Annual Report 2016

Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies
1014 Budapest, Országház street 30.
Postal Address: 1250 Budapest, P.O.B. 20.
Tel.: (1) 355 7384; fax: (1) 375 7858

Director: Dr. Jakab, András DSc.

I. Main duties of the research unit in 2016

The main duty of the institute is to carry out basic research within the field of legal studies. We define basic research as research which has the academic community as its primary target audience. The term also refers 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 joint projects (e.g. the creation of an online encyclopaedia and scientific commentaries) due to the simple fact that the universities cannot accomplish such projects, in such an extended way. Besides, the institute offers several publication fora, such as the Hungarian periodical entitled Állam- és Jogtudomány, the bilingual MTA Law Working Papers and the JTI blog. In addition, the institute launched the fortnightly Newsletter on Legal Studies as well as the Legal Studies Search Engine.

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 and disseminating scientific results and their social applicability.    

A third set of tasks includes consultation on 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 for 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 at various international fora.

In the year under review, the number of researchers was 47, from whom there were 14 women (1 professor emerita, 5 research fellows, 6 junior research fellows, 1 administrative assistant and 1 research assistant) and 33 men (2 professors emeriti, 4 scientific advisors, 10 senior research fellows, 12 research fellows, 3 junior research fellows, and 2 research assistants). One researcher is the ordinary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 6 researchers have the doctoral title of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (DSc.).

During the year under review, 3 foreign researchers (Bosnian, Polish and Italian citizens) worked for the institute; their admission had taken place upon a transparent, committee-based and meritocratic selection method.

There are three scientific departments at the research unit, which are the following:

  • Department for the Study of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law;
  • Department for the Study of the Domestic Implementation of International and European Law;
  • Department for the Study of the Private, Criminal and Administrative Law Guarantees of Market Economy.

Departments within the institute are administrative organizational units, established along broadly understood research fields. Every researcher is a member of only one department. The names of departments reflect the research priorities of the research unit. The tasks related to the functioning of each department are fulfilled by the applicable head of department. The administrative duties of the researchers are carried out by each of them, which is the precondition of the balanced and qualitative science organization and science support. These portfolios are public and uploaded to the homepage of the research unit. The institute is eager to assist our guest researchers from abroad (whether or not they are of Hungarian origin) thus, the formal and informal internal letters, emails and messages are written both in Hungarian and English; beyond, the research unit provides a bilingual sheet for new researchers about essential information.

II. Outstanding research and other results in 2016

a) Outstanding research results

The researchers completed the project entitled A magyar jogrendszer állapota (The State of the Hungarian Legal System). The outcome of the long-term research was the volume of proceedings edited by the two main investigators of the project; that scientific output reviews the current status of the Hungarian legal system using an interdisciplinary approach. Besides analysing the relevant regulation, the researchers scrutinized the social environment, the expected effects, and the aims of the regulations as well as their social acceptance. The analysis focused (which is rather unconventional in the continental, non-Anglo Saxon legal thinking) on predictions and modification advice for the legislators. The c. 1000-page-long overview provides valuable and conducive support for university education, the legal practitioners as well as the general public on being active in public issues. The volume aims to establish a tradition: based on future data and research, the researchers would publish such volumes periodically. The president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences often appreciated and acknowledged the results of the project by mentioning the volume in several interviews. The investigators organized a book launch in 2016, where the volume was reviewed and presented by the vice-president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Under the project entitled MTA Lendület (Momentum) Hungary's opportunities of public policy in the European Unionanalysis of legal frames (1 September 2013 – 31 August 2018) the members of the research group published the expert review under the title of “The Legal and Regulatory Environment for Economic Activity in Hungary”, besides they prepared a legal mapping report on the freedom to provide services. The researchers organized the second annual conference on EU law in the topic of public markets: “Public Markets in the EU: A Legal Myth or an Economic Reality?” Two members of the research group published an article in a prestigious journal (with high impact factor), namely the Common Market Law Review. The researchers negotiated with a leading international publishing house, Springer on the publication of the final outcome of the project by agreeing on the publication of the volume of proceedings in 2018 under the title of Between Compliance and Particularism: Member State interest and European Union Law. In the year under review, the report of the European Parliament cited many research results of the group. The European Parliament Research Service published a comprehensive report on the EU-based evaluation of mechanisms on democracy, rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights.

