a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 21-10-1994 / e) 45/1994 / f) / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 103/1994 / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
General Principles - Separation of powers.
Institutions - Executive bodies - Relations with judicial bodies.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Procedural safeguards, rights of the defence and fair trial - Independence.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Decision, judicial, evaluation / Judge, reward honour / Judiciary, independence.
It is contrary to the constitutional principle of judicial independence if any member of the Government can award honours to judges or recommend judges for honours without the real participation of the judicial branch.
A provision of a decree issued by the Minister of Justice was challenged because it made it possible for the Minister of Justice, a member of the executive branch, to award or recommend judges for honours for their judicial activity. This was found to violate the constitutional principle of judicial independence.
The reasoning of the Court recalled previous decisions on the independence of the judiciary. In decision no. 38/1993 (VI. 11.) (see Bulletin 1993/2 [HUN-1993-2-011]) the Constitutional Court presented its detailed opinion on the constitutional requirements of judicial independence with regard to the appointment of the presidents of the different courts. The ruling emphasised that the appointment of judges by another branch must be counterbalanced by the judiciary or by a different other branch. In the case of participation by the judiciary, their opinion should substantially determine the appointment.
In the present case, the Court declared the unconstitutionality of a single provision that entitles the Minister of Justice to award specific honours without the substantial participation of the judicial branch. The discretional recognition of the judges' judicial work by a representative of the executive branch jeopardises the impartiality of the judiciary.
The President of the Constitutional Court wrote a dissenting opinion in which two other justices concurred. The dissenting opinion considers any reward that is based upon the evaluation of the judicial activity of the judge unconstitutional because it is incompatible with the principle of judicial independence.
See Bulletin 1993/2 [HUN-1993-2-011].