords Achmea, Intra-EU BIT, investment arbitration, investment protection, Hungary
Authors Veronika Korom
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    The Achmea judgment of the CJEU brought the worlds of EU law and investment arbitration on a collision course. The judgment sent shockwaves through the EU investment arbitration community, which feared that Achmea would be the death knell of intra-EU BIT arbitration. In the years since Achmea, however, arbitral tribunals, ad hoc committees and national courts have found ways around Achmea, effectively eliminating its practical impact on intra-EU investment disputes. On 5 May 2020, the majority of EU Member States adopted a multilateral agreement that seeks to terminate intra-EU BITs and provides for a transitional regime for pending arbitrations in order to give effect to Achmea. This agreement, once ratified, will mark the end of intra-EU BIT arbitration in the future, although its impact on pending proceedings remains unclear. With its 22 intra-EU BITs and several arbitration proceedings pending under these treaties, Hungary has relied heavily (albeit unsuccessfully thus far) on Achmea in recent years as part of its defense strategy. The final termination of intra-EU BITs will be a win for Hungary in the short term, as no new investment arbitrations can be pursued by EU investors against Hungary. In the long term, however, the termination of intra-EU BITs will leave Hungarian companies who invest in the EU without sound legal protection and may even adversely impact Hungary’s standing as an attractive place for EU investment.


Veronika Korom
Veronika Korom: assistant professor of law, ESSEC Business School.
Article

Investment Arbitration and the Public Interest

Keywords BIT, ILA, ISDS, unclean hands, regulatory chill
Authors Gábor Hajdu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The study focuses on analyzing conflicts between (international) investment arbitration and the public interest, dividing its contents into five substantive sections. First, it summarizes the common characteristics of international investment arbitration (distinguishing procedural and substantive elements), followed by its most pressing issues (including frequent criticism such as lack of consistency, asymmetrical proceedings, regulatory chill, etc.). Afterwards, selected investment arbitration cases are examined, grouped based on which areas of public interest they affected (environmental protection, employee rights, public health). These cases all hold relevance and offer different insights into the workings of investment arbitration, which serve to illuminate the complex interplay between foreign investor and public interest. The cases also provide the foundation for the study’s conclusions, where key observations are made on the central subjects.


Gábor Hajdu
Gábor Hajdu: PhD student, University of Szeged.
Article

A New Aspect of the Cross-Border Acquisition of Agricultural Lands

The Inícia Case Before the ICSID

Keywords ICSID, investment law, free movement of capital, land tenure, land law
Authors János Ede Szilágyi and Tamás Andréka
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Inícia case concluded at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on 13 November 2019 shows that international arbitration institutions may have a significant role even in the EU Member States’ disputes concerning the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. Taking the regulation concerning cross-border acquisition into consideration, the last decade was extremely eventful: (i) Following the expiration of transitional periods, the new Member States were obliged to adopt new, EU law-conform national rules concerning the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. (ii) The European Commission began to generally and comprehensively assess the national land law of the new Member States. (iii) The FAO issued the Voluntary Guidelines on the ‘Responsible Governance of Tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security’ (VGGT), which is the first comprehensive, global instrument on this topic elaborated in the framework of intergovernmental negotiations. (iv) Several legal documents, which can be regarded as soft law, concerning the acquisition of agricultural lands have been issued by certain institutions of the EU; these soft law documents at EU level are as rare as the VGGT at international level. (v) The EU initiated numerous international investment treaties, regulations of which also affect numerous aspects of the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands. (vi) The Brexit and its effect on the cross-border acquisition of agricultural lands is also an open issue. Taking the above-mentioned development into consideration, the Inícia case may have a significant role in the future of the cross-border transaction among EU Member States and beyond.


János Ede Szilágyi
János Ede Szilágyi: professor of law, University of Miskolc; director, Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7938-6860.

