Annual Report 2014

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies


1014 Budapest, Országház utca 30.
Postal Address: 1250 Budapest, Pf. 20.
Tel.: (1) 355 7384; fax: (1) 375 7858


I. Main duties of the research unit in 2014


The main duty of the institute is to carry out basic research within the field of legal studies. Basic research means having a primary aim of drawing the attention of the scholars and referring to the inherent scientific content of the research. It does not explicitly exclude the possibility/idea that legal practice might apply the results of the research). Within basic research (which is carried out under the aegis of universities, as well) our most significant and specific task is to accomplish large-scale common projects (e.g. the creation of online encyclopaedia, scientific commentaries) due to the simple fact that obviously the universities cannot carry out such projects, in such an extended way. Besides, the institute provides several publication fora, such as the Hungarian periodical entitled Állam- és Jogtudomány, the bilingual MTA Law Working Papers and the JTI blog.

Secondary tasks are prescribed by the normative acts of the Act on the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the statutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Centre for Social Sciences, as well. These tasks are the following: organizing scientific endeavours and co-operation in Hungary and abroad; receiving foreign researchers; strengthening the legal knowledge of the public; disseminating scientific results and social applicability.

A third set of tasks are the consultation of legislation, the training of experts, providing general consultation methods and delivering expertise. The institute sets guidelines in order to perform such tasks, which are as follows: (a) the request must be explicit from a competent body based on laws; (b) the outcome of the commission must have significant theoretical advantages and benefits, as well; (c) charge is paid in return of the work of the Institute (irrespective of whether the source of the payment is the state or a private party). In order to pledge the commission, the subject shall be suitable for the research unit; thus, it must not morally compromise the institute or ruin the prestige of the applicable research unit.

In sum, inevitably the most important task is to carry out high-quality basic research in an international context, which shall also be disseminated within various international fora.


II. Outstanding research and other results in 2014

a) Outstanding research and other results


In the year under review, two new researchers had been entered to the research unit upon a transparent, committee-based and meritocratic selection method; thus, in 2014 altogether 49 researchers (incl. 3 researchers from abroad) worked for the institute.

After the first Lendület (Momentum) project at the institute (Policy Opportunities for Hungary in the European Union: the Analysis of the Legal Framework), it is considered to be another great achievement that a new Lendület project had been launched within the research unit. The Federal Markets project carries out comparative and legal analysis (within the legal studies, as the first Hungarian project to do so) on the methods and measures of the main federal markets and global trade aiming to reach the free trade mechanism; besides, the projects analyses the legitimacy of certain member state provisions or regional restrictions. The personal and infrastructural background of the project had been established in the year under review, which guarantees the successful research (being influential for the European Union as a federal market) of the subject in the future.

In 2014 three new research groups (MTA Federal Markets Momentum Research Group, Budapest Research Group on Constitutional Theory, Research Group on Environmental Law and Environmental Policy) have been established and their first results have already been disseminated. The researchers are, simultaneously with their research tasks, in charge of administrative duties, which is a necessary precondition of a balanced and qualitative research administration. The organization portfolios and duties are public and can be downloaded from the website of the research unit.

There were two so-called Lendület (Momentum) projects (Policy Opportunities for Hungary in the European Union: the Analysis of the Legal Framework and the Federal Markets Research Group) and ten inter-departmental (or inter-institutional) research groups within the institute in 2014, which are the following: Budapest Research Group on Constitutional Theory (only in English); Research Group for Interdisciplinary Legal Studies; Research Group on minority Rights; Research Group on Administrative Law; Policy Opportunities for Hungary in the European Union: the Analysis of the Legal Framework; Federal Markets Momentum Research Group; discussion Group on Public International Law; Research Group of comparative Constitutional Law; and the Research Group on Multilevel Constitutionalism.

