The Venice Commission considers the introduction of uniformity complaint and a limited precedent system to be appropriate in Hungary

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18 October 2021

The Venice Commission's Opinion, published today, has given a positive assessment on the functioning of the Curia in several respects.

Regarding the institution of uniformity complaint introduced in 2020, the Opinion stresses that the unification of jurisprudence is a very common supreme court competence, and the adopted decisions serve legal certainty and are in line with the requirement of judicial independence. The institution of uniformity complaint, as a means of remedy, meets the requirements enforced by the Venice Commission, especially because the related proceedings are conducted upon request of the parties, with the involvement of the parties. The legal rule that ordinary courts must respect the Curia judgments and must give reasons if they do not follow the Curia rulings has not been contested, either.

Regarding the composition of the uniformity complaint panel, which is based on the seniority of the heads of judicial panels, and which takes account of the nature of the case at issue, the Venice Commission has also stressed that it is based on strict and objective, predetermined rules. The Opinion has appreciated the Curia’s traditions and the fact that in establishing the case allocation procedure, the President of the Curia follows the recommendations of the Chambers and of the Judicial Council. The Venice Commission has accepted the Curia’s arguments that the system is objective, transparent, and as automated as possible.

The Opinion also contains proposals concerning the functioning of the Curia.

Comments related to pieces of legislation cannot be remedied by the Curia. Therefore, concerning the proposal to abolish traditional uniformity procedure – which raises issues of principles and has, in its current form, been part of the legal order since 1998 – the Curia can only examine whether this procedure is needed and, if the drafters of the law so wish, it can propose a solution for the restructuring of the institution.

The Curia will, however, immediately examine the proposals which can be considered within its own competence. One such proposal is that the uniformity complaint panel should comprise even more judges than at present, and only appointed heads of judicial panels should be members thereof. The proposal to make public the judicial bodies’ positions on the allocation of cases can also be considered. The President of the Curia will present these proposals and possible solutions to the judicial bodies, although if the Venice Commission's proposals become adopted, the system to be set up will probably be more stringent than the solutions applied by any European court, including the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights.

Budapest, 18 October 2021

The Communications Department of the Curia