The stipulation of secrecy has been eliminated from the current oath of lawyers, which is contrary to Hungarian legal traditions; furthermore, it can destabilise the confidence-based relationship between clients and lawyers – the Ombudsman has found in the first report of his comprehensive inquiry into the profession of lawyers. Moreover, the fact that the oath confuses public law officials and lawyers working in the private sphere gives the impression that members of the profession of lawyers form part of the body of civil servants.
The practice of the penal authorities enabling them to listen in, for control purposes, into the phone conversations of detainees and their lawyers, directly endangered the right to defence of persons in pre-trial detention – the Ombudsman found in his report of last year. Following several exchanges of letters, the national commander of the penal authorities accepted the recommendation of the Commissioner and instructed his subordinates to terminate such controls.
The encoding method employed by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (hereinafter referred to as ‘Statistical Office') is contradictory and not properly elaborated, which involves the risk that, when the data of the population census of 2011 is processed, not everybody will be counted towards that nationality or linguistic community to which they wish to belong according their declaration. Ombudsman Máté Szabó proposes therefore that the working group of experts systematising the code numbers should start its work as soon as possible.
The mandatory conditions of student contracts laid down in a rule of law, in particular the regulation that provides for a long and general obligation to perform work in Hungary, constitute a disproportionate restriction of rights. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights therefore requested the Constitutional Court to examine whether the government decree on student contracts is compatible with the guarantees laid down in the Fundamental Law.
The provision of the Regulatory Offences Act making it possible to order confinement and detention for regulatory offences is contrary to the Fundamental Law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been promulgated in Hungary. Since, in spite of previous warnings by the Ombudsman, the new Regulatory Offences Act, effective as of 15 April, still allows the above sanctions, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has requested the Constitutional Court to review certain provisions of the Act.
Within the framework of the project entitled ‘The Losers of the Crisis' the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights is conducting a comprehensive inquiry of what phenomena and symptoms related to fundamental rights are brought about by this hard and critical period of economic, social and global crises; of the treatment of the uncovered problems and conflicts within the framework of the protection by state institutions; and of how eventually uncovered improper practices related to fundamental rights or the deficiencies and contradictions of the relevant legal background can be remedied with the Ombudsman's instruments for rights protection.
It is contrary to the Fundamental Law that pursuant to the Act on Legal Aid persons submitting a constitutional complaint may not receive legal aid – the Ombudsman has found on the basis of the petition of an individual. Máté Szabó has requested the Constitutional Court to examine whether the relevant provision is in compliance with the prohibition of discrimination and the obligation of the State to promote equality of opportunities, both laid down in the Fundamental Law, and whether they are not infringing the right to effective legal remedy.
The British Green House Think Tank has launched its latest report Guardians of the Future at a packed meeting at the London House of Commons on 10th January 2012. The report argues that we need a specialist jury of Guardians to protect the interests of future generations, who are disenfranchised within our existing political system. The Hungarian ombudsman for Future Generations, Mr. Sándor Fülöp sent a message of support to the meeting, this message can be downloaded here : Ombudsman
Further infromation on the initiative:
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights is of the opinion that the Transitional Provisions of the Fundamental Law adopted by Parliament in December 2011 in a separate document gravely violate the principle of the rule of law, may cause problems of interpretation and endanger the unity and operation of the legal system. According to Máté Szabó it raises concern that the Transitional Provisions contain, in many instances, rules that are obviously not of a transitional character. The Ombudsman has requested the Constitutional Court to examine whether the Transitional Provisions comply with the requirements of the rule of law laid down in the Fundamental Law.
The fact that protesters conducting a sit-down strike in the Mayor's Office in the 8th district of Budapest were taken to the police station was contrary to the right to peaceful assembly and to the right to liberty of the person. Instead of facilitating the resolution of conflicts between the people demonstrating in front of the building of the Public Service Television and the institution, the police have not even made an attempt at the resolution of the conflict and have thereby infringed the right to assembly and freedom of expression.
Ernő Kállai, the Deputy Ombudsman responsible for the Protection of the Rights of Nationalities living in Hungary makes plans for the next year and a half and builds upon the experience of the past years. Extracts of the recently finalised plans: