EU funds Effective remedy for manipulated judicial appointments is necessary to restore independence of the judiciary

Potential Milestones to Restore the Rule of Law in Hungary

The ongoing negotiations between the Government of Hungary and the European Commission regarding the conditions for Hungary’s access to the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility as well as the conditionality procedure under the Regulation to protect the EU budget, triggered by the European Commission in April 2022, provide an exceptional momentum to be seized to recover fundamental rule of law safeguards and build institutional resilience against further backsliding in Hungary. In its new paper, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee proposes a set of potential milestones, aimed at restoring the rule of law in Hungary, with a focus on judicial independence and democratic law-making.

The concrete and measurable potential milestones, mostly based on the 2022 European Semester Report’s Country Specific Recommendations for Hungary, are structured around the following main points of intervention:

1. RESTORING THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY

  • Depoliticizing court administration
  • Ensuring effective control of court management powers by the National Judicial Council
  • Providing guarantees against manipulation with judicial careers
  • Abolishing all appointments to judicial positions that circumvent ordinary application procedures
  • Ensuring the right to a tribunal established by law
  • Executing judgment C-564/19 of the Court of Justice of the European Union

2. RESTORING THE EFFECTIVE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW OF LAWS AND THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

  • Changing the rules for nominating and electing Constitutional Court judges
  • Repealing the right to submit constitutional complaints by state agencies

3. ENSURING MEANINGFUL PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON DRAFT LAWS

4. RESTRAINING THE GOVERNMENT’S EMERGENCY POWERS

 

The full paper is available here:

Potential milestones aimed at restoring the rule of law in Hungary

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To place into context the proposed milestones related to the judiciary, see our summary of the most important legislative and court administration steps taken after 2018 that aimed to create an apex court in Hungary that is characterised by a highly increased likelihood of adjudicating politically sensitive cases in a manner favourable for the government: Court Capture Project Completed – The Hungarian recipe for getting a grip on the judiciary

See also our brief on the need for a “milestone zero”, ensuring that there is an effective remedy for manipulated judicial appointments: Milestone zero – Full screening of the Hungarian judiciary should be the baseline of recovery

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Hungarian Helsinki Committee