The Chief Justices of Central and Eastern Europe met for the eleventh time from 17 to 20 October 2021, this time in Bled, Slovenia.
The event was attended by Dr. András Zs. Varga, President of the Curia of Hungary, and Dr. Árpád Orosz, Head of the Civil Chamber of the Curia of Hungary.
The conference, organised by the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative, an international institute based in Prague, and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia, discussed the following topics: organisational and individual judicial independence, the role of judicial councils, efficiency of the judiciary, access to justice, measures introduced in courts because of the COVID-19 epidemic and their impact.
In his contribution to the debate President Dr. András Zs. Varga pointed out that no international standards prescribing the composition and election of the judicial councils existed, but the Venice Commission had issued several recommendations and opinions on that issue.
As to the issue of the independence of the judiciary, President Dr. András Zs. Varga stated that not the judicial systems of the various European countries, but administration of justice by the courts in Europe, as a whole, should be examined and compared with the legal systems of the states of the United States of America. In Hungary, respect for judicial independence had a long tradition, dating back to 1497. President Dr. András Zs. Varga emphasised that judicial independence must be understood not only in relation to the other two branches of powers or the European institutions, but also in relation to the judges’ own interests. Judicial independence is not a privilege. It is the duty of every judge to safeguard and respect it, and to maintain public confidence in it.
Budapest, the 20th of October 2021
The Communications Department of the Curia of Hungary