New law threatens judicial independence in Hungary – again | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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20 January 2020

A new law adopted on 17 December 2019 seems to be yet another attempt to make sure that politically sensitive court cases are decided in a way that is favourable for the executive power. It does not only make it possible to channel politically sensitive cases out of the ordinary court system, but also makes it harder in practice for individuals to enforce their rights vis a vis the state.

Judicial independence has been under constant threat in Hungary since 2012. The Government recently abandoned its plan to set up a separate, heavily government-controlled administrative court system, but Bill T/8016 submitted by the Government to the Parliament on 12 November 2019 and finally adopted on 17 December 2019 as Act CXXVII of 2019 seems to be yet another attempt to make sure that politically sensitive court cases are decided in a way that is favourable for the executive power. This substantial omnibus Act (amending several pieces of legislation) has 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negative impact on judicial independence, however, in a much more covert and technical way than the earlier, withdrawn plan to put administrative courts under the Minister of Justice. Act CXXVII of 2019 does not only make it possible to channel politically sensitive cases out of the ordinary court system and put them into the hands of Constitutional Court judges nominated and elected by the ruling majority, but also makes it harder in practice for individuals to enforce their rights vis a vis the state.

In its statement of 28 November 2019 regarding Bill T/8016, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe expressed the view that “the Bill in its current form may have a negative effect on the internal independence of courts and judges and fair trial guarantees for individuals”, and urged the Hungarian Parliament to modify it. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee joins the Commissioner in her concerns and is of the view that Act CXXVII of 2019 should not have been adopted in its current form.

Read our full analysis about the adopted law here:
New law threatens judicial independence in Hungary – again

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