Constitutional Court of Hungary

Constitutional Court of Hungary

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The Constitutional Court of Hungary is a special court of Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, making judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 of the acts of the Parliament of Hungary. The official seat of the Constitutional Court is Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....


The Constitutional Court is composed of 11 judges. The members then elect the President of the Court from among its members in a secret ballot. One or two Vice-Presidents, appointed by the President of the Court, stand in for the President in the event of his absence for any reason. The constitutional court passes on the constitutionality
Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution. Acts that are not in accordance with the rules laid down in the constitution are deemed to be ultra vires.-See also:*ultra vires*Company law*Constitutional law...

 of laws, and there is no right of appeal
An appeal is a petition for review of a case that has been decided by a court of law. The petition is made to a higher court for the purpose of overturning the lower court's decision....

 on these decisions.The Constitutional Court serves as the main body for the protection of the Constitution
Constitution of Hungary
The Constitution of the Republic of Hungary , its fundamental law, was adopted on 20 August 1949, and heavily amended on 23 October 1989. It is Hungary's first and only permanent written constitution; the country is the only former Eastern Bloc nation that did not adopt an entirely new constitution...

, its tasks being the review of the constitutionality of statutes, and the protection of constitutional order and fundamental rights
Fundamental rights
Fundamental rights are a generally-regarded set of entitlements in the context of a legal system, wherein such system is itself said to be based upon this same set of basic, fundamental, or inalienable entitlements or "rights." Such rights thus belong without presumption or cost of privilege to all...

 guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitutional Court performs its tasks independently. With its own budget and its judges being elected by Parliament it does not constitute a part of the ordinary judicial system.


On October 19, 1989 the Hungarian Parliament passed a resolution on the establishment of the Constitutional Court. Its organisation and authority, however, had been determined earlier in the framework of the trilateral political roundtable negotiations preparing the democratic transformation of the political system.
The basic provisions on the Constitutional Court were laid down in October 1989 by Parliament by way of amending the Constitution (Article 32/A). The court was set up in order to promote the establishment of a state governed by the rule of law as well as the protection of constitutional order and fundamental rights. Act XXXII of 1989 on the Constitutional Court was passed by Parliament on 19 October 1989, and the Constitutional Court started its work on 1 January 1990.

Changes made by the 2011 Constituion

According to Draft from 25. April 2011.

The Constitutional Court (Article 24.)

(1) The Constitutional Court shall be the main authority for constitutional protection.

(2) The Constitutional Court shall

a) review the constitutionality of laws adopted, but not yet published,

b) review at the request of a judge the constitutionality of legislation
to be applied in an individual case,

c) on the basis of a constitutional complaint, review the
constitutionality of legislation or a judicial decision applied in an individual case,

d) upon the initiative of the Government or one quarter of the
Members of Parliament review the constitutionality of laws,

e) review the conflict of legislation with international treaties, and

f) perform other duties and authorities defined in the Constitution and in super majority laws.

(3) Acting pursuant to its jurisdiction in its competence under section b)-d) of paragraph (2), the Constitutional Court will annul laws and other legal norms, judicial decisions that it finds to be unconstitutional, pursuant to its jurisdiction under section e) of paragraph (2) annul laws or legal norms deemed to be in conflict with international treaties and will also rule on other issues set forth in super majority laws.

(4) Acting pursuant to its jurisdiction under section c)-d) of paragraph (2), the Constitutional Court shall review the constitutionality of laws on the State Budget and its implementation, on central taxes, fees and customs duties, pension and health care contributions, as well as on the content of the statues concerning uniform requirements on local taxes only if the petition refers exclusively to the right to life and human dignity, the right to the protection of personal data, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or the right connected to the Hungarian citizenship, if the conditions defined for adopting and promulgating the law have not been met.

(5) The Constitutional Court is a body of 15 members, elected by Parliament for a period of twelve years by a two-third majority of the Members of Parliament. The Parliament will elect with a two-third majority of the Members of Parliament a President, with a mandate that lasts until the term of the judge’s mandate. Members of the Constitutional Court may not be members of a political party and may not engage in any political activities.


  • László Sólyom
    László Sólyom
    László Sólyom is a Hungarian political figure, lawyer, and librarian who was President of Hungary from 2005 to 2010. Previously he was President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary from 1990 to 1998....

     (July 1, 1990 – November 24, 1998)
  • János Németh (November 24, 1998 – July 31, 2003)
  • András Holló  (August 1, 2003 – November 12, 2005)
  • Mihály Bihari  (November 12, 2005 – July 2, 2008)
  • Péter Paczolay  (July 3, 2008 –)


The Hungarian Constitution declares that members of the Constitutional Court shall be elected by Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

. It also determines the rules of such elections. Impartiality is guaranteed by having proposed members of the Constitutional Court to be put forward by a nominating committee consisting of one member each from the factions of parties represented in Parliament and shall be elected by a two-thirds majority of all Members of Parliament. Hungarian law provides that only jurists of outstanding theoretical knowledge or having at least twenty years of legal practice may be elected members of the Constitutional Court. Membership is for a term of nine years and members may be re-elected once. The office of judges of the Constitutional Court comes to an end when they reach the age of 70 years.

The current composition of the court includes the following judges:
  • Péter Paczolay, President of the Constitutional Court
  • András Holló, Vice President of the Constitutional Court
  • Elemér Balogh
  • András Bragyova
  • László Kiss
  • Péter Kovács
  • Barnabás Lenkovics
  • Miklós Lévay
  • István Stumpf
    István Stumpf
    István Stumpf is a Hungarian scholar, political scientist and politician. A former member of the ruling Communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, he was the last Vice President of National Council of the Patriotic People's Front from 1989 to 1990. He also served as Minister of Prime Minister's...

  • Mihály Bihari

See also

  • Constitution
    A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

  • Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

  • Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as extending beyond the definition of 'the economic analysis of constitutional law' in explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the...

  • Jurisprudence
    Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

  • Judiciary
    The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

  • Rule of law
    Rule of law
    The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

  • Rule According to Higher Law
    Rule according to higher law
    The rule according to a higher law means that no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice...