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Last update: 24-04-2007
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Bringing a case to court - Hungary

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This page is now obsolete. The original language version has been updated and moved to the European e-Justice Portal.


Imagine a situation in which you are in dispute with a company, an entrepreneur, your employer, a member of your family or somebody else in your own country or abroad. To help you solve this problem, you should ask yourself a number of questions:



 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Do I have to go to Court? 1.
2. Am I still in time to bring a court action? 2.
3. Am I sure that I should go to a court in Hungary? 3.
4. If yes, to which particular court in Hungary should I go given where I live and where the other party lives, or other aspects of my case? 4.
5. If yes, to which particular court in Hungary should I go given the nature of my case and the amount at stake? 5.
6. Can I bring a court action by myself or do I have to ask an intermediary, for example being represented by a lawyer? 6.
7. Who exactly do I apply to: to the reception office or any other administration? 7.
8. In which language can I make my application? Can I do it orally or does it have to be in writing? Can I send my application by fax or by e-mail? 8.
9. Are there special forms for bringing actions, or, if not, how must I present my case? Are there elements that have to be included in the file? 9.
10. Will I have to pay court charges? If so, when? Will I have to pay a lawyer right from the introduction of my application? 10.
11. Can I claim legal aid/exemption from costs? 11.
12. From which moment is my action officially considered to have been brought? Will the authorities give me some confirmation that my case has been properly presented? 12.
13. Will I have detailed information about the timing of subsequent events (such as the time allowed for me to enter an appearance)? 13.

 

PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS BEFORE BRINGING A CASE TO COURT

1. Do I have to go to Court?

It might be better to use alternative dispute resolution procedures. See that topic.

2. Am I still in time to bring a court action?

Time limits for bringing court actions vary according to the case. The question of time limits can be clarified with a lawyer, legal adviser or a Citizens Advice Bureau.

3. Am I sure that I should go to a court in Hungary?

See Jurisdiction of the courts .

4. If yes, to which particular court in Hungary should I go given where I live and where the other party lives, or other aspects of my case?

See Jurisdiction of the courts - Hungary

5. If yes, to which particular court in Hungary should I go given the nature of my case and the amount at stake?

See the Jurisdiction of the courts - Hungary theme!

THE STEPS OF BRINGING A CASE TO COURT

6. Can I bring a court action by myself or do I have to ask an intermediary, for example being represented by a lawyer?

As a general rule, a case of first instance can be brought to court directly, it is not necessary to consult a lawyer. Section 73/A of Act III of 1952 on the Code of Civil Procedure lists the cases where the participation of a lawyer is obligatory. These are typically in connection with appeals procedures to be conducted before higher courts. In these cases the proceedings of the party proceeding without a legal representative are of no effect, therefore - in order to avoid this - the parties are usually represented by a lawyer in the proceedings.

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There is of course the possibility of submitting the application by another authorised representative (a lawyer, for example) appointed by the party or its legal representative. If, however, the law provides otherwise and for example for the law makes personal participation obligatory in the relevant action, it is not possible to proceed via an authorised representative. The rules regarding who may be an authorised representative, who is excluded from the list of possible authorised representatives and the exact rules of authorisation are laid down in the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure, among the rules of representation.

7. Who exactly do I apply to: to the reception office or any other administration?

The application, as any other submission to the court, has to be submitted directly at the court bringing proceedings in the case and in all cases in one more number of copies than the number of parties concerned by the trial.

8. In which language can I make my application? Can I do it orally or does it have to be in writing? Can I send my application by fax or by e-mail?

Under the law the official language of the court proceedings is Hungarian. During the proceedings in Hungarian the parties and the other persons in the trial – naturally with the exception of the court (judge by profession, assessor, recorder) - are entitled to use their mother tongue, regional and minority language in other than official issues as defined in international agreements, irrespective of their knowledge of Hungarian.

By joining the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Hungary assumed the obligation to allow the following with regard to Croatian, German, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, and Slovenian:

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  • the party appearing before the court in person may use his/her regional or minority language without having to pay extra costs for it,
  • documents and evidence in a regional or minority language may be submitted, with the help of interpreters and translations, if necessary,
  • the legal documents prepared in the countries participating in the Charter and the documents prepared among the parties are not declared null and void merely because they were prepared in a regional or minority language, and they may be used against a third party not speaking this language.

The court is obliged to ensure the right to use one's own language for all parties and other persons participating in the trial by employing an interpreter or a translator. Thus, for the oral hearing of the party, the expert and the witness (Act on the Code of Civil Procedure, Sections 113, 167, 177), the court must order an interpreter to assist with the trial on the basis of Section 184 (1) of the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure. The court employs a translator for the certified translation of submissions (application) in a language other than Hungarian. The provisions of the Act concerning experts must be applied appropriately for the interpreter and the translator.

A certified Hungarian translation must be attached to the application submitted in a language not concerned by international agreements.

As a general rule, the application must be submitted by post or in person (during opening hours in the administration office or any time during working hours, by placing it in the collector box set up at the entrance of the court), in a written form at the court bringing proceedings in the trial; it is, however, also possible to submit the application or other request for litigation of the party not represented by a lawyer orally, and this must be recorded in a formal document before the local court or county court which has jurisdiction in the case. In this case the judge, court administrator or judge-in-training acting on behalf of the court provides the necessary information for the parties, and summons them on the spot to remedy deficiencies. Afterwards, for an application recorded in a formal document, the laws regarding applications submitted in a written form apply.