Tamás Andréka
Tamás Andréka: head of Department for Legislation, Ministry of Agriculture; PhD student, University of Miskolc.
Article

The Treaty of Trianon Imposed Upon Hungary

Objectives and Considerations From the Hungarian Perspective

Keywords Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, World War I, 1920, Hungarian Peace Delegation, Trianon Peace Treaty
Authors Gábor Hollósi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Historians outside of Hungary often emphasize that the post-World War I peace conference did not erase the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy from the map. The Peace Conference merely confirmed the decision previously made by the peoples of Central Europe over the Monarchy. But is it really true that the issue of nationality and the self-determination of the peoples were the forces that tore the Monarchy apart? And was the Hungarian national tragedy of the newly drawn borders due to the irresponsible policies of Prime Minister Mihály Károlyi and the reckless policy of the Hungarian Soviet Republic? In the following paper I express the view that the fate of the Monarchy was primarily determined by the (fundamentally) changed role of the Monarchy in the European status quo, and contend that the issue pertaining to the establishment of Hungary’s new frontiers was determined by the overwhelming military might of the opposing forces.


Gábor Hollósi
Gábor Hollósi: senior research fellow, VERITAS Research Institute and Archives, Budapest.
Article

Hungarian Territorial Changes and Nationality Issues Following World War I

Keywords nationality, state succession, right of option, rights of citizenship in a commune, Trianon Peace Treaty
Authors Mónika Ganczer
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the aftermath of World War I, Hungary had to relinquish approximately two-thirds of its former territory and over half of its population under the terms of the Trianon Peace Treaty of 4 June 1920. This inevitably brought about a change in the nationality of persons pertaining to territories transferred to other states. However, the interpretation and implementation of articles concerning nationality were highly ambiguous. For example, the rights of citizenship in a commune, the so-called pertinenza, was not defined in the peace treaty, although the determination of affected persons and beneficiaries of the right of option was explicitly based on that particular criterion. Hence, the fate of these individuals largely depended on the domestic legal regulation and the subjective treaty interpretations of successor states. The application of treaty provisions was not always in conformity with the text, which sometimes proved advantageous, other times disadvantageous for the affected persons. This study seeks to explore the theoretical background, the past and present interpretation, the practical application and the judicial treatment of articles concerning nationality in the Trianon Peace Treaty. The paper also exposes the major problems and shortcomings of the Treaty and makes suggestions for an appropriate wording and adequate interpretation of relevant treaty provisions. Furthermore, in order to provide a full picture of how territorial changes following World War I affected the nationality of millions of individuals, the study takes into consideration other contemporary international instruments with a bearing on the change of nationality or its consequences.


Mónika Ganczer
Mónika Ganczer: associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr; research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest.
Article

The Temporal Effect and the Continuance in Force of the Treaty of Trianon

A Hundred Years Later

Keywords peace treaties, Trianon Peace Treaty, termination of treaties, temporal effect of international treaties, law of international treaties
Authors Norbert Tóth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty ended World War I between Hungary and its belligerents. Nonetheless, one hundred years have passed since then, yet this peace treaty is still unsettling to many, causing misbelief, hatred, anger and misunderstanding both in Hungary and its neighboring countries. To unearth the temporal aspects of the Trianon Peace Treaty, more precisely, to identify exactly what obligations remain in force following this rather hectic century, it is indispensable to study the temporal effect of this agreement. The present article aims at arriving at a conclusion in relation to several misbeliefs held with respect to the Trianon Peace Treaty as well as the issue of its termination.


Norbert Tóth
Norbert Tóth: associate professor of law, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
Article

The ECtHR on Constitutional Complaint as Effective Remedy in the Hungarian Legal Order

Keywords ECHR, Constitutional Court of Hungary, constitutional complaint, exhaustion of domestic remedies, subsidiarity
Authors Péter Paczolay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since 2012 a new regulation of the constitutional complaint was introduced to the Hungarian legal system that since then also includes the full constitutional complaint against final court decisions. Besides this new remedy , two other exist: a complaint against a legal provision applied in court proceedings (in force since 1990), and an exceptional form of the complaint against a legal provision, when there are no real and effective remedies available. Before 2012 the ECtHR did not consider the constitutional complaint to be an effective domestic remedy that needs to be exhausted. In two decisions taken in 2018 and 2019 the ECtHR declared that – under the respective conditions and circumstances – all three kinds of constitutional complaints may offer an effective remedy to the applicants at domestic level. The case note presents the two cases summarizing the main arguments of the ECtHR that led to this conclusion.


