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Decision 3154/2019 on compensation due to detention conditions
Constitutional complaint against the ruling No. 1.Bpkf.226/2017/2 of the Székesfehérvár Regional Court (compensation due to detention conditions)
The Constitutional Court annulled the judgement of the Székesfehérvár Regional Court on the basis of a constitutional complaint. The petitioner had launched an action by complaining about the conditions of his detention that resulted in establishing, by the court of first instance, compensation due to him. In its challenged judgement, the regional court reduced the amount of the compensation. In his constitutional complaint, the petitioner complained about the regional court evaluating to his detriment a provision of the Act on penal enforcement that had not been in force when he had enforced his claim. Therefore, in his opinion, the challenged judgement of the regional court is in breach of the principle about the application of the law with retroactive effect. In the case concerned, rather than reviewing the constitutionality of the Act on penal enforcement, the Constitutional Court had to examine whether the regional court interpreted the law in accordance with the provisions of the Fundamental Law, in particular the prohibition of applying the law with retroactive effect. After providing an overview of the legislative environment relevant in the case, the Constitutional Court concluded that, by neglecting the transitional provisions of the Act on penal enforcement, the regional court assessed a circumstance to the detriment of the petitioner that he could not fulfil due to temporal differences. It is conceptually impossible to be accountable for an obligation that has not entered into account, i.e. which does not exist. Thus, as a whole, the regional court decided to the detriment of the petitioner in the context of the compensation claim by requiring compliance with a statutory obligation that had not existed in the period reviewed, i.e. by applying a law that had not been in force in the period assessed, resulting in the violation of the prohibition of applying the law retroactively.