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Article

The Case of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with Environmental Principles

From Non-Derogation to the Precautionary Approach

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, environmental issues, non-derogation principle, precautionary principle, Article P of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, right to a healthy environment
Authors Gyula Bándi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Principles influence legislation, implementation and enforcement of the law to a great extent. This is especially the case with those fields of law, which are relatively new and subject to constant changes, such as environmental law. Principles have legal value, among others to fill legal gaps or to assist proper interpretation. It is always expedient to have a high-level judicial forum for legal interpretation at national level this would be a constitutional court or a supreme court. Legal interpretation can be particularly tricky when principles are combined with human rights. Constitutional courts, such as the Hungarian Constitutional Court are the preferred choice for such legal interpretation, since human rights are normally enshrined in the constitutions. In Hungary both the previous (1989) Constitution and the currently effective Fundamental Law of 2011 contain express and rather similar provisions regarding the right to environment, the content of which need clarification. Beside this similarity, the Fundamental Law has several other additional provisions supporting interpretation in the interests of the environment. This paper only presents – as examples of necessary interpretation – two principles to illustrate what the right to environment actually means. These are the non-regression (non-derogation) and the precautionary principles, which will be described both in general and in light of their current Hungarian interpretation. Non-regression (non-derogation) basically represents a decent minimum that should not be contravened, while precautionary principle is more in flux, a moving target, focusing on likely consequences, with scientific uncertainty at its core. Both principles will be introduced through the decisions of the Hungarian Constitutional Court.


Gyula Bándi
Jean Monnet professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Ombudsman for future generations.
Article

European Water Law and Uncertainty

Managing Hydrological Variability in Shared River Basins in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords hydrological variability, transboundary water governance, EU water law, shared river basins, variability management
Authors Gábor Baranyai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hydrological variability has been on the rise in the past decades with dramatic consequences for water management on the national and international plane alike. Yet, most legal regimes governing the use and protection of water resources reflect a high degree of rigidity presuming that hydrological conditions prevailing at the time of their conception remain stable indefinitely. The mismatch between rigid legal frameworks and rapidly changing natural conditions are likely to give rise to new types of interstate conflicts in shared river basins (or accentuate existing ones), since historically the adoption of (new) transboundary governance regimes has been very slow and reactive in character. While the EU has been praised worldwide as an exemplary model of co-riparian cooperation, its multi-layered water governance regime also deserves a comprehensive fitness check that, among others, should evaluate its ability to handle the growing uncertainty surrounding underlying hydrological circumstances. This article provides a resilience assessment of European water law from the perspective of the management of hydrological variability.


Gábor Baranyai
Senior lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
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