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Developments in International Law

The Sudita Keita Versus Hungary Ruling of the ECtHR and the Right to Private Life of Stateless Persons

A Long Saga Comes to an End

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords EctHR, stateless persons, right to private and family life, positive obligations of States, 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
Authors Tamás Molnár
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the case of Sudita Keita v Hungary, the ECtHR handed down a key judgment relating to statelessness. In the ruling of 12 May 2020, the ECtHR unanimously found that Hungary’s failure to ensure stability of residence for the stateless applicant for roughly 15 years amounted to a violation of his right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR). This ruling follows in the footsteps of an earlier and similar Strasbourg judgment (Hoti v Croatia), and substantiates the jurisprudential line which provides protection to stateless individuals with unsettled status using the forcefield of Article 8 ECHR. The Sudita Keita case before the ECtHR was the final chapter in a long-lasting saga that had commenced before domestic authorities and courts in Hungary, at various instances, also with the involvement of the Constitutional Court.


Tamás Molnár
Tamás Molnár: legal research officer, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna; visiting lecturer of international (migration) law, Corvinus University of Budapest.
Case Notes

The Afterlife of the Relocation of Judicial Cases

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords right to a lawful judge, National Judicial Council, relocation of judicial cases, reasonable time, length of proceedings
Authors Ágnes Czine
AbstractAuthor's information

    The requirement of an independent and impartial tribunal established by law is set out in Article 6(1) ECHR and Article XXVIII(1) of the Fundamental Law of Hungary. The elements of the definition of the right to a fair trial are closely tied to the requirement of judicial independence, impartiality and a court established by law. These guarantees’ purpose is to ensure that the applicant receive a judgment that is not prejudged by other branches of power, such as the influence of the executive, or the arbitrariness of the judiciary. This important human and fundamental rights requirement is monitored by bodies dedicated to the protection of democratic institutions. According to the laws of Hungary, lawsuits may be transferred to another court by the National Office for the Judiciary in order to reduce the workload. This solution has received strong international attention and scrutiny. Although these are actually not in force, they still have repercussions, which must be dealt with by the Constitutional Court. This article seeks to provide insight into the constitutional afterlife of this system of reallocation.


Ágnes Czine
Ágnes Czine: justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest; associate professor of law, and acting rector, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Budapest.
Hungarian State Practice

The Public Trust Doctrine, the Non-Derogation Principle and the Protection of Future Generations

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Review of the Forest Act

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords public trust, non-derogation, Article P, Constitutional Court of Hungary, future generations
Authors Katalin Sulyok
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article analyzes the doctrinal findings of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with respect to the constitutional protection afforded to future generations in the Fundamental Law. It focuses on Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB in which the Constitutional Court abolished an amendment to the Forest Act for infringing the right to a healthy environment and the environmental interests of future generations as enshrined in Article P of the Fundamental Law. On this occasion, the Constitutional Court for the first time explicitly recognized that Article P embodies the public trust doctrine; and stressed that it confers fiduciary duties on the State to act as a trustee over the natural heritage of the nation for the benefit of future generations, which limits the executive’s discretion to exploit and regulate such resources. This article puts the Hungarian constitutional public trust in a comparative perspective by exploring the origins, role and functioning of similar constitutional public trust provisions in other jurisdictions. This is followed by setting out the normative principles derived by the Hungarian Constitutional Court in its previous practice from Article P, such as the non-derogation principle, the principle of inter-generational equity, the imperative of long-term planning, economical use of resources and the precautionary principle. The article then sets out the legal bases featured in the ex post constitutional challenge brought against the amendment of the Forest Act by the Ombudsman, and the Constitutional Court’s reasoning. It concludes with offering some wider lessons for the judicial enforcement of long-term environmental goals vis-á-vis short-term economic private interests.


Katalin Sulyok
Katalin Sulyok: senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; chief legal advisor, Office of the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations, Budapest.
Developments in European Law

The First Ever Ultra Vires Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court: PSPP

Will the Barking Dog Bite More Than Once?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords judicial dialogue, ultra vires, PSPP, German Federal Constitutional Court, infringement procedure
Authors Robert Böttner
AbstractAuthor's information

    In May 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) delivered its judgment in the PSPP case. At first it seemed that it would be a remake of the Gauweiler/OMT case between the German Court and the CJEU. Shockingly, however, the German FCC decided that not only had the ECB acted ultra vires by failing to duly justify its PSPP decision, but it also found the CJEU to have delivered an incomprehensible and objectively arbitrary judgment by which the German Court was not bound. This case note not only traces the history of the PSPP proceedings, but it also tries to review the heavy criticism that the FCC’s verdict has garnered. In the context of European integration and due to the German FCC’s authority among supreme courts in Europe, it is a dangerous precedent, that the European Commission tries to curb through infringement proceedings. One can only hope that it will be settled for good and shall remain an unfortunate but singular incident.


