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2022. October 21.

Decision 3417/2022 (X. 21.) AB

Decision number: IV/172/2019.
Subject of the case:

Constitutional complaint on the annulment of the rulings No 9.Mpkf.25.782/2018/3. and 9.Mpkf.25.781/2018/3. of the Gyula Regional Court and the rulings No 3.M.17/2018/7. and 3.M.24/2018/7. of the Gyula Administrative and Labour Court, and against section 227 (3) of Act CXXX of 2016 on the Civil Procedure (absence of the legal representative)

The Constitutional Court found that the challenged rulings of the Gyula Administrative and Labour Court and the Gyula Regional Court were in conflict with the Fundamental Law and annulled them. In the case underlying the proceedings, the petitioner explained that it had submitted a statement of claim through his legal representative, in which his legal representative requested that the hearing be held in his possible absence. In the summons, the court informed the petitioner that the party must ensure that he or she is able to make a statement at the hearing in person or through his or her legal representative. The petitioner appeared in person at the hearing, but the court terminated the proceedings on the grounds that the petitioner’s legal representative had failed to appear at the first hearing. The court of second instance upheld the decision. In the petitioner’s opinion, the procedure violated his right to a fair trial, as the court provided incorrect information and did not draw the petitioner’s attention to the fact that the participation of the legal representative could not be waived at the hearing during the preparatory stage. In its decision, the Constitutional Court found that the Gyula Administrative and Labour Court, by failing to issue a mandatory notice of the consequences of default, which is contrary to an express provision of the law, and then applying the legal consequences of default due to the absence of the legal representative, deprived the petitioners of the possibility of actually exercising their right to access court by its rulings terminating the proceedings in a manner contrary to the Fundamental Law. In the Constitutional Court’s view, the Gyula General Court did not take into account the constitutional context and significance of the cases, as well as other specific, individual circumstances of the cases when considering the appeals submitted in the cases. In the Constitutional Court’s view, the resulting violation of fundamental rights had a material impact on the courts’ decisions denying the petitioners’ requests for judicial services, and it therefore decided to annul them.