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Article

Investment Arbitration and the Public Interest

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

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

Participation in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Member States’ Autonomous Decision or an Obligation?

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

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

Hungarian Territorial Changes and Nationality Issues Following World War I

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
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 CETA Opinion of the CJEU

Redefining the Contours of the Autonomy of the EU Legal Order

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
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 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Specific Features and Problems of Application

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, protection of minority languages, protection of regional languages, supervisory regime
Authors Gábor Kardos
AbstractAuthor's information

    As was the case after the Great War, World War II was followed by the setting up of international legal regimes to protect national (national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious) minorities in Europe. The emerging ideas of universalism and European unity were to prevent the aftermath of World War I, a conflict which erupted as a result of Western focusing the system of European minority protection on Central and Eastern Europe. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages protects minority languages, without granting minority rights. It provides an á la Carte system of obligations, with a supervisory system hinged on government reports. The Charter was intended to be a ‘high politics’ treaty. Nevertheless, with the protection of the minority linguistic heritage and the indirect provision of minority linguistic rights, it meant a first step towards bringing an end to the 19th century processes linguistic homogenization of the budding nationstates. As such, its implementation is highly political. The minority languages protected by the Charter are strongly varied in nature. If we add this factor to the á la Carte system of obligations, the sheer complexity of the system prevents evaluations of the Committee of Experts from being as consistent as they should be. An important contribution of the soft supervisory mechanism is that it at least puts some problematic issues on the agenda, however, experience has shown that the transposition of treaty obligations into national law is always a simpler task than creating the substantive conditions for the actual use of minority languages.


Gábor Kardos
Professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; Member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

The Value of the Environment in Hungarian Municipalities

An Overview of the Legal Aspects

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords environmental regulation, environmental policy, local self-governments, local actions, environmental sustainability
Authors László Fodor
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the field of environmental policy, the principle of sustainability and local actions are becoming increasingly important (‘think globally – act locally’). In Hungary, the focus is – within the multi-level local government system – on the local governments of the municipalities. This study is part of a research project on the role of municipal local governments in Hungary. During our research, in addition to the research methods of the ‘desktop’, case studies, questionnaires, interviews and focus group interviews were used. This study presents such general conclusions that can be drawn from the partial results. It does not include the presentation of certain areas of local environmental protection (air protection, waste management, protecting the built environment etc.), it rather tries to present the attitude of local governments, their commitment to environmental protection and the circumstances affecting it. It shows that Hungarian local governments do not form a homogeneous group. Primarily due to the differing size of municipalities, local environmental conflicts and the financial resources available for their resolution differ from each other as well. However, certain circumstances – such as the low degree of environmental awareness of the Hungarian population, the decrease in the autonomy of the local governments, the effects of the economic crisis and the changes of central regulations – affect them equally. The environmental protection performance of local governments is generally lower than desired.


László Fodor
Professor of law, University of Debrecen.
Article

A Multipolar System for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Practice

Unjustified Dismissals of Government Officials in Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, Multilevel constitutionalism, right to an effective remedy, unjustified dismissal of government officials, European protection of fundamental rights
Authors Zsuzsanna Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    Today, within the European multi-level and cooperative constitutional area the ECHR, the constitutional values enshrined in the EU Treaties together with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as the constitutions of the EU Member States function as parallel constitutions. The legal remedies offered by international forums are subsidiary by nature, since it is desirable that legal issues of human rights be solved by the states at national level. The obligation to exhaust domestic legal remedies as a procedural precondition is necessary to afford the national level the opportunity to remedy the violation of human rights within its own legal system. This paper focuses on Section 8(1) of Act LVIII of 2010 on the legal status of government officials, which states that the employer has the right to terminate the contract of government officials with a two months’ notice period without justification. This research is of considerable interest because the dismissed officials – who, in my opinion, de facto suffered injury for the violation of their human rights – were forced to turn to international fora due to the fact that the Hungarian legal system was unable to grant them proper relief. Therefore, the analysis also evaluates the current level of fundamental rights adjudication and jurisprudence related to fundamental principles in Hungary.


Zsuzsanna Szabó
Assistant lecturer, University of Debrecen.
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.

Gyula Bándi
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Ombudsman for Future Generations.

Réka Somssich
Associate professor, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest.

Yseult Marique
Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Essex and FÖV Speyer.

Kris Wauters
Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Essex and FÖV Speyer, Catholic University of Louvain (UC Louvain) and attorney-at-law.
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

Tamás Molnár
Legal research officer on asylum, migration and borders, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna; adjunct professor of public international law and EU migration law, Corvinus University of Budapest, Institute of International Studies.

Veronika Kéri
PhD student, Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law.

Zoltán Pozsár-Szentmiklósy
Assistant Professor, Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law.

Viktor Rák
Legal advisor of the Hungarian National Chamber of Civil Law Notaries.

Tamás Balogh
Legal advisor of the Hungarian National Chamber of Civil Law Notaries.

Ágnes Bujdos
Junior research fellow, University of Debrecen Faculty of Law.
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