Methodological issues in human rights/fundamental rights jurisprudence

date: 27 October 2021

location: Constitutional Court of Hungary, Budapest

presenters: Péter Paczolay, Tamás Sulyok

moderators: Zoltán J. Tóth

themes: Fundamental rights; Human rights

Discussion of Presidents

Tamás Sulyok, President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary and

Péter Paczolay, former President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary and Judge of the European Court of Human Rights.

(The debate was moderated by Zoltán J. Tóth)

Fundamental rights are becoming more and more important not only in law but also in everyday life. The protection of fundamental rights is provided by a growing number of bodies with different competences, the most important of which are those performing administration of justice. In Hungary, two such bodies are of particular importance: the Constitutional Court (CC), which is part of the internal institutional system, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which is the most important international organ in adjudicating human rights issues.

A wealth of information is available on the competences of these two institutions, the scope of human rights/fundamental rights protected and the extent of protection; the same, however, cannot be said of the procedural and, above all, methodological aspects of decision-making. Does the ECtHR/CC use jurisprudential sources of legal literature in its decision-making? To what extent does the CC/ECtHR take into account the practice of higher courts and constitutional courts in other countries in solving similar legal problems? What is the basis for deciding who will be the judge-rapporteur in a given case? To what extent can the CC/ECtHR be considered a „court of precedent”?

The aim of the discussion is to explore these questions in order to gain a better understanding of the mysteries of the „inner operation” of these two important bodies of fundamental rights adjudication, and of the procedural, consideration and decision-making aspects of these two important bodies, which are difficult to see from the outside. For this reason, the discussion is recommended for both lawyers and non-lawyers who are unfamiliar with constitutional law, with the emphasis on the methodological issues of decision-making rather than on the substantive issues of fundamental rights.

The discussion is organised by the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law, the Faculty of Law of Károli Gáspár University and the Hungarian Association of Law and Political Sciences.

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