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Article

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

A Hundred Years Later

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
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 Protection of the Right to Local Self-Government in the Practice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
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

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
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.
Article

National Courts and the Enforcement of EU Law

Hungarian Experiences

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
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

Language and Gender

The Importance of Including a Gender Perspective in the Language of the Constitutional Reform in Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords language, gender, Constitution, reform, Spain
Authors Ana Marrades
AbstractAuthor's information

    Language is a reflection of culture, and at the same time it helps to build that culture. In the same way, it can be used to transform it. Language serves for describing a culture, to show what we see, but at the same time, it strengthens the relationships of power that exist on the basis of male power. In this way, we can use language to build other kinds of relationships based on equality.
    The Spanish Constitution is written in the masculine. Although it is based on equality, masculine language shows that the power relations lean towards men, and this hides women’s participation. When a text or a legal message uses structures or words that hide or discriminate against one gender, it can be said that linguistic sexism exists, and this violates the principle of equality. This is a reflection about what is happening in our society because language describes cultural values. This exclusion of women in the constitutional text is in itself a denial of them as subjects of rights and as citizens. This is not only a denial of the part of power that corresponds to them, but also the consolidation of a collective story of female subordination.
    Therefore this article aims to focus on the need to carry out a revision of the Spanish Constitution in female and inclusive language that, in parallel to the recognition and guarantee of parity democracy, makes women visible as autonomous subjects. In addition, it also breaks with the male universality of the language and the monopoly of male language to define the sources of the law, as well as rights, powers, institutions, values and policies.


Ana Marrades
Senior lecturer in Constitutional law, University of Valencia.
Article

Certain Factors Influencing Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords implementation of international humanitarian law, compliance measures and mechanisms, enforcement of international humanitarian law, non-state actors, individual criminal responsibility
Authors Réka Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    There are various mechanisms within and outside the sphere of international humanitarian law (IHL) which contribute to a better application, respect and enforcement of its rules. The present study takes stock of specific factors or mechanisms that may have an effect on better respect. This analysis attempts to demonstrate that even though states could not agree on the setting up of a permanent mechanism to meet regularly and discuss IHLrelated issues (the so-called Compliance process), there are certain instruments which could lead to similar result. The UN’s role with respect to IHL is examined. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also briefly analyzed from this perspective, bearing in mind the international politics within which it has to function. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) that has successfully completed its first mandate is a string of hope if more frequently used. Soft law documents are filling a void caused by the fatigue of states in adopting new rules, at the same time they start to have a similarly binding effect as legally binding obligations. All these factors become especially interesting if we understand that most conflicts today are fought with the involvement of non-state armed groups who are not involved in law-making. This reality gives training, both within state and non-state armed forces a special significance. States should also make efforts to undertake enquiries in cases of serious violations of IHL, as well as through exercising jurisdiction to repress violations, be they their own nationals or not.


Réka Varga
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Member of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.
Article

The New Hungarian Private International Law Code

Something Old and Something New

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords private international law, codification, general part of the New Hungarian Private International Law Code, legal institutions in the New Hungarian Private International Law Code, EU private international law regulations
Authors Katalin Raffai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the adoption of Law Decree No. 13 of 1979 on Private International Law (Old Code) both the legal environment of the EU and the Hungarian legal and social background have undergone substantial changes. Without questioning its progressive character, it must be stated that the Old Code wore the imprints of the era in which it was drafted. With the fall of the socialist system, the necessary amendments were made to the system of the Old Code, accelerated by Hungary’s accession to the EU. All the above played an important role in the Government’s order to begin work on the comprehensive modernization of the Old Code. The Act XXVIII of 2017 on Private International Law (New Code) entered into force on 1 January 2018. The present study focuses on the following topics: the reasons for the revision of the Old Code, the presentation of the relationship between the New Code and EU regulations in the system of legal instruments, and the review of legal institutions in the general part, with special attention to the major changes undertaken compared to the Old Code.


