With 335 votes for, 6 against and 2 invalid ones Parliament has elected Dr. Marcel Szabó Deputy of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, responsible for the protection of the interests of future generations. The Deputy Ombudsman has taken the oath of office. His mandate is for a term of six years.
The first amendment to the Basic Law has not answered all the questions according to which the ombudsman challenged the Transitory Provisions – stated Máté Szabó. The Commissioner finds that only those regulations of the Transitory Provisions are parts of the Basic Law that are necessary for the transition from the former constitution to the new one.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights refused to turn to the Constitutional Court for examining whether the Government forces to achieve exclusive power. Máté Szabó held that the Commissioner had neither competence nor standards for such an enquiry.
On the basis of the experience of the on-site inspections carried out by his working group Ombudsman Máté Szabó emphasised the problems related to the payment of the wages of persons in community employment, to the consequences of not participating in community employment and to the absence of training. Relying upon his preliminary report the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has already formulated his recommendations to the local governments concerned as well as to the competent Minister.
Access to law is one of the most important guarantees of the enforcement of the rule of law, it is however insufficient to ensure it only on a constitutional level. For those who do not possess sufficient financial resources the state shall provide legal aid so that they be able to use legal assistants necessary for the effective enforcement of their rights.
According to the Constitutional Court compulsory liability insurance, the payment of the liability insurance fees and the maintenance of the liability insurance legal relationship have the purpose to serve the financial security of lawyers and their clients; in the absence of a liability insurance legal relationship covering all members of the bar association public trust could be shattered if claims for possible damages against individual lawyers could not be settled for lack of funds.
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.