The researchers carried out 16 research projects within the research unit in the year under review, which are the following: How to Measure the Quality of Judicial Reasoning; The Legal System as the Infrastructure of Economic Development (only in Hungarian); The Science of Law. Essays in the Philosophy and History of Science, with Some Practical Advice (only in Hungarian); Legal Culture in Hungary; The Development of Electoral Laws and Party Systems in East-Central Europe (only in Hungarian); The Enforcement of EU Law against Member States. Methods against Defiance (only in English); CONREASON Project (only in English); Human Rights Encyclopaedia (only in Hungarian); Federal Markets Momentum Research Project; Hungarian Open Access Online Encyclopaedia of Legal Scholarship (only in Hungarian); The Legal System from Within (only in Hungarian); Public Policies and the Legal Environment (only in Hungarian); Policy Opportunities for Hungary in the European Union Momentum Project; National Legal Bibliography (only in Hungarian); Traditional and New Controversies in the Fourth Criminal Code of Hungary (only in Hungarian); and the Person and Personhood in Law.

Furthermore, 3 research projects had successfully been completed in 2014, which are the following: Hungary’s Changing Administrative Justice; Delay in Civil Procedure; and Changes of Cardinal (Two-Thirds Majority) Laws in Hungary 2010-2014 (only in Hungarian).


Researchers within the department carry out research within the fields of legal theory; constitutional theory; limiting the constitutional power; unconstitutional constitutional amendments; constitutional procedures; proportionality in constitutional law; constitutional reasoning; comparative and international constitutional law; European constitutional theory; human rights theory, practice and monitoring; corporate human rights obligations; comparative minority rights; anti-discrimination law; data protection; privacy law; ethno-racial data processing in the news media; the constitutional foundations of criminal law; the constitutional foundations of law enforcement; hate crimes and hate speech; transitional justice; anti-terrorist legislation and constitutional exceptionalism; conflict and post-conflict studies; financial issues of the political parties and campaigns.

Among the significant scientific results it should be highlighted that one researcher headed a project entitled CONREASON (with the partnership of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law), the edited book of the project will be published by Cambridge University Press); one researcher established the Budapest Research Group on Constitutional Theory with the Andrássy Universität (the events of the group are held monthly in German or in English); the researchers launched the preliminary works of the Hungarian open access online encyclopaedia of legal scholarship; and the researchers successfully completed the project entitled Changes of Cardinal (Two-Thirds Majority) Laws in Hungary 2010-2014, as well. The latter projects provided regular and public for a/ums for discussions, where the leading experts on cardinal laws discussed the experiences and ways of the public legal transformation. The papers on these issues (which were based upon a questionnaire on the relevant changes) had been published in the online periodical entitled MTA Law Working Papers. One researcher made a contract with Oxford University Press in order to publish the edited volume of project works (under the title of The Enforcement of EU Law against Member States, expected time for publication: end of 2015).

2 researchers of the department headed the successful and popular series of discussions (The Legal System Viewed from Within – only in Hungarian) aiming to provide an insider view for the legal scholars and the public on the functioning of relevant institutions within the field of legal studies. The leaders or the leading office-holders of such institutions delivered lectures; the video recording of the events can be downloaded from the Youtube channel of the institute ( Since the beginning of 2014 altogether 17 events were launched.

One researcher has been elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. One researcher at the department has been/was a visiting researcher at the Wirth Institute of Alberta University (Canada), while the latter researcher had been awarded the Award of Excellence for Women in Science (awarded by the Women in Science Association).

Under the aegis of the department, two foreign researchers (an Austrian and an American citizen) were employed in the year under review. Number of the researchers at the department: 13


The Department for the Study of the Domestic Implementation of International Law and European Law carried out research on the dogmatic and practice-oriented research into the relationship between international law, the legal aspects of international peace and security, the functioning and reform of international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, the judicial settlement of international disputes, the creation and succession of states, the international protection of human rights and minorities, international criminal law, transitional justice, the fight against corruption, the theoretical and practical issues of nationality and statelessness, international environmental law, nuclear law, the sources and history of international law; and the relationship between EU law and domestic law in classical theoretical and practice-oriented, multilevel research.

