a)  Hungary / b)  Constitutional Court / c) / d)  07-04-2011 / e)  29/2011 / f) / g)  Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 2011/37 / h)  CODICES (Hungarian).
Keywords of the systematic thesaurus:
General Principles - Certainty of the law.
Institutions - Executive bodies - The civil service - Reasons for exclusion.
Fundamental Rights - Economic, social and cultural rights - Right of access to the public service.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Civil servant, rights and obligations / Civil servant, dismissal, reason.
Civil servants (those working for state institutions and local government authorities) cannot be dismissed from office without a reason being provided.
I. In December 2010 the governing two-thirds majority amended the Act on Civil Servants, allowing employers to dismiss civil servants without providing reasons for their action. Several trade unions and civil rights NGOs challenged this amendment before the Constitutional Court.
II. The Constitutional Court made reference to its earlier decision on the dismissal of government officials, observing that the legal frameworks for appointing and dismissing civil servants should be clearly regulated by the Act.
The Court did not question that the need to increase the efficiency, performance and standards of public administration might justify making it easier to dismiss civil servants, but emphasised that the legislature should develop rules to create a balance between the government’s objectives and the protection of civil servants’constitutional rights. It held that the possibility of firing a civil servant without giving any reason whatsoever is a disproportionate restriction on the constitutional right safeguarded by Article 70.6 of the Constitution to take public office. The Court noted that the Act should ensure protection in the event of unjustified dismissal of civil servants. The lack of normative rules concerning the dismissal of civil servants makes it impossible for ordinary court judges to decide on the legality of a dismissal. This violates the right to seek legal remedy. The Constitutional Court therefore annulled the legislation ex nunc.
Supplementary information:
Under the new Act adopted by Parliament on 23 May 2011 civil servants cannot be fired in the future without an explanation, but loss of trust and unworthiness can be accepted as reasons for dismissal. Under the new law, the employer must give an explanation and prove that the reasons for dismissal are realistic and lawful. The law outlines the possible reasons for dismissal. These include staff cuts if the position becomes redundant as a result of reorganization, being over the retirement age and if the activity that the job involves is discontinued. Dismissal will be mandatory if the person becomes unworthy of holding the position, if they do not properly fulfil tasks and if the employer loses trust in the employee. Civil servants will also be dismissed if they request this after a change in the scope of activities that the position involves or if they become unfit for the job as a result of health reasons. The new law will enter into force at the beginning of June 2011.
- Decision no. 8/2011.