The government mulls unconstitutional changes in the qualification system of judges who will serve in the new administrative courts, scheduled to start operation on January 1, 2018, Gábor Staudt of the opposition Jobbik party said on Wednesday.
By modifying the qualification process for such judges, [ruling] Fidesz is trying to circumvent a law requiring a two-thirds majority with a ministry decree, the lawmaker told a press briefing.
It is “arrogant beyond measure” that Fidesz tries to “change the goalposts” this way, he said.
By ranking “administrative experience” higher in the qualification process than judiciary experience, Fidesz is trying to enable “loyal officials” to easily qualify as judges, Staudt said, adding that this system would pave the way for “parachuting” public servants or even ministry officials into the administrative courts.
If need be, Jobbik will turn to the Constitutional Court, he said.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister László Trócsányi said in a statement that lawyers working in public administration are at a disadvantage when applying to become judges, and their experience should be recognised more. He added that the ministry’s aim is to improve the judiciary procedure with the move.
The statement noted that due to their specific area requiring economic expertise, administrative courts are separated from other branches of the judiciary in almost all EU countries.
In the statement, Trócsányi also rejected the article on news website 444.hu, which compared the Hungarian measures to the changes in the Polish judiciary system, as one “lacking fundamental knowledge of the judiciary” and “based on assumptions”
The bill to set up administrative courts was first accepted by parliament in January 2017, but then rejected as unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. The ministry vowed to restart the debate in time so that the administrative courts be set up by January 1, 2018, as originally planned.