Péter Paczolay
Péter Paczolay: professor of law, University of Szeged; judge, ECtHR.
Article

The ECtHR’s Grand Chamber Judgment in Ilias and Ahmed Versus Hungary: A Practical and Realistic Approach

Can This Paradigm Shift Lead the Reform of the Common European Asylum System?

Keywords ECHR, Hungarian transit zone, deprivation of liberty, concept of safe third country, Common European Asylum System
Authors Ágnes Töttős
AbstractAuthor's information

    The judgment of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary reflected a big turn of the ECtHR towards a practical and realistic approach. Although the Grand Chamber found that Hungary by choosing to use inadmissibility grounds and expel the applicants to Serbia failed to carry out a thorough assessment of the Serbian asylum system, including the risk of summary removal, contrary to the Chamber it found that a confinement of 23 days in 2015 did not constitute a de facto deprivation of liberty. This paradigm shift is already visible in further decisions of the Court, and it could even serve as a basis for a new direction when reforming the Common European Asylum System.


Ágnes Töttős
Ágnes Töttős: lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; JHA counselor responsible for migration and asylum issues at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, Brussels.
Article

The Case Between Urgenda and the State of the Netherlands

Keywords climate change, public interest litigation, human rights, ECHR, Netherlands
Authors Otto Spijkers
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    The Supreme Court of the Netherlands held that the Netherlands’ Government must ensure that, by the end of 2020, greenhouse gas emission levels from the Netherlands are at least a quarter below 1990 levels, otherwise the rights to life and wellbeing, as guaranteed under Articles 2 and 8 ECHR respectively, of the people in the Netherlands are breached. In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed the reasoning and ruling of the Appeals Court, and distanced itself from the reasoning of the District Court, which was primarily based on domestic tort law.


Otto Spijkers
Otto Spijkers: professor of law, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies (CIBOS) of Wuhan University.
Article

Urgenda to Be Followed

Will the Courts Be the Last Resort to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change?

Keywords climate change, Urgenda, Paris Agreement, effort sharing, IPCC
Authors András Huszár
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    The fight against climate change has reached new battlegrounds. National courts have become the stage where individuals and communities are trying to force Governments or other public and private legal entities to do more. After more than four years of legal battle, the Dutch Supreme Court has settled perhaps one of the most well-known climate cases in literature so far: Urgenda Foundation v. the State of the Netherlands. The essence of the judgment is that the Dutch Government was ordered to comply with the greenhouse gas emission reduction target deemed necessary by the international community. The way in which the Court has arrived at this conclusion in terms of the concrete obligation is questionable. While the ruling is based on various legal bases, the present article examines solely the arguments derived from international climate law and science. To that end it elaborates on the challenges of establishing the substance of a legally binding obligation for individual states concerning mitigation, it analyzes the nature of joint mitigation efforts, it looks at reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used as evidence in court procedures, and finally, it explores the possible future of climate litigation in light of the legally binding ‘ultimate’ goal of climate policy introduced by the Paris Agreement.


András Huszár
András Huszár: PhD student, National University of Public Service, Budapest; founder and director, Green Policy Center.
Article

The Development of Human Rights Diplomacy Since the Establishment of the UN

More Actors, More Efficiency?

Keywords human rights, diplomacy, international organizations, NGOs, corporate social responsibility
Authors István Lakatos
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    This study gives a comprehensive picture of the development of human rights diplomacy since the establishment of the UN, focusing on the dilemmas governments are facing regarding their human-rights-related decisions and demonstrating the changes that occurred during the post-Cold War period, both in respect of the tools and participants in this field. Special attention is given to the role of international organizations, and in particular to the UN in this process, and the new human rights challenges the international community must address in order to maintain the relevance of human rights diplomacy.