Robert Böttner
Robert Böttner: assistant professor of law, University of Erfurt.
Case Notes

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

Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords public trust, non-derogation, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Article P, future generations
Authors Attila Pánovics
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its decision delivered on 15 June 2020, the Hungarian Constitutional Court stated that several provisions of the 2017 amendment of the Act XXXVII of 2009 on Forest, Forest Protection and Forest Management are unconstitutional. The case was also an opportunity for the Constitutional Court to adopt another milestone decision on the interpretation and application of the environment-related provisions of the Fundamental Law and the “non-derogation principle”. The progressive decision of the Constitutional Court entrusts the Hungarian State with trustee duties. The present Case Note is an analysis of Decision No. 14/2020. (VII. 6.) AB of the Constitutional Court.


Attila Pánovics
Attila Pánovics: senior lecturer, University of Pécs.
Review of Hungarian Scholarly Literature

Viktor Luszcz, European Court Procedure: A Practical Guide (Book Review)

Bloomsbury-Hart, Oxford, 2020, 730 p, ISBN 978-1-50990-091-6

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Authors Petra Lea Láncos
Author's information

Petra Lea Láncos
Petra Lea Láncos: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Review of Hungarian Scholarly Literature

Tamás Molnár, The Interplay Between the EU’s Return Acquis and International Law (Book Review)

Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2021, 272 p, ISBN 978-1-83910-522-7

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Authors Izabella Majcher
Author's information

Izabella Majcher
Izabella Majcher: senior legal officer, European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Brussels.
Case Notes

Can a Two-Tailed Dog Be Allowed Into the Polling Booth?

The Case of Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt Versus Hungary Before the ECtHR

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords freedom of speech, elections, ECtHR, democracy, secrecy of votes
Authors János Tamás Papp
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Hungarian satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party (Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt – MKKP) applied to the ECtHR as a result of the decisions rendered by the Hungarian National Electoral Commission, the Curia of Hungary and the Constitutional Court, who ruled that a mobile application developed by the party allowing anonymous users to share their invalid votes violated Hungarian election law. By 16 votes to 1, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ruled that the Hungarian authorities had violated the Article of the ECHR on freedom of expression. According to the ECtHR’s reasoning, the severe uncertainties about the possible consequences of the legal provisions applied by the domestic authorities went beyond what is permissible under Article 10(2) ECHR. The ECtHR has ruled that a judicial interpretation of a law’s rules does not inherently violate the requirement that laws be written in such a way that the legal implications are predictable. However, since the national law in this case provided for a case-by-case limitation on the expression of an opinion on voting, electoral bodies and national courts that interpreted and enforced these rules enjoyed an excessive amount of discretion. In conclusion, the ECtHR found that legislation restricting freedom of expression must be treated more strictly in connection with electoral procedures: it must not be in any way misleading or inconsistent.


János Tamás Papp
János Tamás Papp: PhD candidate, research fellow, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; media specialist, Institute for Media Studies of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, Budapest.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Support for Families

A Way to Tackle COVID-19 and Its Implications in Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords family, children, vulnerable groups, social protection, housing benefits, labor market
Authors Éva Gellérné Lukács
AbstractAuthor's information

    COVID-19 poses a huge challenge for families and children; their exposure to economic, social and mental hardship is considerable and is confirmed by several studies. The pandemic pushes governments to allocate resources to the economy, but it is equally important to invest in the future by supporting families and children. The article outlines general tendencies in the EU and reflects on Hungarian measures in this field. During the first, second and third waves of COVID-19, a wide range of measures were introduced in Hungary. By extending the eligibility periods of family benefits for families with small children (both social insurance contribution-based and universal benefits) approximately 40,000 families (households) were covered. During the first and second COVID-19 waves, not only did the government extend benefit eligibility, but it also announced several new or renewed measures related to cash benefits and housing for families with at least one economically active parent. During the third wave eligibility periods of family benefits have again been extended. On the other hand, the unemployment benefit system remained intact, labor market pitfalls were addressed by providing wage subsidies.


Éva Gellérné Lukács
Éva Gellérné Lukács: senior lecturer, ELTE Law School, Budapest; external expert, Kopp Mária Institute for Demography and Families, Budapest.
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