The Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union held its latest colloquium on 13-15 October 2022 in Brno. Upon invitation from Dr. Petr Angyalossy, President of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, Dr. András Zs. Varga, President of the Curia and Dr. Judit Gyarmathy, Secretary General of the Curia also attended the event.
Within the framework of the Network’s professional colloquium, the Network’s extraordinary General Assembly had also been convened.
The participants of the event examined two main topics: i. judicial ethics, disciplinary proceedings and the liability of judges, and ii. the methods of how supreme courts can contribute to public trust in the judiciary.
In his speech during the session on the disciplinary liability of judges, the President of the Curia has agreed with his fellow chief justices that court and judicial errors are to be remedied through the use of the available legal remedy processes, and not by initiating disciplinary proceedings. The Hungarian system of service courts is independent from the ordinary judicial organisation and the members of the service courts are judges appointed by the National Judicial Council. The President of the Curia has stressed that there are no ethical and disciplinary matter-related problems within the Hungarian judiciary.
During the session on the topic of increasing public trust in the courts, the President of the Curia has emphasised that the holding of public supreme court hearings – that provide direct contact between the court and the parties – is an important means for strengthening public confidence in the judiciary. On the other hand, as the detailed presentation of the entire case file at the beginning of a public hearing can be extremely time-consuming, the Curia has proposed to the Ministry of Justice to introduce a set of simplified hearing rules.
On the internal attacks in respect of the Hungarian courts, President Varga has said that the publicity given to such internal disputes in the press is regrettable and has a destructive effect on public confidence in the courts.
Regarding the issue of commenting on the judges’ decisions, President Varga has pointed out that, in Hungary, judges do not comment on their own decisions, because they are not allowed to add anything to their written decisions and they are not allowed to interpret them. Hence, the Curia has established a system of spokespersons in which each individual Curia chamber has a spokesperson: they are the only ones who are allowed to talk to the press. In addition, the Curia publishes brief press releases on certain cases of outstanding public interest.
The Network’s extraordinary General Assembly decided to grant an associate membership status to Mr. Benedikt Bogason, President of the Supreme Court of Iceland and an observer status to Mr. Vsevolod Kniaziev, President of the Supreme Court of Ukraine within the Network’s organisation.
Budapest, 17 October 2022
The Communications Department of the Curia of Hungary