In the fields of the law of the European Union and private international law, members of the department conduct extensive investigations into the legal personality of the European Union, the interaction of accelerating integration, member state sovereignty and national interests, the federative elements in the system of European public law, the protection of fundamental rights and asylum policy, the role of the European ombudsman, the broadly understood competition law, the economic and financial, and budgetary and environmental policies, the commercial law, the law of civil procedure and the rules on conflict of laws in the European Union, the normative bases of European co-operation in criminal matters, the regulation of public services and new technologies, and certain theoretical questions of the European legal order.

Two significant scientific achievements have been reached by two researchers at the department. The monograph on compulsory jurisdiction in international law as well as the monograph on the protection of human rights within the EU has been published by Edward Elgar Publishing, the prestigious leading publishing house within the field of legal studies.

One researcher from the department was the principal investigator of the project entitled Human Rights Encyclopaedia, which was/is a path-finder research within the Hungarian legal scholar community. The project (including the leading experts of human rights from the institute and Hungarian legal scholar community, as well) proposed the publication of cca. 100 encyclopaedia articles; which refers to the full-scale analysis of human rights, both in the Hungarian and the international aspects. The overwhelming majority of the articles were completed in 2014, the publications of the encyclopaedia is expected in the near future.

One researcher took part in the European project entitled Ius Commune Casebooks (Horizontal Effect of Primary EU Law); under the aegis of this project, the researcher participated in a workshop in Porto and Lyon. The same researcher published a prestigious article in a double blind peer-reviewed journal (Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law), in which the researcher emphasized a comparative approach to European legal thinking which can significantly raise the attention of the scholar community.

One researcher was awarded the Herczegh Géza International Law Medallion and Scholarship, while other researchers received the Silver Eötvös Medallion.

An Austrian visiting researcher had been enrolled at the department in the year under review. Number of the researchers at the department: 21.


According to its profile, besides general questions of legal relations in private law (general clauses of civil law, right of property, contract law, right to compensation, corporate law and law of inheritance, insurance law), this department especially dealt with the analysis of the relation between law and economics (economic analysis of law, public economics) and questions of comparative civil procedure (insolvency law, legal assistance). The department was also involved with providing support for the preparatory work on the new Hungarian civil procedural law, as well as studying the impacts and supporting the implementation of the new civil code in practice. Via cooperating with researchers of other departments, researchers carried out analysis regarding the increasing role of human rights in legal relations of private law, problems of economic basic rights and the effect of the law of the European Union on private law. The criminal law aspects of the market economy were highlighted by the analysis of financial crimes and the works on certain basic issues of criminal procedure, as well.

The project entitled delay in civil procedure by the financial support of the Ministry for Administration and Justice had successfully been completed in the year under review; as the outcome of the research, numerous national reports had been compiled under the issues of the role of procedural laws, the use of dilatory tactics by the parties and their lawyers, which are capable of causing significant delay, the power and efficiency of the judicial fora as well as the tactical considerations in the litigation. The result of the project will contain a wide-scale collection of 15-20 national reports regarding the evaluation of delay within the given field (based upon the presentations of an international conference). The national reports and other relevant case studies will be published in a volume of proceedings soon. Within this volume, the authors will make proposals on surmounting these social problems being hindrances to the rule of law, as well.

Two researchers at the department were the principal investigators of the projects entitled The Legal System as the Infrastructure of Economic Development (only in Hungarian) and Public Policies and the Legal Environment (only in Hungarian). Number of the researchers at the department: 15.


b) Dialogue between science and society

Researchers of the Institute contributed to the scientific discourse, being in the focus of public attention, and disseminated academic knowledge in various fields. The events of the institute are almost without exception open to the public (although subject to prior registration on occasion), and their programmes and highlights are always published on the institute’s new, updated, and informative bilingual (Hungarian and English) website, on the newly established project of Jogtudományi Hírlevél (Newsletter on Legal Studies) and on the frequently updated Facebook profile of the institute ( In addition to publication on the website, all events are circulated among relevant Hungarian research units via email and other electronic communication (and in the case of foreign language events, the researchers' professional contacts and certain foreign faculty units are informed as well).

The project entitled Hungarian open access online encyclopaedia of legal scholarship was launched in 2014. The aim of the research is to compile and publish an open access knowledge basis of excellent quality on the widest horizon of legal scholarship within the framework of encyclopaedia articles; therefore the open access database of articles is able to promptly react to the changes within the legal system. The projects including the authors with prestige from the Hungarian legal scholarship community will promote the spreading of legal culture as well as develop Hungarian legal scholarship, legal practice and legal consciousness.

The project entitled The Legal System as the Infrastructure of Economic Development (only in Hungarian) was launched in the year under review. This project focuses on a wide-scale social demand because several economic and social surveys highlight the significance of the characteristics of the legal system (in general under the category of competitiveness). Undoubtedly, the stability, computability and concrete content of a legal system influence the states’ ability of attracting capital, and clearly show whether the social processes move toward the public good or not. The project has a double aim: first, to consider the substantive importance of the institutional expectations being present in the surveys, so to speak, to analyse whether they are suitable for promoting the public good and the social-economic development; secondly, the project evaluated the situation of Hungary, in terms of its suitableness and adequacy. The series of discussions contains 20 roundtable discussions and the scientific outcomes of the projects have been and will be published in the periodical entitled MTA Law Working Papers; while the video recordings can be downloaded from the Youtube channel of the institute.

The project ’Public Policies and the Legal Environment’ (only in Hungarian), started off in the year under review, aims to review and better understanding of the existing public policies as well as to determine the controversial issues through the lenses of ore or less legal viewpoint. The paper versions of the discussions on 20 public policies were and will be published in the periodical entitled MTA Law Working Papers; while the video recordings can be downloaded from the Youtube channel of the institute.

One of the main aims of the institute is to support the Hungarian legal scholarship community with scholarly administrative service. Upon this objective and following foreign examples the institute launched the Jogtudományi Hírlevél (Newsletter on Legal Studies), published every two weeks in an online form containing news on the current call for conference participations, PhD procedures, habilitations in legal scholarship, book reviews, personal information, and scholarships, as well. The first issue of the projects was published in the year under review.

The journal of the institute entitled Állam- és Jogtudomány (Studies in Law and Political Studies) published 4 issues in the year under review; the double blind peer-reviewed ‘A’ category (upon the system adopted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) periodical was and is a leading journal in the Hungarian legal literature. The editors were eight researchers of the institute, while the editorial board consisted of the academicians in legal studies and the deans of the Hungarian law faculties.

The MTA Law Working Papers (with ISSN number) edited by four researchers of the institute was launched in 2014 and has already published 63 papers. The working papers series is the first level within the hierarchy of the scientific publications, it is a publication forum for papers being not completed but worthy of the attention of the scholar community. The main objective is to promptly publish works for the scientific community and legal practice. The periodical offers a prompt and open access forum for papers written under the aegis of several projects at the institute.

The institute established the Pro Dissertatione Iuridica Excellentissima Award in 2014. The biannual competition is open for submissions of doctoral dissertations in legal studies completed in a PhD programme (in Hungarian, English, German or French) in a Hungarian university not more than 2 years prior to the call for application. The winner receives a certificate and a forum at the Academy to deliver a lecture on the outcome of the research and the winner also receives an offer to publish (if the dissertation is not yet published) the dissertation in a book series published by the Institute for Legal Studies and Opten Ltd. The winner is chosen by a committee (appointed by the director of the institute) via a meritocratic selection system. The first winner was awarded in the year under review.