István Lakatos
István Lakatos: career diplomat, former human rights ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, currently senior adviser of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro.
Article

Law and Identity in the European Integration

Keywords hierarchy of norms, heterarchy, rule of law, identity, culture
Authors János Martonyi
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    The success of the European integration depends, to a large extent, on restoring the equilibrium amongst its various dimensions: the economic, the political and the cultural. This rebalancing should primarily focus on upgrading the hitherto relatively neglected cultural dimension of the European construct, as a basis of European identity. Since law is not only an instrument, but a core element of European identity, rule of law, should be respected on the international, European and national level. The traditional strict, ‘Kelsenian’ hierarchy of legal norms has been substantially loosened, primarily, but not exclusively due to the emergence of European law. The geometric order of legal norms has become heterarchic and the neat ranking of the different levels as well as the absolute primacy based upon that ranking has been questioned. This applies equally to the relationship between international law and European law and between European law and the national laws of the Member States. Both the principle of the autonomy of European, law and the constitutional identity of the Member States aim at protecting the core principles of European law, and the laws of the Member States, respectively. The rule of law does not necessarily presuppose a neat geometric hierarchy of legal norms. It does require, however, an orderly structure, where the precise areas of the autonomy of EU law, as well of the constitutional identity of Member States are defined in a clear and foreseeable manner. While a perfect order can never be established, legal certainty and ultimately, rule of law could be substantially reinforced through mutual empathy and understanding as well as continuous and effective dialogue, consultation and concentration between the various levels of legislation and, in particular, of adjudication.


János Martonyi
János Martonyi: professor emeritus, University of Szeged; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary (1998-2002 and 2010-2014).
Article

The Elusive Quest for Digital Exhaustion in the US and the EU

The CJEU’s Tom Kabinet Ruling a Milestone or Millstone for Legal Evolution?

Keywords digital exhaustion, Tom Kabinet, UsedSoft, ReDigi, copyright law
Authors Shubha Ghosh and Péter Mezei
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU published its much-awaited preliminary ruling in Case C-263/18 - Nederlands Uitgeversverbond and Groep Algemene Uitgevers (the Tom Kabinet case) in December 2019. Our paper aims to introduce the Tom Kabinet ruling and discuss its direct and indirect consequences in copyright law. The Tom Kabinet ruling has seriously limited (in fact, outruled) the resale of lawfully acquired e-books. It left various questions unanswered, and thus missed the opportunity to provide for clarity and consistency in digital copyright law. Our analysis addresses how the CJEU deferred from its own logic developed in the UsedSoft decision on the resale of lawfully acquired computer programs, and how the CJEU’s conservative approach ultimately missed the opportunity to reach a compromise ruling. The paper further introduces the US approach that has a strong distinction between selling and making with respect to the research of exhaustion. We aim to trace how this distinction rests on the statutory basis for exhaustion (in copyright) and common law basis (in patent and trademark law) and compare these findings with the CJEU’s recent interpretation of exhaustion. Our focus will be on the Supreme Court’s decisions in Kirstaeng and Bowman and lower court decisions that examine technological solutions to facilitate resale. We examine how the US approach adopts a rigid approach that might inhibit technological development in digital markets, an approach with parallels in the Tom Kabinet ruling. In conclusion, we assess whether there is convergence between the two sides of the Atlantic or whether there is a path of innovative legal development that reconciles the various precedents.


Shubha Ghosh
Shubha Ghosh: Crandall Melvin professor of law, Syracuse University, US.

Péter Mezei
Péter Mezei: associate professor of law, University of Szeged; adjunct professor (dosentti), University of Turku, Finland.
Article

Challenges Arising From the Multi-Level Character of EU Citizenship

The Legal Analysis of the Delvigne and Tjebbes Cases

Keywords Union citizenship, supranational status, voting rights in the European Parliament elections, dual citizenship, loss of citizenship
Authors Laura Gyeney
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies on the relationship between EU citizenship and Member State legal orders speak either of the loss of control over national sovereignty or, on the contrary, the judicial deconstruction of Union citizenship. These firm positions on how EU citizenship should be perceived fit well with the two markedly different mindsets represented in legal literature: while representatives of the federalist view envision a politically integrated, supranational community behind the treaty provisions on EU citizenship, sovereignists oppose the extension of EU powers via judicial interpretation tooth and nail. This study aims to find an answer to the question whether the CJEU, in its latest judgments on EU citizenship issues, has succeeded in consolidating the constitutional basis of EU citizenship in a way that is reassuring for Member States, i.e. by respecting the principle of conferral. In this respect, it may be established that in both cases analyzed below, such as the Delvigne and Tjebbes cases, the CJEU made well-balanced decisions keeping EU as well as Member State interests in mind, which, although has brought no substantial progress in the process of recognizing EU citizenship as an autonomous status, makes efforts to consolidate the fundamental characteristic thereof.


