Center for Fundamental Rights

NOTE ON THE LEGISLATION GOVERNING ADMINISTRATIVE COURTS

Independent Administrative Courts are not without precedent in Hungary. It was the Socialist approach to jurisprudence that abolished, as unnecessary, the system which operated from 1896 to 1949. Administrative justice provides legal oversight over the actions of administrative bodies which have legal effect, thus offering legal protection against executive overreach. The effectiveness of the administrative justice can only be ensured with the application of a procedure centered on judicial review of administrative acts, the assignment of judges in possession of special expertise and an autonomous institutional system. 2015 saw the beginnings of preparations for regulating administrative justice. Following consultations with the academic sphere and the representatives of professional bodies, first the Code on Administrative Court Procedure was passed in 2017 then the legislation on the independent Administrative Courts was adopted in 2018. The Hungarian legislation governing the institutional system of the Administrative Courts is modeled on the German regulation. There are 16 member states of the EU whose constitutions mention independent Administrative Courts in one way or another, thus the Hungarian law is far from unique. Administering the organizational structure of the independent Administrative Courts is in the competence of the Minister of Justice, however, the Minister can only recommend the appointment of an applicant as administrative judge from a list adopted by consensus by judicial councils.  The Administrative Courts are protected from ministerial overreach or malpractice through the possibility of appeal, guarantees regarding the adoption and modification of the budget and the stringent regulation on the appointment of judges. Criticism directed at the law is fundamentally political in nature. The law itself is fully in line with the models already implemented in fellow EU member states.

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