Katalin Raffai
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; member of the Private International Law Codification Committee.
Article

The Precautionary Principle in the Fundamental Law of Hungary

Judicial Activism or an Inherent Fundamental Principle? An Evaluation of Constitutional Court Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB on the Protection of Groundwater

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, precautionary principle, judicial activism, Article P of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, constitutional protection of the environment
Authors Marcel Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    Acting upon the motion of the President of the Republic, the Constitutional Court of Hungary ruled in its Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB that the regulation which would have allowed establishing new wells up to the depth of 80m without a license or notification was contrary to the Fundamental Law. The Constitutional Court found in its decision that the regulation would endanger the volume and quality of underground water in a way that, considering the precautionary principle, was no longer compatible with the protection of natural resources and cultural artefacts forming the common heritage of the nation as laid down in Article P(1) of the Fundamental Law or Article XXI(1) of the same on the right to a healthy environment. It was in this decision that the Constitutional Court first outlined in detail the constitutional significance of the precautionary principle, with this principle forming the central part of the decision’s reasoning. Within the framework of this study I examine whether this decision based on the precautionary principle can be considered the ‘extraction’ of what is inherently present in the Fundamental Law or on the contrary, whether it was an activist approach imposing the principle on the Fundamental Law.


Marcel Szabó
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
Article

From Kásler to Dunai

A Brief Overview of Recent Decisions of the CJEU in Hungarian Cases Concerning Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords preliminary ruling, consumer protection, unfair terms, Directive 93/13/EEC, consumer loan contract
Authors Miklós Zoltán Fehér
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU was recently called upon to interpret Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts in relation to consumer loan contracts denominated in a foreign currency and in relation to the legislation adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in 2014 concerning such contracts in several Hungarian preliminary ruling procedures. The decisions of the CJEU, starting with the judgment rendered in case C-26/13, Kásler and Káslerné Rábai, have not only contributed to the ever-evolving case-law relating to Directive 93/13/EEC but also provided national jurisdictions with useful guidance on the interpretation and application of the Directive in the specific area of consumer loan contracts concluded in a foreign currency, an area of prolific litigation before Hungarian courts in recent years. The CJEU also evaluated the Hungarian legislation adopted in 2014 to deal with certain issues relating to such contracts and seemed to approve of its conformity with Directive 93/13/EEC in a series of decisions up until the judgment made in case C-117/18, Dunai. In that judgment, however, the findings of the CJEU may have been based on a misinterpretation of the content of national legislation, leading to a perhaps erroneous conclusion and most certainly prompting a re-emergence of controversies before national courts.


Miklós Zoltán Fehér
Head of Department at the Hungarian Ministry of Justice, Agent of the Hungarian Government before the CJEU.
Article

Conference on the Evaluation of Legislation

Report on the ‘Evaluation of Legislation’ Conference Organized by Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 3 May 2019, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Authors Noémi Suri
Author's information

Noémi Suri
Assistant professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

EUdentity – European Conference on Constitutional Identity

Report on the ‘Constitutional EUdentity 2019’ Conference Organized by the Constitutional Court of Hungary, 8 March 2019, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Authors Attila Szabó
Author's information

Attila Szabó
Chef de cabinet, Constitutional Court of Hungary.

András Zs. Varga
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; judge, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
Editorial

Editor's Note

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2018
Authors Petra Lea Láncos and Réka Varga

Petra Lea Láncos

Réka Varga
Article

The European Court of Human Rights and the Central and Eastern European States

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Case law regarding Central and Eastern Europe, ECHR, human rights, reform, European system of Human Rights
Authors András Baka
AbstractAuthor's information