The Institute, along with other institutes of the Centre, took part in the series of events entitled “Researchers’ night” in 2013 as well, aiming to bring the non-professional public into legal scientific discourse and to spread the scientific results achieved by experts among the broader society, where there was an excellent opportunity for the dissemination of the achieved scientific results of the researchers. Under the aegis of the programme, five researchers of the Institute delivered lectures in 2014. Based upon the number of participants and their feedback, continued support and demand for this series is anticipated.


III. A presentation of national and international relations


During the year under review, the majority of researchers participated in professional activities as members of various national and international professional associations, including 58 national (Hungarian) and 45 international professional associations and 6 Hungarian branches of international scholar associations.

Researchers of the institute also served as chairpersons of two national associations, as an honorary chairman of one, as deputy chairman of another international association and as a chairperson of the Hungarian branch of an international association. Additionally, the researchers worked as members of editorial boards for 27 national and 20 international scientific journals.

The overwhelming majority of the institute’s researchers were involved in teaching in bachelor, master and doctoral programmes of several institutions, such as the Budapest College of Management, Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, University of Debrecen, Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, Central European University, University of Miskolc, University of West Hungary, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, University of Pécs, Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Semmelweis Ignác University of Medicine, Széchenyi István University, National University of Public Service, Bibó István College, Universität Wien, Universität Heidelberg and Mathias Corvinus Collegium.

In the year under review, researchers taught 277 theoretical courses and 94 seminars, and supported the work of students in the completion of 112 theses at Masters level, which proves the high-level quality of their teaching skills. During this period, one researcher served as the head of a doctoral school, 23 researchers were involved in teaching in postgraduate doctoral schools, and 7 research fellows participated as core members in certain doctoral schools. Research fellows of the institute acted as supervisors in the preparation of altogether 51 PhD theses.


IV. Brief summary of national and international research proposals, winning in 2014


Under the project entitled MTA Lendület (Momentum) Hungary's opportunities of public policy in the European Unionanalysis of legal frames (1st September 2013 – 31st August 2018) the researchers carried out researches on the place of national interest within the complex system of the legal and political domain of the EU. That subject was the thematic issue of an international conference organized by the project in the year under review. In 2014, the leader of project was the co-editor of an English volume of proceedings related to the main subject. The researchers pursued the series of workshop discussions on the subject of national interest within the EU; besides the new blog of the research group had been started.

The Momentum Project Federal Markets (1 July 2014 – 30 June 2019, cca. 50 000 EUR) had been launched in 2014, the enrolment and organization of the personal and infrastructural background of the research had been completed.

International Visegrad Fund standard grant (Application of Competition Law in the Visegrad Countries, 15 824 EUR) had been received in 2014, the project start off in 2015; however, the researchers completed the basic conditions in order to start with the project with the cooperation of the Institute for Legal Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Comenius University (Bratislava) and the Palacký University (Olomouc). The research analyses the special characteristics within the law of competition of the V4 countries.

A project entitled OTKA K/112900 Institutional Reforms in the Ageing Societies (1 January 2015 – 31 December 2017) had been granted in the year under review. The researchers completed the basic conditions in order to start with the project.

A project entitled OTKA PD/113010 The Phenomenon of Hybridization in the Course of Application of the International Criminal Norms (1 September 2014 – 31 August 2016, cca. 12 000 EUR) analyses the transformation, modification and relevance of international criminal norms during the reception process into domestic law. The researcher of the project delivered lectures in Hungarian and international conferences and published two articles in English.

A project entitled OTKA K/105552 Legal Culture in Hungary - Theory and Empirical Research (1st October 2012 – 30th September 2015) had been continued, and the researchers took an empirical query on the legal culture in Hungary (the last query had been conducted in 1965 by Kulcsár Kálmán). The results show that the general legal knowledge had been increased since then; however, its cause is the advanced level of education. The outcomes had been disseminated at an international conference in Belgrade; the Hungarian version of publication is still pending in the ‘A’ category periodical entitled Pro Futuro.

