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Rights-Based Constitutional Review

Rights-Based Constitutional Review

Constitutional Courts in a Changing Landscape

Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series

Edited by John Bell and Marie-Luce Paris

Constitutional review has become an essential feature of modern liberal democratic constitutionalism. In particular, constitutional review in the context of rights litigation has proved to be most challenging for the courts. By offering in-depth analyses on changes affecting constitutional design and constitutional adjudication, while also engaging with general theories of comparative constitutionalism, this book seeks to provide a heightened understanding of the constitutional and political responses to the issue of adaptability and endurance of rights-based constitutional review. Providing structured analyses the editors combine studies of common law and civil law jurisdictions, centralized and decentralized systems of constitutional review, and large and small jurisdictions.

Chapter 10: Hungary

Renáta Uitz

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, constitutional and administrative law


In Chapter 10 (‘The illusion of a constitution in Europe: the Hungarian Constitutional Court after the Fifth Amendment of the Fundamental Law’), Uitz offers a critical account of the position of the Hungarian Constitutional Court as an instantiation of the perspective of a post-communist Central Eastern European jurisdiction. Whilst the Hungarian Constitutional Court used to be ‘among the most internationally respected courts for the quality of its jurisprudence [especially concerning fundamental rights] and for its contribution to transition to democracy’ and entrusted with a ‘formidable constitutional review forum’, the court is currently ‘best known as the victim of perpetual constitutional amendments’. The author’s argument revolves around the crucial issue of the vulnerability of the Constitutional Court which, due to jurisprudential and political factors, has been entangled in an increasingly uncomfortable position, stuck between a not-so-prone-to-constitutional-dialogue government and the imperatives stemming from Hungary’s European and international obligations. Uitz discusses to what extent dialogue among constitutional actors has become increasingly difficult as attested by the numerous constitutional amendments which have overruled the court in order to prevent its interference in matters of political significance for the government.

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