Justice minister-elect László Trócsányi, at a hearing in parliament’s judicial committee on Monday, called for the completion of efforts to set up a supreme public administration court.
Trócsányi noted that such a court had not existed in Hungary since 1949, when “communist dictatorship removed all institutions of the rule of law“.
Trócsányi, who has been justice minister since 2014, said he was proud of the eight regional courts set up during the previous government cycle, and expressed regret that the top public administration had not been established “for lack of the necessary consensus”.
The proposed public administration court would apply to citizens or legal entities involved in a lawsuit with a public authority in cases concerning, for example, permission to continue an activity.
The rules of civil courts should not apply in such cases, and instead an independent public administrative procedural code is needed, Trócsányi argued earlier, adding that with the exception of Slovakia, every European Union member state operated such a system.
When the court was first mooted, opposition parties had complained that the new court would have the power to judge legal disputes over decisions made by the media authority, the central bank, the Public Procurement Arbitration Board and the National Election Committee. One Socialist lawmaker said at the time:
“This is as if the accused were to choose the jury members from among his family members.”
Today, the minister-elect told the committee that the independence of judges was “democracy’s guiding star” and he rejected allegations that a new public administration court system would not fall in line with the rule of law.
He pledged to be “rigorous” in enforcing criminal law and promoting victim protection.
In the area of private law, he said priority would be given to “legal competitiveness”, requiring a review of insolvency, bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings and setting uniform rules on registering legal entities.
Trócsányi said his ministry would continue to seek cooperation with parliament’s justice committee, political parties and other players in the area of justice.
He further pledged to engage in “constitutional dialogue” with the Constitutional Court and the Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court.
Asked about the planned European prosecutor’s office, Trócsányi said that such a body would “project” the image of a federal Europe. “The concept Hungary insists on is a Europe of nation states,” he said, calling the debate over the issue “theoretical”.
The committee supported Trócsányi’s nomination for the post with 7 votes from the ruling parties in favour and 4 opposition votes against.
Featured image: MTI