The Bolyai János Scholarship BO/00747/14/9 (The Criminal Law Protection of the Credit System, 1 September 2014 – 31 August 2017) had been granted in 2014. Its aim is to propose a criminal law regulation which is in favour of the creditors, credit debtors and the state economy. By means of such measures the wished and balanced system of credit transfer can be shaped where the credit transfer functions in a transparent, efficient way with less social costs.

Under the aegis of the so-called Incubator grant (The Development of Electoral Laws and Party Systems in East-Central Europe, 1 September 2013 – 31 August 2015) the researchers delivered 4 lectures in international conferences, 4 lectures in Hungarian workshop events, and they published 1 Hungarian and 1 English article, while one research seminar on a Hungarian paper had been organized in 2014.

In frames of research conducted under the aegis of European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRALEX) (2011-2015), researchers published annual and national reports as well as thematic articles for the Agency.


V. List of important publications in 2014


  1. Fekete Balázs: Raising Points of Law on the Court's Own Motion?: Two Models of European Legal Thinking. MAASTRICHT JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN AND COMPARATIVE LAW 21:(4) 652-675. (2014)

  2. Halász Iván: Államfő, parlament, kormány. Az államszervezet fejlődése a visegrádi országokban 1989 után [Head of the State, Parliament, Government. The Development of the State System in the Visegrad Countries after 1989]. Budapest: Lucidus Kiadó, 370 (2014)

  3. Hoffmann Tamás: The Perils of Judicial Construction of Identity – A Critical Analysis of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia's Jurisprudence on Protected Persons. In: Fiona Jenkins, Mark Nolan, Kim Rubenstein (szerk.): Allegiance and Identity in a Globalised World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 497-521. (2014)

  4. Jakab András, Sonnevend Pál: Continuidad con carencias: la nueva Ley Fundamental de Hungría. TEORIA Y REALIDAD CONSTITUCIONAL 33: 379-398. (2014)

  5. Koi Gyula: A közigazgatás-tudományi nézetek fejlődése: Külföldi hatások a magyar közigazgatási jog és a közigazgatástan művelésében a kameralisztika időszakától a Magyary-iskola koráig [The Development of the Views on Public Administration: Foreign Effects within the Field of Administrative Law and Public Administration from the Era of Cameralistics to the Era of the Magyary School]. Budapest: Nemzeti Közszolgálati és Tankönyv Kiadó Zrt.,  487 (2014)

  6. Lamm Vanda: Compulsory Jurisdiction in International Law. Cheltenham; Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 336 (2014)

  7. Pap András László: Is there a legal right to free choice of ethno-racial identity?: Legal and political difficulties in defining minority communities and membership boundaries. COLUMBIA HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REVIEW 46:(2) (2014)

  8. Salát Orsolya: Comparative Freedom of Assembly and the Fragmentation of International Human Rights Law. NORDIC JOURNAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS 32:(2)  140-156. (2014)

  9. Szente Zoltán: Grundzüge des Verwaltungsrecht in gemeineuropäischer Perspektive: Ungarn In: Bogdandy Armin von, Cassese Sabino, Huber Peter (szerk.): Handbuch Ius Publicum Europeaum, Band V.: Verwaltungsrecht in Europa: Grundzüge. 1269 p. Heidelberg: C. F. Müller, 803-860 (2014)

  10. Tattay Szilárd: Est-il possible de fonder les droits de le personne sur le patrimonie? Analyse historico-conceptuelle des notions de dominium, de propriété et de proprité de soi. In: Muka Tshibende Louis-Daniel (szerk.): Personne et patrimonie en droit: Variations sur une connexion. Brussels: Bruylant, 99-121 (2014)

  11. Varju Márton: European Union Human Rights Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 265 (2014)

  12. Ződi Zsolt: Precedenskövetés és jogszabály-értelmezés [Following Precedents and the Interpretation of Laws]. ÁLLAM- ÉS JOGTUDOMÁNY LV:(3) 60-85. (2014)