A first-level administrative and labor court ruled today that National Office of the Judiciary president Tünde Handó abused her power by twice denying Judge Csaba Vasvári senior judicial posts despite him being the best candidate, reports index.hu.
This case is especially important because it highlights how the judiciary’s top person – a political appointee and wife of a prominent Fidesz politician – has abused her power in the manner in which she engaged in the process of judicial appointments. Many judges feel as though the judiciary is under siege, the result of immense political pressure and centralization under key political figures.
Judge Vasvári, who filed the lawsuit against Handó, was elected by a congress of judges in January to the National Judicial Council, a body that technically supervises the National Office of the Judiciary (OBT). Several judges have told the Beacon that since its creation in 2012, the OBT has failed to act as a check on Handó’s overbearing rule of the judiciary. When the terms of the OBT’s members expired in January, Vasvári (and another judge critical of Handó, Edit Hilbert) were elected to serve OBT.
In addition to abusing her power in the area of judicial appointments, Handó’s so-called “integrity code” has come under great scrutiny. In late 2017, the Constitutional Court found that certain elements of the integrity code – which imposed certain behavior criteria on judges – were unconstitutional.
Judges are increasingly vocal of their concerns and dissatisfaction with how the judiciary is run. The Beacon recently published several articles and interviews with judges that illustrate how these problems appear from inside the judiciary. For more information on the series, click here.