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Last update: 13-07-2006
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Organisation of justice - Hungary

In Hungary, the administration of justice is provided by the Supreme Court (www.lb.hu/english/index.html), the high courts of justice (High Court of Justice of the Capital, High Court of Justice of Szeged, High Court of Justice of Debrecen, High Court of Justice of Pécs, High Court of Justice of Győr), the Municipal Court of Budapest and the county courts (a total of 20), as well as local (111) and labour courts. The labour courts are tribunals dealing with special cases, and there is one in each of the 19 counties and in the Capital (Budapest). In the Hungarian judicial system, the jurisdictions of the courts of first instance and the courts of appeal of second instance are controlled within the state’s public administration system by principal rule.

The system of courts

Courts of first instance

  • according to the principal rule: local courts, with their seats located in major cities. In Budapest, there are so-called district courts (a total of 6), the jurisdictions of which extend to districts of the capital defined by law. All in all, there are 111 local courts in the territory of Hungary.
  • the county courts and the Municipal Court of Budapest (a total of 20 courts) act in the following matters:
    • lawsuits under property law, in which the amount of the claim exceeds HUF 5 million (20,000 euros), except if the legal action is initiated along with a petition for divorce
    • lawsuits relating to copyright and adjoining rights and industrial patent protection
    • lawsuits relating to claims for compensation for damage caused during official procedures by persons acting within their public administrative competence
    • lawsuits relating to agreements on the carriage and forwarding of goods
    • company registration procedures
    • lawsuits on the violation of civil rights
    • lawsuits relating to securities
    • appeals against public administration resolutions (public administrative cases)
    • press rectification suits

Courts of second instance

  • the county courts or the Municipal Court of Budapest in cases belonging to the jurisdiction of local courts (municipal, district courts), Municipal Court of Budapest
  • the high courts of justice in cases belonging to the jurisdiction of county courts (Municipal Court of Budapest)

The council of first instance of county courts obviously differs from the composition of councils acting in appellate procedures.

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Review : The Supreme Court acts in proceedings initiated on the basis of a motion for review submitted against a final judgment. The Supreme Court may modify and void the appealed decision. Its seat is in Budapest.

Composition of courts

The court of first instance usually consists of one professional judge, but the law may specify lawsuits where the court is made up of one professional judge and two associate judges. The associate judges are appointed by representatives of the local government. In the proceedings, the associate judges have the same rights and obligations as the professional judge.

The court councils of second instance (Municipal Court of Budapest, county courts and high courts of justice) consist of three professional judges.

In the course of judicial review, the Supreme Court makes decisions with three professional judges.

Which court shall I resort to?

If you would like to present a petition to a Hungarian court, you have to send it to the court of first instance competent at the defendant’s domicile.

Special rules:

    • the court competent at the domicile of a child may act in cases relating to the placement of children in divorce matters,
    • legal actions relating to real estates may be initiated at the court competent where the property is located,
    • as regards the enforcement of claims arising from contracts made between business organizations, the petition may be presented to the court competent in the place of execution or performance of the contract,
    • lawsuits on compensation may be brought to courts competent in the place where the damage was caused
    • a claim based on a bill of exchange may be put forward to the court competent in the place of payment of the bill.

How do I get information on the addresses of competent courts?

Please visit the website www.birosag.hu/engine.aspx?page=Birosag_english, where you can find all Hungarian courts. Please use the search function under www.birosag.hu/illetekesseg magyar, and after entering the name of the settlement the system will inform you of the availability of the courts having a general competence. Should you need information on the addresses of district courts of Budapest, please visit the website www.fovarosi.birosag.hu/angol/index_en.htm

Judicial review Supreme Court

courts of second instance 19 county courts 5 high courts

courts of appeal + Municipal Court of Budapest of justice

courts of first instance 111 local courts 20 labour courts 19 county courts

courts of original jurisdiction + Municipal Court of Budapest*

« Organisation of justice - General information | Hungary - General information »

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Last update: 13-07-2006

 
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