Under the aegis of the project entitled Hungarian open access online encyclopaedia of legal science (Internetes Jogtudományi Enciklopédia), the writing procedure of the articles has started, while the designation of the titles and the name of the authors have been completed. Approximately 1500 encyclopaedia articles (generally one author’s sheet per article) were assembled; prestigious authors 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 in a multi-year process. The encyclopaedia is expected to be an institute-founded, high profile, open access online knowledge base embracing the overwhelming majority of the Hungarian community of legal science. This project is assuredly the greatest and most ambitious endeavour of the Hungarian researchers of legal science.  

A new book entitled The Principle of Effective Legal Protection in Administrative Law – A European Perspective has been published by Routledge, London. This collection presents a comparative analysis of the principle of effective legal protection in administrative law in 14 European countries, and in the practice of the relevant European courts. The book is the result of an international research project organised and financed partly by the institute. It is the first comprehensive study of the topic based on extensive comparative research, and its Portuguese edition (in Brazil) is under preparation.

An influential monograph of one of the researchers has been published under the title of European Constitutional Language by the prestigious, world-famous Cambridge University Press. Addressing constitutional lawyers, this book discusses the fundamental questions of constitutional law from a theoretical perspective. Its aim is to map the immense literature on these questions (i.e., to provide a well-structured and concise overview) and to give methodologically clear, partially novel answers, as well as to demonstrate the practical relevance of constitutional theory through examples of its application, thus highlighting how different theoretical answers (as implied premises) lead to different legal solutions. The monograph – published in Hungarian and in English at the same time – is the result of a decade of research and its content will, hopefully, be useful to experts both in the theory and the practice of the field. Its central thesis is that the key concepts of constitutional law should be interpreted as answers to past and present challenges in society. The book launch of the monograph took place at the research unit in the year under review.

The researchers completed the project entitled Person and Personhood (Személy és személyiség) with the volume of proceedings ’Person and Personhood in Law’ (Személy és személyiség a jogban) published by the Wolters Kluwer. The book chapters widely review the constitutional and civil law aspects of the subject.

The project entitled OTKA K112900 Institutional Reforms in the Ageing Societies (Intézményi reformok öregedő társadalmakban) has continued during the year under review. The principal investigator published an open-access paper under the title of Sustainability in European Constitutional Law on the website of Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law, and the same researcher has published the paper (Fenntarthatóság az európai alkotmányjogban) in a Hungarian law journal, as well.

One researcher published two book chapters in English and submitted a journal article in Hungarian under the aegis of a project (financed by Bolyai János Research Scholarship) entitled The Soft Law within the practice of the European Ombudsman (Soft law megjelenése az Európai Ombudsman eljárása során). The project analyses the dimension of the procedure of ombudsperson and the legal sources of the European Union with special regard to the soft law mechanisms.

The project entitled The Interpretation and Functioning of the Right to Healthy Environment within the Central and Eastern European Region – Legal and Public Policy Frames has been pursued during the year under review by a kick-off event held at the Czech Academy of Sciences. The researchers (esteemed experts of the field in respective countries) of the project presented the case studies on the constitutional and institutional regulation of the given countries. The common elements and the dogmatic basis of the country reports were assembled and compiled, and after the methodology had been clarified, they prepared their papers (case studies) which are expected to be published in 2017.

