Tamás Sulyok: the time has come for the first comprehensive evaluation of the Fundamental Law

2 December 2017

The new Fundamental Law of Hungary was put into force on the first of January 2012. One of the most characteristic changes was the new regulation of the institution of constitutional complaint and the presence of direct references to the provisions of the Fundamental Law in judicial judgements. The real constitutional complaint is a new institution allowing the annulment of judicial judgements delivered in individual cases.

As emphasized by Tamás Sulyok, president of the Constitutional Court: the research project is the impact study of the enforcement of the Fundamental Law, and the enforcement of the Fundamental Law can be best observed through the judicial activity. He underlined that by announcing a competition and by organising the conference, the Constitutional Court and the Curia created a unique forum for a dialogue where positions about the Fundamental Law can collide. The president of the Curia also stressed the importance of setting the stage for a living dialogue. According to Péter Darák, the independent missions of the Curia and of the Constitutional Court cannot be fulfilled if the two fora are heading to opposite legal directions. Therefore, in the opinion of the head of the supreme judicial forum, the processes of legal practice must be monitored and analysed on a continuous basis.

As added by Tamás Sulyok, the secret of the success of real constitutional complaint is the judicial dialogue based on mutual self-restraint. It is a self-restraint on behalf the Constitutional Court that it only annuls judicial judgements if a fundamental right is injured. On behalf of the courts, self-restraint means that in the course of delivering their judgements they shall pay attention to the interpretation of the Fundamental Law by the Constitutional Court. Judicial dialogue based on mutual self-restraint plays a special role in the relation between the Curia as the supreme judicial organ and the Constitutional Court. The professional and good-fellowship relations between the institutions facilitate the harmonisation of the processes of the two constitutional institutions. Judge of the Constitutional Court, István Stumpf provided an assessment of the competition by stating that the number of constitutional complaints is on a constant rise and in the past years the courts have made in their decisions thousands of references to the Fundamental Law, indicating that there is an ongoing learning and development process in this field.

An international meeting on 1 December shall close the joint conference. The members of the Constitutional Court, the Curia, the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the University of Heidelberg discuss in the form of presentations and floor discussions  – using Hungary and Germany as examples – the judicial practice developed in the course of the dialogue between the European courts and the courts of the Member States.

Budapest, 29 November 2017