Experts object to power concentration in new Hungary courts

March 15, 2019

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Council of Europe’s constitutional experts say Hungary’s budding system of administrative courts gives too much power to leading officials, with “no effective checks and balances.”

The Venice Commission, after a meeting Friday attended by Hungary’s justice minister, called on the Hungarian government to amend the laws regulating the courts taking into account its recommendations.

The new courts, to be launched Jan. 1, 2020, will hear cases involving the state on matters including public procurement and taxation.

The commission said there was “a particularly problematic provision” regarding the justice minister’s power to make the final decision about the appointment of judges.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a civic group, said that amendments proposed this week by lawmakers from the ruling Fidesz party still did not guarantee the new courts’ independence.