Laura Gyeney
Laura Gyeney: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

European Citizens’ Initiatives for the Protection and Promotion of Rights and Interests of National Minorities

Latest Developments

Keywords European Citizens’ Initiative, national minorities, Minority SafePack, cohesion policy, participatory democracy
Authors Balázs Tárnok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines the latest developments in the two minority-related European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI), the Minority SafePack Initiative and the Cohesion Policy Initiative (ECI on National Minority Regions). A key theoretical question of this paper is whether the ECI can be seen as an effective tool for the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of national minorities in the EU. The paper presents the most recent judgments of the General Court and the CJEU related to these ECIs. The Courts made important statements in terms of the admissibility criteria of ECIs, as well the possibility to propose EU legislation aiming to increase the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities. The paper also investigates the experiences of the signature collection campaign of the Cohesion Policy Initiative and the current status of the Minority SafePack Initiative in the examination phase. Finally, the paper aims to set up a prognosis on the future of these ECIs, taking into consideration the Commission’s latest proposal on the extension of the ECI deadlines.


Balázs Tárnok
Balázs Tárnok: junior research fellow, National University of Public Service, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Budapest; PhD candidate, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Participation in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Member States’ Autonomous Decision or an Obligation?

Keywords European Public Prosecutor’s Office, EPPO, OLAF, European criminal law, Eurojust
Authors Ádám Békés
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of the present study is to examine recent developments concerning the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), focusing on the conflict between the EU and the Member States not participating in the enhanced cooperation setting up the Prosecutor’s Office. To provide an overall picture about EPPO’s future operational relations, the study first presents the EPPO’s future cooperation with other EU bodies and draws some critical conclusions. Based on these reflections, the study aims to discuss the EU’s alleged intention and strategy to cope with and solve the problem of non-participating Member States, assessing the probable role of the Prosecutor’s Office and other related EU bodies, institutions and legal measures in this struggle, while also considering recent declarations of the leaders of EU institutions.


Ádám Békés
Ádám Békés: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; attorney-at-law.
Article

National Courts and the Enforcement of EU Law

Hungarian Experiences

Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, supremacy, mutual trust, constitutional identity, preliminary ruling
Authors András Osztovits and András Zs. Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present study was originally meant for the FIDE XXIX Congress, which provided an excellent opportunity to review how the acquis communautaire has been implemented by ordinary courts as well as the Constitutional Court of Hungary since the country’s accession to the EU. As it is widely known, national courts play a key role in enforcing rights and obligations under EU law, so that the application of EU law remains uniform in all the Member States, in compliance with the jurisprudence of the CJEU. On the other hand, national constitutional courts must take a position more frequently and emphatically on issues related to national sovereignty: in defining what comes within the scope of the EU’s legislative competence and what remains under the control of national constitutional and legislative power. The relationship between national ordinary courts, constitutional courts and the CJEU, as well as the national implementation of Luxembourg case-law may be analyzed in a variety of ways and from different perspectives. The main principles governing EU law (such as direct effect, supremacy, mutual trust) have been developed in increasing detail over the years. Since their effect and practical consequences are outstanding, in what follows, we are shall explore these issues first in the light of Hungarian case-law. In the context of the principle of mutual trust, the discussion surrounding the independence of national courts is gaining impetus. Therefore, we will also touch upon this issue in our study. Finally, as far as the issue of effective enforcement of EU law is concerned, we shall present the Hungarian experience related to the preliminary ruling procedure, which is the most important element linking the CJEU and national courts. In this respect, we approach the issue from the domestic angle, focusing primarily on how exceptions to the obligation to submit a request for preliminary ruling have been clarified on the basis of the guidelines of the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court of Hungary.


András Osztovits
András Osztovits: professor of law, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest; judge, Curia of Hungary, Budapest.

András Zs. Varga
András Zs. Varga: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Article

The Protection of the Right to Local Self-Government in the Practice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court

Keywords right to local self-government, protected powers, European Charter of Local Self-Government, Hungary, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Ádám Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    A specific trait of local self-governments is that they exercise public power, while public power is also exercised against them. This means that those functions and powers that are obligations on the side of local self-governments, can be construed as rights against central public bodies. For this reason, the protection of the right to local self-government is a priority. The Charter of Local Self-Government takes the view that the autonomy of local self-governments shall be guaranteed against central public bodies. It is necessary to establish a legal framework which ensures that strong central public bodies cannot enforce their own political or professional preferences against the will of local communities with different political or professional beliefs. In my opinion, the central issue, also in Hungary, is that local self-governments are entitled to the protection of the Constitutional Court. Decision No. 3311/2019. (XI. 21.) AB sets out that local self-governments are entitled to turn to the Constitutional Court in their own right by submitting a constitutional complaint if the law violates their rights guaranteed in the Fundamental Law (including powers enshrined in the Fundamental Law). While the decision is still very recent, nevertheless, thanks to its local self-governments may expect the substantive review of their petitions by the Constitutional Court in the future.


Ádám Varga
Ádám Varga: visiting lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; assistant lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Case Notes

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Protection of Groundwater

Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Keywords environmental impact assessment, precautionary principle, non-derogation principle, Constitutional Court of Hungary, groundwater
Authors Gábor Kecskés
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 28 August 2018, the Constitutional Court of Hungary delivered a milestone decision [Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB] in relation to the protection of groundwater with reference to the general protection of the environment as a constitutionally protected value. The President of the Republic pointed out in his petition to the Constitutional Court that two sections of the draft legislation are contrary to the Fundamental Law by violating Articles B(1), P(1) and XXI(1) of the Fundamental Law by permitting water abstraction with much lower standards. Adopted by the majority along with concurring and dissenting opinions, the decision is an important judicial achievement in the general framework of constitutional water and environmental protection. It also confirms the non-derogation principle elaborated by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court had the opportunity and an ‘open mind’ to take into consideration numerous sources of scientific professional evidence on the stock of water and groundwater abstraction. The decision was acclaimed for its environmental orientation, and even more, for developing the 25-year old standards of constitutional review in environmental matters by elaborating on the implicit substance of several articles enshrined in the new Fundamental Law (e.g. Articles P and XXI).


Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecské: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.
Case Notes

Practical Questions Concerning the Relationship Between a Member State’s Constitution, EU Law and the Case-Law of the CJEU

Decision No. 2/2019. (III. 5.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, constitutional dialogue, non-refoulement, right to asylum, EU law and national law
Authors Marcel Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2018, the Hungarian Parliament amended the Fundamental Law, which, among others, contains the principle of non-refoulement, and stipulated at constitutional level that “a non-Hungarian national shall not be entitled to asylum if he or she arrived in the territory of Hungary through any country where he or she was not persecuted or directly threatened with persecution.” Partly due to this new provision of the Fundamental Law and partly based on other Hungarian laws, the European Commission initiated an infringement procedure against Hungary. According to the Hungarian Government, in this procedure the Commission misinterprets the Fundamental Law, therefore (inter alia) the authentic interpretation of this provision was requested from the Constitutional Court. In its Decision No. 2/2019. (III. 5.) AB, the Constitutional Court did not only interpret the provision in question, but it also elaborated on certain matters regarding its own competence in relation to EU law, as well as making relevant findings also in relation to Hungary’s constitution and the interpretation thereof in accordance with the EU law, based on the doctrine of ‘constitutional dialogue’. In this paper, I analyze this decision of the Constitutional Court in detail.


