HUN-1998-C-001

a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c)  / d) 09-06-1998 / e) 23/1998 / f)  / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 49/1998 / h) .

Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:

01.01.04.04

Constitutional Justice - Constitutional jurisdiction - Relations with other institutions - Courts.

01.03.02.02

Constitutional Justice - Jurisdiction - Type of review - Abstract / concrete review.

01.03.05.15

Constitutional Justice - Jurisdiction - The subject of review - Failure to act or to pass legislation.

01.06.01

Constitutional Justice - Effects - Scope.

01.06.07

Constitutional Justice - Effects - Influence on State organs.

Keywords of the alphabetical index:

Legislative task, performance, failure / Case, reopening / Legal remedy, essence.

Headnotes:

The Constitutional Court established unconstitutionality on the grounds of a lack of rules in the Act on Civil Procedure. In order for a constitutional complaint to be an effective legal remedy, Parliament should determine the legal consequences of a successful complaint to make it possible for petitioners to move for a new trial of their case by ordinary courts.

Summary:

The petitioner requested the Court to decide whether Parliament had created an unconstitutional situation by failing to perform its legislative tasks in order to make the constitutional complaint an effective legal remedy.

Under Article 43.2 of the Act on the Constitutional Court, the annulment of a legal rule affects neither legal relationships which developed prior to the publication of the decision nor the rights and duties which derived from them. However, Article 43.3 makes it possible for the Constitutional Court to order the revision of any criminal proceedings concluded by a final decision on the basis of an unconstitutional legal rule, if the convicted person has not yet been relieved of the detrimental consequences, and the annulment of the provision applied in the proceedings would result in a reduction or in the setting aside of the punishment, in the convicted personís release, or in a limitation of his or her responsibility. In addition, Article 43.4 gives the Constitutional Court the discretionary power to annul an unconstitutional provision retroactively or prohibit its application in the special case under consideration if it thinks that this decision would serve the stability of the legal order or an important interest of the applicant.

Under Article 48 of the Constitutional Court Act, a constitutional complaint may be lodged with the Constitutional Court where a constitutional right has been violated due to the application of a statute contrary to the Constitution, provided that all other means of legal remedy have already been exhausted. The constitutional complaint regulated by Article 48 of the Constitutional Court Act is a legal remedy under Article 57.5 of the Constitution. This follows from the fact that such a complaint can be lodged with the Constitutional Court after the exhaustion of other legal remedies. A legal remedy should have legal consequences, which should include the possibility for reopening a case. The constitutional complaint serves as a final legal remedy for those whose constitutional rights have been violated. It is the essence of every legal remedy that it should be able to redress the grievance. Without this possibility, there is no difference between the two competencies of the Constitutional Court: the ex post facto review and the constitutional complaint. In the latter case, the Constitutional Court reviews the constitutionality of the statute applied in the given case and not whether the given decision made by judges or state authorities violates any of the petitionerís constitutional rights. The legal regulation in force was absurd, since it made the constitutional complaint almost superfluous in relation to popular action. Hence, the constitutional complaint is meaningless from the petitionerís point of view if the Constitutional Court cannot remedy the petitionerís grievance.

The Constitutional Court can prohibit the application of the statute judged unconstitutional. The Code on Civil Procedure, however, did not make it possible for petitioners to reopen their case. The constitutional complaint, in its current state, was not an effective legal remedy. Consequently, the Constitutional Court established in its decision an unconstitutional omission in connection with the Civil Procedure Code and it called upon Parliament to regulate the legal consequences of a successful constitutional complaint.

Supplementary information:

The amendment in 1999 of the Act on Civil Procedure made it possible to move for a new trial of a case by ordinary courts provided that, on the basis of the complaint, the Constitutional Court establishes with retroactive effect the unconstitutionality of application in the given case of the contested statute. Thus, constitutional complaints have become an effective legal remedy.

Languages:

Hungarian.