Hungarian justice minister: Independence of judges not in danger
The newly established administrative courts do not endanger the independence of the judiciary in Hungary, and the Venice Commission’s opinion on the matter was “balanced and took the aims and efforts of the Hungarian government into account,” Justice Minister László Trócsányi said in an interview published in daily Magyar Nemzet on Monday.
Administrative courts dealing with matters of public administration are set to start operating as an independent branch of the judiciary from January 1, 2020. Trócsányi had requested that the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission review the procedure to avoid discrepancies between international and Hungarian legislation. The commission’s opinion was published on Friday.
In the interview to Magyar Nemzet, Trócsányi said that
next to criticism, the commission had also acknowledged the Hungarian government‘s efforts to align the country’s legal system with “the country’s traditions and European standards”.
The commission “admitted” that several countries operate administrative courts separately from other courts of justice, Trócsányi said.
The commission also said that ministerial oversight over the branch is justified, he added. In several European countries, courts are managed by the minister of justice, “with the approppriate checks and balances in place”, he said. This means that the minister is responsible for providing the equipment for the courts’ smooth operation and prepares and submits the budget of administrative courts to parliament.
Regarding the wages of judges, Trócsányi said that a wage raise in the sector is a priority of the 2020 budget.
“I don’t see why wages could not be raised starting fom January 1, 2020,” he said.