DURING THE LEGAL REMEDY THE MERITS OF BREACH OF THE LAW SHOULD BE REPAIRABLE5 April 2019
The Constitutional Court prohibited the application of one of the provisions of the Act on supporting families that had been in force in 2018. As the Constitutional Court underlined in its decision: formally granting the judicial way is not sufficient in itself to comply with the requirement of effective judicial legal protection.
The procedure of the Constitutional Court was based on a judicial initiative. The initiating judge had two pending cases where the authority obliged the plaintiff to repay training benefit and schooling support obtained without legal basis. Both plaintiffs had submitted applications based on equity by referring to transferring the support to the beneficiary, however the authority rejected – in one of the cases, partially – the applications due to formal deficiencies. The plaintiffs applied for the court review of the decision, but according to the challenged provision of the law, only nullity may be claimed in an action started against a decision made in the scope of equity. According to the initiating judge, in the absence of real and effective protection of rights, the right to fair trial and the right to legal remedy are violated.
The Constitutional Court pointed out: it is the essence of every legal remedy that the designated forum should be actually capable of remedying the injury of right – the mere fact of formally providing for using the judicial way is not sufficient. Although equity offers a wide scale of discretion for the authority, it does not mean that a decision passed in this scope may be left without judicial control. The challenged provision narrows down the scope of the errors to be reviewed to the causes of nullity, but it does not allow the weighing of evidence and the sanctioning of the breach of fundamental rules of procedure and neither does it allow for applying any legal consequence other than annulment.
As the challenged regulation unnecessarily restricts the right to legal remedy and the right to fair trial, the Constitutional Court stated that the relevant provision is contrary to the Fundamental Law and banned its application in pending cases.
Justice dr. Béla Pokol attached a concurring reasoning to the decision. The full text can be accessed here and the data-sheet of the decision is available here.