Marcel Szabó
Marcel Szabó: professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Case Notes

Limitations of the Physical Expression of Opinion

Decision No. 14/2019. (IV. 17.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Keywords freedom of expression, expression of opinion, Constitutional Court of Hungary, political freedom, conflict between fundamental rights
Authors Gábor Kurunczi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present case note tries to answer the question whether Article IX of the Fundamental Law of Hungary protects the physical expression of opinion, by analyzing the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court. The protection of freedom of expression has been a priority for the Constitutional Court from the outset. In the 21st century, however, as far as freedom of expression is concerned, it is not enough for the Constitutional Court to rely solely on doctrines. Increasingly, courts are faced with cases where those expressing their opinion do not express their message in words, but in a physical way. And these acts (e.g. dousing a statue with paint or just painting a crack in a sidewalk in four colors) are very often in conflict with other fundamental rights (e.g. with the right to property), raising the question of the illegality of the action expressing the opinion. In 2019, the Constitutional Court dealt with three such cases. This case note analyzes the Decision No. 14/2019. (IV. 17.) AB of the Constitutional Court. In essence, the Constitutional Court had to answer three questions: (i) What are the criteria for deciding whether an act can be included in the constitutionally protected scope of freedom of expression (and how are the actions of the petitioners to be judged)? (ii) If an act can be included within the constitutionally protected scope of expression, how to balance it with other fundamental rights, in particular to the right to property? (iii) Where are the boundaries between constitutionally protected expressions and criminal acts? The aim of the present case note is to raise some new aspects to allow for further reflection on the topic.


Gábor Kurunczi
Gábor Kurunczi: visiting lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; senior lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
Conference Reports

Anniversary Conference on the Occasion of the 80th Birthday of János Bruhács

Report on the ‘Anniversary Conference on the Occasion of the 80th Birthday of János Bruhács’ Organized by University of Pécs, 4 October 2019, Pécs

Keywords conference report, János Bruhács, humanitarian law, environmental law, fragmentation
Authors Ágoston Mohay and István Szijártó
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 4 October 2019, the Department of International and European Law at University of Pécs, Faculty of Law organized an anniversary conference to celebrate the 80th birthday of professor emeritus János Bruhács. The conference held in Pécs brought together speakers representing universities and research institutions from all over Hungary. The four sections of the conference dealt with topics ranging from international humanitarian law to international environmental law and the question of fragmentation of the international legal order. The organizers sought to address issues, which represented important fields of research in the works of Professor Bruhács.


Ágoston Mohay
Ágoston Mohay: associate professor of law, University of Pécs.

István Szijártó
István Szijártó: law student, University of Pécs.
Literature Review

The 2019 Henry Wheaton Prize

An Introduction to Katalin Sulyok’s Award-Winning PhD Dissertation

Keywords Henry Wheaton prize, environmental disputes, scientific argument, judicial interaction, burden of proof
Authors Gabriella Szamek
AbstractAuthor's information

    Katalin Sulyok, senior lecturer at ELTE Law School, Department of International Law was awarded the Henry Wheaton Prize by the Institut de Droit International in 2019; this prize is awarded by an international jury to the best English, German, French, Italian or Spanish language PhD dissertation in the field of international environmental law. This article presents and evaluates the major findings of the award-winning dissertation entitled ‘Scientific Engagement of International Courts and Tribunals in Environmental Disputes – Science and the Legitimacy of Adjudicatory Reasoning’.


Gabriella Szamek
Gabriella Szamek: chief legal advisor, Secretariat of the Ombudsman for Future Generations, Budapest.

Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecskés: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.
Literature Review

László Fodor, A falu füstje (Book Review)

Gondolat, Budapest, 2019, 480 p, ISBN 978-963-693-364-7

Authors István Hoffman
Author's information

István Hoffman
István Hoffman: professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; professor of university, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin.
Literature Review

András Koltay, New Media and Freedom of Expression: Rethinking the Constitutional Foundations of the Public Sphere (Book Review)

Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2019, 224 p, ISBN 978-1-50991-649-8

Authors Anett Pogácsás
Author's information

Anett Pogácsás
Anett Pogácsás: senior lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; member of the Hungarian Council of Copyright Experts.
Literature Review

Csongor István Nagy, Collective Actions in Europe. A Comparative, Economic and Transsystemic Analysis (Book Review)

Springer, 2019, 132 p, ISBN 978-3-030-24221-3, ISBN 978-3-030-24222-0 (eBook)

Authors András Tóth
Author's information

András Tóth
András Tóth: professor of law, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest; Chairman of the Competition Council, Hungarian Competition Authority.