EAJ Working Group: Resolution concerning Hungary

(To: National Office for the Judiciary (OBH)
(To: National Judicial Council (OBT)
(Copy: Hungarian Association of Judges)

At its meeting in Marrakech on 14 October 2018 the European Association of Judges (EAJ) was informed by a letter from the president of the Hungarian Judges Association and by the delegate of the Association about recent developments in the Hungarian judiciary.

The EAJ is concerned by failures or anomalities in the functioning of the relationship between the two constitutional institutions which take part in the central administration of the Hungarian judicial organisation, namely the National Office for the Judiciary (OBH) and the National Judicial Council (OBT).

The power to appoint, to promote and to transfer judges and the power to appoint court presidents lies with the President of the OBH. But if the President of OBH wishes to deviate from the proposal of the local judicial councils the President requires to consult the OBT. However, among other things, it was reported to the EAJ that the current President does not follow this rule; further, that she does not give an adequate statement of reasons for her decisions regarding judicial appointments; and that she has declared applications for appointment to be null and void.

European standards demand that judicial appointments may be made only on the basis of merit and that decisions on appointment must be justified by a proper statement of reasons.

These standards must be met by every judiciary within the scope of the Council of Europe.

As stated above, the EAJ has grounds for questioning whether this is the case in Hungary and It is therefore considering starting a monitoring procedure.

As a preliminary, therefore, the EAJ invites the ( OBT) / (OBH) to give its views on the issues mentioned. The EAJ would appreciate a response as soon as possible.

Recommendation 2010/12 :44. Decisions concerning the selection and career of judges should be based on objective criteria pre-established by law or by the competent authorities.
Such decisions should be based on merit, having regard to the qualifications, skills and capacity required to adjudicate cases by applying the law while respecting human dignity.
46. The authority taking decisions on the selection and career of judges should be independent of the executive and legislative powers. With a view to guaranteeing its independence, at least half of the members of the authority should be judges chosen by their peers.