Judicial independence has been under constant threat and has been systematically undermined by the governing majority in Hungary in the past seven years. How did they do it? A timeline prepared by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary outlines the major steps.
Judicial independence is being systematically undermined in Hungary. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary recommend specific steps that would remedy the long-standing systemic deficiencies of the system, thus restoring and safeguarding judicial independence.
On 12 November 2019, the Hungarian Government submitted a Bill to the Parliament which, if adopted, will have a significant negative impact on judicial independence, however, in a much more covert and technical way than the earlier, withdrawn plan to put administrative courts under the Minister of Justice.
New briefing paper by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary on the constitutional crisis in the Hungarian judiciary. The paper outlines key developments since January 2018, both regarding the ordinary court system and the prospect of the new administrative courts. We also make recommendations to resolve the crisis.
This June the Parliament will elect the President of the new Supreme Administrative Court, who will have extremely wide powers over judges and cases concerning a range of issues from taxation to human rights. But legislation allows that someone with zero days of judicial experience may be elected without any professional screening.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary organised an international conference titled "The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Hungary and in Europe – trends, concerns, ways ahead" on 25 January 2019. The conference was organised to discuss fundamental changes in the Hungarian judiciary regarding the setting up of new administrative courts.
Hungary’s new administrative courts from 2020 will be under full ministerial influence. While the Ministerial model of court administration is not in itself wrong, and it works well in democracies around the World, the Hungarian system will allow the Minister to unduly influence courts.
A new draft legislative package that limits judicial independence and restricts the freedom of judges to interpret the law is a serious threat to the rule of law in Hungary and runs counter to values Hungary signed up to when it joined the European Union.
Judicial independence is now in jeopardy in Hungary. A new package of legislative proposals that limits judicial independence is a serious threat to the rule of law in Hungary and runs counter to values Hungary signed up to when it joined the European Union. Since 2010, most organizational changes, including the establishment of new institutions, have served the aim of eliminating checks on political power.