Judit Varga – Photo: BZT / Nóra Halász

Justice Minister: Hungary upholds judicial independence

Hungary upholds the separation of powers and judicial independence, Judit Varga, the justice minister, told a conference on Monday, noting that the relevant guarantees were enshrined in the country's Fundamental Law.

In her speech, Varga said the country’s judges were independent and could not be influenced in the course of their deliberations, while a procedure defined by law was the only way of sacking a judge.

Their independence is secured by the rule that justices cannot belong to a political party or engage in political activity, she noted, adding that the President of the Republic appoints judges, who must adhere to strict rules on conflict of interest.

Varga said the “crisis of confidence” between the European Union and Hungary was largely connected with “unjustified attacks” on Hungary’s justice system over recent years.

She said Hungary’s top judicial body operated in line with 21st century requirements, and the supreme court’s (Kuria) annual reports were proof that it operated independently, based on the rule of law, and the court had helped to strengthen society’s trust in the justice system.

Citing talks between the European Commission and the government, she said some provisions of the justice bill passed by MPs affected the court’s operations. She added that hopefully the law’s provisions would work in practice, “given good faith and patient interpretation” of the law, since the fate of the EU funds rightfully owed to Hungarians was at stake.

Varga said that guaranteeing uniform jurisprudence of the courts was among the top court’s most important tasks arising from the provisions of the Fundamental Law.

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