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Currently there is no possibility for the party to submit the application to the court via fax or email.

9. Are there special forms for bringing actions, or, if not, how must I present my case? Are there elements that have to be included in the file?

There are no special forms for bringing actions.

However, in cases where the claim for the payment does not exceed HUF 200 000, the claim may be imposed only via an order of payment. In this case the claim for the order of payment must be submitted on a special form for this purpose.

Action must be brought by means of an application. The application is the primary method of court protection of subjective rights via civil proceedings. The application is the written submission containing the claim that the claimant puts to the court. Its minimal requisites are listed in Section 121 of the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure. The application must always specify:

  1. the court in which proceedings are being brought;
  2. the name, permanent address and description of the parties and the representatives of the parties;
  3. the right that is wished to be enforced, presenting the facts and the evidence serving as a basis;
  4. the data from which the jurisdiction of the court may be established;
  5. the application (claim application) concerning the ruling of the court;
  6. whether there has been mediation in the dispute between the parties.

The application may therefore include more than the provisions require, but not less. There are some extra requisites that may apply depending on the nature of the case (e.g. the property deed).

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10. Will I have to pay court charges? If so, when? Will I have to pay a lawyer right from the introduction of my application?

Court charges have to be paid at civil proceedings. The amount of the court charges in the individual proceedings is determined by Chapter VI of Act XCIII of 1990 on Duties. The obligation to pay court charges at civil proceedings arises when the request for litigation is put forward, therefore it has to be paid together with the application. If the party does not pay the court charges together with the submission of the application or pays less than the court charges required by law, after the submission of the application the court asks him/her to pay the remaining court charges, indicating that if the court charges are not paid in full, the application will be rejected.

All this does not concern cases where the party is exempted from court charges or has the right to register court charges.

Exemption from court charges means either that the person obliged to pay court charges is exempted from paying, or it refers to the subject of the charges. Personal exemption from court charges as a benefit means that the party is exempted from paying, paying in advance and bearing these charges. The Act on Duties establishes those legal subjects, who may receive full exemption from charges. Some examples are: the Hungarian State, municipalities, budgetary agencies, NGOs, public bodies and public companies, churches, associations of churches etc.

In the case of exemption from certain specific costs both parties – whether a natural or a legal person – are exempted from paying court costs, irrespective of their income or financial situation and whether or not the legal dispute involved good or bad faith or the result of the dispute. Even if there is no international agreement or reciprocity, the foreign party is also entitled to this type of exemption from costs. On the basis of the current regulation, exemption from specific costs is granted for example in the following cases:

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  • cases where the court rejects the application of its own motion, without issuing a writ of summons;
  • counterclaims started with regard to a divorce case;
  • cases in connection with declaring someone dead, finding by the court that a death has happened, if missing in action or death came about due to an event of war or natural disaster etc.

The right to register court charges is a lower level of cost benefits. The party or intervening person receiving it is only exempted from advance payment or payment of the costs and in such a case the party or person obliged by court to do so will pay the court costs at the end of the proceedings.

Exemption from costs also contains exemption from court costs, and the party that due to its income of financial situation cannot bear the costs of a trial is entitled to receive it. The party that is exempted from costs is also exempted from paying court costs.

The lawyer's fee and the date of its payment depends on the agreement between the party and the lawyer.

11. Can I claim legal aid/exemption from costs?

See legal aid

FOLLOW-UP

12. From which moment is my action officially considered to have been brought? Will the authorities give me some confirmation that my case has been properly presented?

The action is officially considered to have been brought when the application arrives in the court office. The court does not inform the parties of the mere fact that the proceedings have been started. After the arrival of the application the court examines whether it contains all the necessary elements prescribed by law. In the case of a party employing a legal representative, if the application does not contain all the necessary elements, the authorisation of the legal representative has not been attached or the party did not pay the costs of the proceeding, the court must reject the application without issuing a writ of summons. In other cases, if the application is not complete, the court must summon the party to remedy this deficiency, or in order to have as speedy a trial as possible, it implements intermediate measures (e.g. it obtains documents from other authorities, it takes preliminary measures regarding evidence).

The court, after the procedure remedying deficiencies or after the intermediate measures, but at latest 30 days after the application's arrival at the court, decides on the day of the hearing and issues a writ of summons to the parties for that day. In the case of an application or an oral application it simultaneously serves the parties a copy of the formal record of the application. Thus the parties are informed of the action by this writ of summons.

13. Will I have detailed information about the timing of subsequent events (such as the time allowed for me to enter an appearance)?

The court brings actions to set the day of the hearing no later than 30 days after the application has arrived at the court and it issues a writ of summons for that day to the parties. In the case of an application or an oral application it simultaneously delivers a copy of the formal record of the application. Under the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure the court, beside serving the application, summons the defendant to answer the application in a written form by the day of the hearing, and in any event no later than the day of the hearing. The party may receive further information at the trial, based in the individual characteristics of the proceeding.

« Bringing a case to court - General information | Hungary - General information »

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Last update: 24-04-2007

 
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