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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 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.
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

The Rights of the Victim in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords rights of victims, code of criminal procedure in Hungary, victims in criminal procedure, Directive 2012/29/EU, rights of vulnerable persons
Authors Anna Kiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the course of the development of criminal law victims lost their former leading role in the procedure and were pushed to the periphery of justice. Legal experts have come to realize that this tendency is tremendously unfair to the victim. European documents on the legal position of the victims increasingly called the attention of the legislature to the need of bringing about changes. In Hungary, the relevant new law was passed in June 2017. The Code came into effect in July 2018 and confirmed the victim’s procedural position. Since July, there are three groups of victims’ rights in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings: provision of information and support; participation in criminal proceedings; protection of victims and recognition of victims in need of special protection. In addition to describing the rights, the study also draws attention to the fact in light of the principle that all rights are worth upholding it is not enough to regulate the rights of victims. The study also warns that although the rights of victims are important, we should not forget the guarantees concerning suspects’ rights, which must also be ensured.


Anna Kiss
Senior research fellow, National Institute of Criminology, Budapest.
Article

In Unchartered Waters?

The Place and Position of EU Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, Charter of Fundamental Rights, preliminary ruling procedure, constitutional dialogue, CILFIT criteria
Authors Márton Sulyok and Lilla Nóra Kiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper examines the perception and position of EU law in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Hungary within the constitutional arrangements brought to life after 2012. In this context, the inquiry addresses the changes regarding the status of EU law in constitutional case-law amounting to what is identified here as the method of ‘resourceful engagement’. Under this approach, the paper also examines the extent and frequency of the use of human rights reasoning based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU in the proceedings of the Constitutional Court (2015-2019), focusing mostly on constitutional complaints procedures. The paper briefly mentions the controversial nature of the ‘Implementation Dilemma’ regarding the Charter and its application in Member States’ constitutional court proceedings. As a corollary, in light of domestic procedures examined in the Repcevirág Szövetkezet v. Hungary judgment (April 2019) of the ECtHR, it examines whether the Constitutional Court could eventually start acting as a court of referral under Article 267 TFEU in such proceedings where the protection of fundamental rights under the Charter would require the interpretation of EU law. This would mark a shift from the earlier ‘context of non-reference’ to an approach of ‘resourceful engagement’ suggested by this paper.


Márton Sulyok
Senior lecturer, University of Szeged.

Lilla Nóra Kiss
Junior research fellow, University of Miskolc.
Article

Fair Trial under Scrutiny

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, right to a fair trial, Article 6 ECHR, Article XXVIII of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, Hungarian Code of Criminal Procedure
Authors Ágnes Czine
AbstractAuthor's information

    The right to a fair trial has an eminent position in the Fundamental Law of Hungary both because of the importance of the right and the great number of applications and jurisprudence it has been the subject of. This study presents the legal background of fair trial and its place in the Hungarian legal system, analyzing the jurisprudence of the Hungarian Constitutional Court on the right to fair trial, and in particular, the obligation to adjudicate within a reasonable time. While the Constitutional Court has developed a consistent practice in this regard, there are nevertheless new issues that may make the amendment of certain pieces of legislation necessary. This paper presents a case-study on a new development in the Constitutional Court’s practice on the issue of deciding the case within a reasonable time.


Ágnes Czine
Justice, Constitutional Court of Hungary.
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

Defining the Role of the Aarhus Convention as Part of National, International and EU Law

Conclusions of a Case-Law Analysis

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Aarhus Convention, principle of public participation, protection of the environment, environmental issues before national (constitutional) courts, direct applicability
Authors Ágnes Váradi
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a basic point of reference in international law the Aarhus Convention has a considerable impact on the framework of public participation in environmental matters. The fact that the Convention forms part of national legal orders of EU Member States both as part of international and EU law, the proper enforcement of its provisions makes it inevitable to draw up certain principles of interpretation. The current paper aims to analyze how the Aarhus Convention appears at the level of legal argumentation in the case-law of the CJEU and selected national constitutional courts or high courts of EU Member States, namely, Germany, France and Hungary. Those decisions are examined that refer directly and explicitly to the Aarhus Convention. The case-law analysis is completed by the reference to the relevant secondary literature. The findings can provide a synthesis about the role of the Aarhus Convention, thematic milestones can be drawn up concerning the interpretation of the obligations stemming from the Convention and they can give useful insights into the relationship of national laws, EU law and international law. Meanwhile, they contribute to the analysis of the role of civil participation in the protection of the environment. This way, the conclusions can support the emergence of a (more) general approach in EU Member States as far as public participation in environmental matters is concerned.


Ágnes Váradi
Research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies.
Article

E Pluribus Unum? Racial Injustice in the US and the International Response

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords UN human rights machinery, prohibition of discrimination, segregation in the US, racial discrimination, UN Human Rights Council
Authors Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The UN issued a scathing report in 2016 stating that “[I]n particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge.” After international slave trade, abolition of slavery, Jim Crow laws, civil rights struggle, ongoing systemic police brutality against African Americans and a prison machinery with a high prison rate with African Americans inmates the question remains: has racial discrimination ever ended in the US? The rising strength of a white supremacist movement poses another significant threat to the national cohesion of different communities in the US. Moreover, it reveals the dormant white nationalism that has awakened in light of policies and rhetoric animated and nourished by leading politicians in the country. To this end, this paper will investigate the following question: what is the impact of the colonial past on the US and how did the UN respond to this past? Finally, what will be the role of the UN to enhance the US human rights infrastructure for African Americans and ameliorate their situation in light of rising white supremacism?


Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
Lecturer, Griffith College, Dublin.
Article

Languages and Linguistic Issues before the International Criminal Court

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords linguistic issues, ICC, language of criminal procedure, local languages, use of own language
Authors Péter Kovács
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present article deals with some of the language issues present before the International Criminal Court (ICC). These issues do not simply result from the challenges of translation to/from English and French but also from the fact that the English and French used before the ICC are specialist legal languages with centuries-old practice behind their well-established notions (e.g. ‘no case to answer’). There are numerous other languages used by witnesses and victims with various backgrounds in the different cases and situations. They are mostly local, sometimes tribal languages often lacking the vocabulary necessary to describe complex legal issues, to deal with notions and phenomena of modern substantive or procedural law. It is equally important to note that there are always special local notions, which are impossible to translate with a single term, sometimes becoming a part of the English or French language of the procedure. Other languages, however, may bring with them their own special legal or historical-legal vocabulary, which must be reflected on in order to unpack its proper meaning. As such, language issues are omnipresent before the ICC, having also an impact on the budget of the Court. The efficient and accurate work of interpreters and translators is of outmost importance from the point of view of fair trial, rights of the accused but also from the perspective of access to information for victims, witnesses or local communities who are following the judicial procedure from home.


Péter Kovács
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; judge at the International Criminal Court (2015-2024).
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