Center for Fundamental Rights

The Importance of the Constitutional Court Has Not Diminished

An analysis of the new law with regard to the competence of the Constitutional Court

The Hungarian Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ) has examined the new regulation that has entered into force in 2012 concerning the Constitutional Court, concluding that even though some of the judicial body’s jurisdiction has been changed, in its overall aspect and substance it has not diminished – in fact, the body has important new authority. Even though the applicable procedures had been significantly amended, the changes mostly derived from the prior practice and recommendations of the Constitutional Court, as a result of which the level of protection applied to the constitutionality of the Hungarian legal system has not diminished. In many cases, the most often referenced limitation applicable to laws related to state budget and taxes is breached by the new regulation itself, and the ex-post facto normative control that could be submitted by anyone was excluded from the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction at its express request. In this context, it is a new element that a constitutional law complaint can be submitted against a substantive judicial decision as well. Additionally, in connection with the review of the violation of an international agreement, a judge can now turn to the Constitutional Court. A less highlighted yet important reform of current law is that the President of the Republic may no longer be forced to sign a law he had deemed unconstitutional, as he/she has the opportunity to combine the constitutional and political vetoes. Additionally, thanks to the new procedural rule, the procedures of the Constitutional Court have become more transparent: in certain cases, public and private hearings may be applied for; while a private hearing is ordered by the Constitutional Court itself, it is mandatory to have a public hearing in the case of an application. In the future, however, it is worthwhile for the legislator to make it self-evident whether or not a constitutional law complaint may be submitted for the purpose of determining compliance with an international agreement.

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