Hungary’s top court has rejected a submission requesting a review of the law on setting up independent administrative courts, establishing that the new legislation is in line with the country’s basic law, according to a statement published on the court’s website on Thursday.
Parliament in December 2018 approved the law that establishes a system of independent administrative courts with authority to make rulings in matters of public administration. The opposition staged a protest in the parliamentary chamber, barring the house speaker from accessing the speaker’s podium during the bill’s debate.
One-fourth of lawmakers submitted earlier this year a joint request to the Constitutional Court to review the law, saying that it goes against the Constitution and would harm judicial independence. They said that the law harms the independence and impartiality of the judiciary by putting the justice minister in charge of appointing and firing judges, as well as controlling the courts’ budget.
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In its ruling released on Thursday the top court said that assigning oversight of the system to the justice minister does not harm the independence of judges as long as it does not have direct influence on their professional operation and the ruling procedure.
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The justice minister’s authority to control the courts’ budget has been established in the basic law and the rules on appointing and firing judges provide sufficient guarantees that the principle of judicial independence can be exercised, the top court said.
In late May the government initiated postponing the introduction of the administrative court system, and submitted a bill to parliament accordingly.
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