    At the time of its creation and during the following 30 years, the European Court of Human Rights was a Western European institution. It was not until the sweeping political changes in 1989-1990 that the Central and Eastern European countries could join the European system of individual human rights protection. The massive and relatively rapid movement of accession of the ‘new states’ to the European Convention on Human Rights had a twofold effect. On the one hand it led to a complete reform of the human rights machinery of the Council of Europe, changing the structure and the procedure. A new, permanent and more efficient system emerged. What is even more important, the Court has had to deal with not only the traditional questions of individual human rights but under the Convention new issues were coming to the Court from applicants of the former eastern-bloc countries. On the other hand, being part of the European human rights mechanism, these countries got a chance to establish or re-establish the rule of law, they got support, legal standards and guidance on how to respect and protect individual human rights. The article addresses some of these elements. It also points out that public hopes and expectations towards the Court – especially nowadays in respect of certain countries – are sometimes too high. The Court has its limits. It has been designed to remedy certain individual injustices of democratic states following common values but cannot alone substitute seriously weakened democratic statehood.


András Baka
Former judge of the ECtHR (1991-2008); former president of the Hungarian Supreme Court.

Joao Salm
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Governors State University (USA). Contact author: jsalm@govst.edu.
Article

Codification in a Civil Law Jurisdiction: An Italian Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2017
Keywords civil law jurisdictions, codification, consolidation, legislative drafting, judicial review
Authors Enrico Albanesi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this article is to describe the mechanism of codification in a civil law jurisdiction. The case study will be based on the Italian system. The history and developments of the Italian codification will also be described here.
    In Italy codification is called riassetto, it is normally carried out by the government but the changes to existing law must be within the strict boundaries of the principles and criteria set out by the parliament. By contrast, the mechanism to amalgamate existing texts dealing with a single topic without radical changes is called consolidamento. It is carried out by the government as delegated by parliament. However, as the tools to carry out riassetto and consolidamento are the same (decreto legislativo: a decree issued by the government, which is delegated by the parliament), it is not always easy to understand when the government is allowed to carry out consolidamento only or riassetto too. Actually, how fundamentally the government is allowed to change existing legislation depends on what the principles and criteria of the enabling Act of Parliament allows.
    A decreto legislativo that is not in compliance with the principles and criteria established by the Act of Parliament, could be declared void by the Corte costituzionale (the Italian Constitutional Court). Therefore, if the government exceeds the boundaries of consolidamento or riassetto, the decreto legislativo could be declared void.
    This essay will also focus on the different drafting techniques of consolidamento and riassetto from a theoretical perspective and from the point of view of the jurisprudence of the Consiglio di Stato and the Corte costituzionale. Finally, it will look at the drafting process for codes in Italy, underlying the differences with systems where law reform agencies have been established.


Enrico Albanesi
Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Genoa (Italy) and Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), University of London. Co-leader of the IALS Law Reform Project.
Article

Codification in a Civil Law Jurisdiction: A Northern European Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2017
Keywords codification, types, civil law, legal certainty, ICT
Authors Patricia Popelier
AbstractAuthor's information

    In western civil law jurisdictions, 19th century large-scale codification projects have made way for more specific, technical operations. While several terms for various operations are used – from coordination to consolidation or recasting – they all serve to compile normative texts within one single document for the sake of clarity and legal certainty. A more fundamental distinction can be made between formal and substantial codifications, the one more technical, the other large and fundamental. Substantial law reforms are problematized in this era of multilevel governance and digitalization. Nowadays, substantial codifications are essentially non-exhaustive, inconsistent, and fragmentized. Also, they rely upon formal consolidations, and generate new formal consolidations. While formal consolidations are still treated as logistic projects, more developed ICT tools may enable their transformation into continuous processes.


Patricia Popelier
Professor Constitutional Law and Legislative Studies, University of Antwerp.
Editorial

Editor's Note

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2017
Authors Petra Lea Láncos and Réka Varga

Petra Lea Láncos

Réka Varga

Anita Rozália Nagy-Nádasdi
PhD researcher at Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences.

Eszter Bodnár
Assistant professor that the Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law.

Benedek Varsányi
Legal adviser at the Hungarian Constitutional Court.
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