The Constitutional Court is hears the president of the National Judicial Office behind closed doors

22th of April 2013, Monday 4:24 pm


According to the Institution of Eötvös Károly, the Hungarian Helsinki Comittee and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union it is injuring the power of the state's decision-making public, the right of the access of the public utility informations and the principle of the fair proceeding, that the Constitutional Court is hearing the president of the National Judical Office behind closed doors.


According to the announcement of the president of the Constitutional Court (AB)  is gonig to hearing Tünde Handó the president of the National Judical Office (OBH) with the public lock-out,  in coherence of the Hagyó-case   complaint of the constitutinal right's consideration. The basic of the proceeding is that the president of the OBH transposed the case from Kecskemét to Budapest. The petitoners of the  complaint of the constitutional right together with other things traversed that about the case-transference only the prosecution service evolved his opinions, the accuseds and their defenders not.


The AB locked out the representators of the proponents , what is indefensible. Sith after that the president of the OBH wrote down her statement about the complaint of the constitutional right, now she get an exlusive chance for personaly state her case in the face of the whole seats of the Constitutional Court, absence of the proponents.  The legal representatives of the petitioners will have to be satisfied with reading the transcripts following the hearing. The closed hearing violates the right to fair trial because it fails to guarantee equal rights to both parties. We are convinced, however, that closing the hearing also undermines the confidence in the fair procedure of the Court, while the reasoning provided also fails to substantiate the closed hearing. The Act on the Constitutional Court states that the Court must hold a public hearing if the petitioners request it and the President of the Court agrees. The President can only order a close hearing – according to the rules of the Court – if a public hearing would not foster a decision in the case. The President of the Court based his decision on this rule. The rule was seemingly adopted from the regulation of the procedure of the German Constitutional Court, which states “that the Court can neglect an oral hearing if it would not substantively foster the case.” However, this rule only allows the Court to forego a public oral hearing and does not allow for a closed one. The German Constitutional Court cannot hold a hearing behind closed doors.


The need for an open hearing shall not be based on whether the hearing will substantively foster the case. The openness merely serves the purpose of accountability towards the public: the decision making on rights and duties should be transparent and understandable. Openness will create and sustain public trust in the independence and impartiality of the Court’s decision-making process, which should also concern the discussion of all facts. Therefore, the decision to close a hearing in a given case undermines the trust in fair constitutional adjudication.


The procedure of the Constitutional Court may be public – excepting the public announcement of the decision – in exceptional cases when the Court decides to hold a hearing. When the petitioner calls for a public hearing, the Court may only reject the request on constitutional grounds. In this case the Court will hear the head of the main administrative organ of the judiciary and not an individual.


The hearing concerns this official’s right – which was extensively criticized by constitutional and international legal experts – to move cases from one court to another. One public entity will testify to another public entity in a case that concerns the basic rights of citizens. The subject and the content of the hearing is clearly a public affair, hence closing the hearing to the public requires justification. In this case the Court could only justify a closed hearing if the hearing concerned national security or classified information.



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