If in the pre-trial stage of criminal proceedings the accused person is unable to pay for the services of a lawyer of his or her own choice or the lawyer prescribed by law, the defence counsel for the accused is chosen by the same authorities which are otherwise interested in the success of the accusation. The present system of appointing lawyers in such a manner does not serve the effective enforcement of fundamental constitutional rights, in particular the rights of defence – states Máté Szabó Ombudsman in his recent report on a comprehensive inquiry into the legal profession.
In the course of its inquiry No.CFR-3203/2012, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights emphasized the need for a special fundamental and human rights basic training for trainee lawyers (and possibly even for lawyers), since he considering it as essential that lawyers should have adequate professional qualifications and that the possibility of their continuous training should be ensured and controlled.
Access to defence and representation by lawyers, the equality of procedural legal instruments and the operation of lawyers without fear and outside influence are of primary importance from the point of view of the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals. These requirements were put at risk by the amendments to Act V of 2006 on Public Company Information, Company Registration and Winding-up Proceedings which entered into force on 1 March 2012, therefore the Ombudsman started an ex officio inquiry in the course of which he requested information from the Minister of Public Administration and Justice and the President of the Hungarian Bar Association.
In many cases legal counsels have great difficulties to see their clients in penitentiary institutions because of a great number of strict regulations concerning entry. Often defence counsels are notified of investigative measures only hours before they are taken, so in these cases they can hardly or not at all participate at the hearings, therefore the right of detainees to due process of law may be infringed.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights turned again to the Constitutional Court and requested it to examine whether the regulation of student contracts, now laid down in an Act of Parliament but unchanged in its content, is compatible with the right to freely choose one's job and profession or the right to participate in higher education. According to the Commissioner the obligatory conditions of the contract continue to constitute a disproportionate restriction of rights, in particular the stipulation of a long-term and general obligation to perform work in Hungary.
Buildings in terrible conditions, plastic bottles used instead of toilets, abused persons in detention, continuous violations of human dignity. Prof. Máté Szabó ombudsman asked the General Prosecutor, the Chief of Police of Hungary and the Minister of Internal Affairs for intervention after inspections made on the spot at Nyírbátor temporary hostel of restricted access.
Young people preparing for their final examination but unable to get into higher education as a consequence of changed student quotas did not – and still do not – have at their disposal career orientation possibilities related to further education or to choices of professions or jobs, clear and easily accessible information material, or professional guidance on the basis of which they could make responsible and informed decisions. The Ombudsman attributes this to a failure of the competent organs and says that this situation has brought about a permanent and present danger of the infringement of legal certainty; furthermore, it carries in itself the permanent and present danger of infringement of the right to the free choice of a job or profession of young people starting their career.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights says that there is no effective legal remedy concerning the secret information gathering proceedings conducted by the Counter Terrorism Centre; therefore he requested Sándor Pintér, Minister of the Interior, to initiate an amendment of the Act on National Security Services.
The rights to human dignity and to liberty of the person of those taken to the police station were infringed, and their handcuffing was unlawful and disproportionate. In his inquiry into the taking to the police station of Roma youths the Ombudsman underlined that the measure disturbed the order of the school, and the children's rights of those witnessing it were also infringed.
Dr. Sándor Fülöp, Deputy Commissioner responsible for the protection of the interests of future generations, handed in his resignation on 29 August 2012. Dr. Sándor Fülöp indicated that his resignation will be effective as of 1 September 2012.
It is adequately ensured that the Hungarian Bar Association take effective action against lawyers who infringe their obligations, but the Ombudsman is concerned that time limits for proceedings are lacking. Máté Szabó Ombudsman considers that a new regulation ordering the fining of lawyers also constitutes a danger for legal certainty
According to the opinion of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights the legal provisions regulating the recognition of churches are in contrary to the principle of separation of power, to the right to fair procedure and to the right to legal remedy. After analysing the initiatives of many religious organisations Szabó Máté turned to the Constitutional Court.