Constitutional Court annuls national security screening of judges

June 14, 2017

The Constitutional Court annulled regulations on Tuesday requiring that judges undergo national security screenings, reports based on the state news agency (MTI).

Péter Darák (pictured), Chief Justice of the Curia, Hungary’s highest court, had formally requested of the Constitutional Court that it annul provisions of the national security law prescribing the screening of judges. He stressed that, while the law exempts MPs, judges were still undergoing the process. Darák also argued that the law’s application is not clear. According to him, the regulations are unconstitutional because they violate judicial independence, the rule of law, and the principle of separation of powers.

The Constitutional Court declared on Tuesday that Darák’s proposition is substantiated.

“The protection of national security interests is a constitutional goal and a national obligation,” the court said. “However, the law in question is open to such abuse that is not compatible with judicial independence. The paramount importance of judicial independence to the rule of law requires that regulations pertaining to the judiciary be extremely clear.”

The Constitutional Court has already struck down some parts of the 2013 national security law deemed unconstitutional, thus obliging the National Assembly to modify the law in 2014.

The latest annulment of regulations comes into force on 29 June 2018.