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Hungary / Constitutional Court / 16/2014 (V. 22.)

Abstract consititutional review of a law

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Constitutional Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

Several regional court (törvényszék) judges suspended criminal proceedings and petitioned the Constitutional Court for the abstract constitutional review (egyedinormakontroll eljárás) of the Curia’s (Supreme Court) Decision on the unity of law No.2/2013 (2/2013. Büntető jogegységi határozat). In 2010, the rules on statutory limitations applying to community service work and fines, were increased from 3 to 5 years. However, the legislator failed to adopt appropriate transitional rules applicable to cases where the period of statutory limitation was running. Since the lower court practice was inconsistent, the Curia adopted a Decision No. 2/2013 prescribing that, if a judgment closing the case with binding force, imposed community service work or a fine on the defendant and the statute of limitation was not over by 1 May 2010, the period automatically increased from 3 to 5 years. The rule did not apply in cases where the sanction was time-barred on 1 May 2010. The petitioning judges claimed that the Decision retroactively severed the criminal sanction.