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Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

Constitutional Rights in the Time of Pandemic

The Experience of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords state of emergency, emergency powers, restriction of fundamental rights, Fundamental Law, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors Lóránt Csink
AbstractAuthor's information

    Special circumstances may require special measures. This article is to highlight the importance of constitutional rights, also in the time of a pandemic. Its hypothesis is that constitutional rights are not luxuries one can only afford in peacetime, they are much rather at the core of civilization and democracy. History shows that a world without rights may easily turn into a nightmare. The article first focuses on the Hungarian constitutional basis of the state of emergency (Section 2). Next, it analyses the text of the constitution with respect to the limitation of fundamental rights and elaborates on the various interpretations through the lens of the case-law of the Constitutional Court (Sections 3-4). Finally, the article concludes that despite the rigid wording of the Hungarian Fundamental Law, constitutional rights can be restricted only if the restriction meets the necessity-proportionality test (Section 5)


Lóránt Csink
Lóránt Csink: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; counselor, Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest.
Public Health Emergency: National, European and International Law Responses

On the Constitutionality of the Punishment of Scaremongering in the Hungarian Legal System

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2021
Keywords scaremongering, clear and present danger, COVID-19 pandemic, freedom of expression, Constitutional Court of Hungary
Authors András Koltay
AbstractAuthor's information

    Scaremongering criminalized as a limitation to freedom of speech in Hungarian law. In lack of relevant case-law, free speech commentators rarely discussed the provision until the Government took action to step up the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing amendment of the Criminal Code in Spring 2020 brought the subject back to the forefront of public debate. The article analyses the constitutional issues related to the criminalization of scaremongering, taking the two available Constitutional Court decisions rendered in this subject as guideline. Though the newly introduced legislation attracted widespread criticism in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, a thorough examination of the new statutory elements makes it clear that public debate and critical opinions may not be stifled by prosecuting individuals for scaremongering. Although the applicable standard cannot yet be determined with full accuracy, the Constitutional Court’s decisions and relevant academic analysis resolve the main issues in order to protect freedom of expression, while the clarification of further details remains a matter for the case-law.


András Koltay
András Koltay: rector and professor of law, University of Public Service, Budapest; professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Editorial

Editorial Comments: COVID-19 – EU Citizenship and the Right to Free Movement in a Public Health Crisis

Foreword to Vol. 9 (2021) of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

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

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