Baka v. Hungary: judicial independence at risk in Hungary’s new constitutional reality

By Pieter Cannoot, academic assistant and doctoral researcher of constitutional law (Ghent University)

On 23 June 2016 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held that Hungary violated the right of access to a court (article 6, §1 ECHR) and the freedom of expression (article 10 ECHR) of András Baka, the former President of the Hungarian Supreme Court (now: Kúria). Several constitutional and legislative reforms led to the early termination of Mr. Baka’s mandate, expelling the critical judge from the highest office in the Hungarian judiciary, without providing any possibility for judicial review. The judgement is only the latest episode in a series of worldwide condemnations of Hungary’s new constitutional and human rights reality.

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No Access to Court: on Prison Leave, Social Reintegration and Legal Formalism

In the recent judgment of Boulois v. Luxembourg, the Grand Chamber denied a prisoner his right of access to court (Art. 6, § 1 ECHR) in a case concerning the refusal to grant him prison leave. The Grand Chamber’s reasoning is tainted by legal formalism and fails to do justice to the importance of social reintegration prospects for prisoners.

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