Viktor Zoltán Kazai - Central European University, Budapest

Name of the act/s*

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights [GC] of 20 January 2020 in the case of Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt v Hungary, Appl. no. 201/17

Subject area

freedom of expression, elections, referendum

Brief description of the contents of the act

The Court held that the insufficiently foreseeable legal basis for a fine imposed on a Hungarian political party for making available a mobile application allowing voters to share anonymous photographs of their ballot papers constituted a violation of Article 10.

Name of the act/s*

Act. no. IV of 2020 on the urgent measures to be taken to stop abusive practices in respect of compensation claims as a result of prison overcrowding / 2020. évi IV. törvény a börtönzsúfoltsági kártalanításokkal kapcsolatos visszaélések megszüntetése érdekében szükséges haladéktalan intézkedésekről

Subject area

Prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prison overcrowding, rule of law

Brief description of the contents of the act

Act. no. IV of 2020 calls upon the Hungarian government to reform the compensation mechanism in respect of conditions of detention violating fundamental rights until 15 May 2020 and to guarantee by September 2020 that the prison population does not exceed the capacity of the penitentiary system. In addition, the act introduces a temporary rule according to which the compensation payments are delayed until 15 June 2020.

Name of the act/s*

Judgment no. Pf.I.20.123/2019/16 of the Debrecen Court of Appeal

Subject area

discrimination on the basis of race, segregation in public education, rule of law

Brief description of the contents of the act

In its final and binding decision no. Pf.I.20.123/2019/16. delivered on 16 September 2019, the Debrecen Court of Appeal concluded that the unlawful segregation of pupils of Roma origin in the Nekcsei Demeter elementary school of Gyöngyöspata had violated their right to equal treatment and thus the students are entitled to compensation. The court emphasized that segregation causes a feeling of humiliation and inferiority, hinders the students in overcoming their sociocultural disadvantages and puts them in a disadvantage in all areas of life.

Name of the act/s*

Opinion of AG Kokott of 5 March 2020 in the Case C-66/18, European Commission v Hungary [ECLI:EU:C:2020:172]

Subject area

the freedom to found and to operate educational establishments, academic freedom

Brief description of the contents of the act

In her opinion, AG Kokott concluded that the amendment to the Act of Higher Education concerning the requirements of the operation of foreign universities in Hungary is contrary to the law of the European Union.  She expressed the view that the requirement of an international agreement with the State of origin is incompatible with the national treatment rule (the rule that foreign and domestic service providers must be treated equally) under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and it also constitutes a violation the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (freedom to found and to operate educational establishments and academic freedom). In addition, the requirement of genuine teaching activity in the State of origin is an infringement of freedom of establishment, the Services Directive, the Charter (the freedom to found and to operate educational establishments and academic freedom) and the national treatment rule of the GATS.


Osservatorio sulle fonti / Observatory on Sources of Law


Section: Sources of Law in the EU member States


By Viktor Zoltán Kazai, Central European University, Budapest

Name of the Act/s

Bill no. T/8016 on the amendment of certain acts related to the establishment of a single instance procedure of local government offices / T/8016 számú törvényjavaslat egyes törvényeknek az egyfokú járási hivatali eljárások megteremtésével összefüggő módosításáról

Date of entry into force of original text

Adopted, not yet promulgated

Date of Text (Adopted)

10 December 2019

Type of text 

(name in English / name in the official language)

Parliamentary act / Törvény

Enacted by

Hungarian National Assembly

Subject area

administrative judiciary, judicial independence


In July 2019, the Hungarian Government postponed the entry into force of the very controversial administrative court reform for an indefinite period of time because of severe criticism voiced by European and national stakeholders. The present bill amends several legislative acts in order to yield similar results as the original administrative court reform would have produced without setting up a separate judicial system. Let us summarize the key points:

Firstly, the law entitles public authorities to file a constitutional complaint alleging the unconstitutional limitation of their competences and rights.

Secondly, the membership of the Constitutional Court and the ordinary judicial appointment will cease to be incompatible. This means, on the one hand, that the judicial mandate of justices of the Constitutional Court who served as ordinary judges before their election will only be suspended temporarily. On the other hand, justices of the Constitutional Court will get the right to request to be nominated as an ordinary judge by the President of the Republic. In addition, the law makes it possible to appoint these justices to the position of chamber president at the Supreme Court after the expiry of their mandate at the Constitutional Court.

Besides these major changes, the bill also introduces some seemingly less important modifications. For example, it modifies the rules on case distribution and extend the mandatory national security vetting to a much larger number of judges without any justification. The existing administrative and labor law courts will cease to exist, and administrative law judges will be required to continue their work at the regional courts.

Finally, the law strengthens the Supreme Court’s power to tie the hands of lower court judges. It will become the obligation of the judge to provide a written justification if her interpretation of the law differs from a previous decision delivered by the Supreme Court. An “unjustified deviation” can have a negative impact on her career.

Secondary sources/ doctrinal works (if any)

According to the analysis of Amnesty International Hungary the bill extends political influence over the judiciary and guarantee judicial decisions favorable to the Government in politically sensitive cases even without setting up a separate administrative court system.

For a more detailed analysis see:

Kazai, Viktor Z.: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward: The Hungarian judiciary’s independence is still in danger, VerfBlog, 2019/11/26,

Available Text

Osservatorio sulle fonti

Rivista telematica registrata presso il Tribunale di Firenze (decreto n. 5626 del 24 dicembre 2007). ISSN 2038-5633.

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