The principal investigators published the volume of proceedings entitled The Role, Science and Benefit of Legal Science (A jogtudomány helye, szerepe és haszna); one of the principal investigators and co-editors is a researcher of the institute. The 20-page-long introductory article is followed by 11 articles in 4 main chapters. The first chapter deals with the theoretical issues of legal science, highlighting different views among the authors. The second chapter presents the relations of legal science and the different branches of law, namely administrative law, constitutional law and criminal law, as well as their interactions with jurisprudence. The third chapter reviews the aspects of the history of legal science, while the fourth chapter analyses the relation between legal science and legal practice based on empirical and statistical methods. The volume may benefit lawyers, lecturers and the public, who are interested in the subjects of connection, methodology and theoretical debates between legal science, law-making and legal practice.

One researcher was a co-author of the book entitled A Contemporary History of Exclusion – The Roma Issue in Hungary from 1945 to 2015 published by the CEU Press. The co-authored book deals with the history of the exclusion of the Roma people in Hungary. Assuredly, the volume analyses a contemporary issue being relevant to the Hungarian public and its experiences and findings could promote the social integration of the Roma people.

One researcher from the department was the principal investigator of the project entitled Human Rights Encyclopaedia (Emberi jogi enciklopédia), 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 the Hungarian legal scholar community, as well) proposed the publication of c. 100 encyclopaedia articles; which refer to the full-scale analysis of human rights, both the Hungarian and the international aspects. The overwhelming majority of the articles were completed in 2016, the publications of the encyclopaedia is expected in the near future.

Two researchers obtained the title of Doctor of Science (DSc.), while one researcher gained a PhD degree in 2016. During the year under review, one young researcher joined the work of the institute.

One researcher obtained a Marie Curie Fellowship at the Institute for Sociology of the Slovakian Academy of Sciences, where the colleague carries out research on the operationalization of ethnic identity for a three-year period.

One researcher took part as the principal Hungarian investigator within the submission of two international projects, namely the COST Action Proposal OC-2016-2-21664 – Legality in Crisis? The Status of Law in a Transforming Global Order and the COST Action Proposal OC-2016-2-21376 – Reconsidering Genocide: The Concept, Politics and Construction of Genocide. The decision on these projects is due to the early period of 2017.

One researcher took part in the 21st annual session of the prestigious World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities at Columbia University. The researcher delivered a lecture on a submitted paper.

One researcher participated at the 24th annual conference of NISPAcee (Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe) by having delivered lectures on more papers and presenting reviews.

One researcher delivered lectures at the University of Aberdeen and the Institute for International Legal Studies (Rome, Italy) on the subjects of Hungarian refugee issues and the constitutional status of ethnic identity within the Hungarian Fundamental Law.

In 2016, there were 3 so-called outstanding and 6 recognized projects according to the relevant rules of the research centre.

The outstanding projects are the following:

  • a Policy Opportunities for Hungary in the European Union – the analysis of the legal framework (HPOPs), 6 researchers took part;
  • The regulation issues of the service providers on internet traffic direction (Az internetes forgalomirányító szolgáltatások szabályozási kérdései), with the contribution of two researchers from the research unit;
  • Legal Culture in Hungary – Theory and Empirical Analysis (A magyar lakosság jogtudata) by embracing four researchers from the institute.

The recognized projects are the following:

In the year under review, several researches participated in the projects of other institutes of the research centre, such as the

  • Answers of Identity Policy to Social Conflict – Analysis on European, National and Local Levels (Társadalmi konfliktusokra adott identitáspolitikai válaszok az európai, nemzeti és lokális szintek viszonylatában), where two researchers took part;
  • Integration and Disintegration Processes in the Contemporary Hungarian Society (Integrációs és dezintegrációs folyamatok a mai magyar társadalomban) embracing 5 researchers from the research unit;
  • one researcher participated in the project entitled ‘POPULPOL. Populism in policy making’.

The double blind peer review journal of the institute, the Acta Juridica Hungarica - Hungarian Journal of Legal Studies had been introduced into the HeinOnline database in April 2016.

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.

MTA Law Working Papers (with ISSN number) edited by four researchers of the institute published 17 papers in 2016. The working paper series is the first level within the hierarchy of the scientific publications, it is a publication forum for papers 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.

b) Science and society

Researchers of the institute contributed to the scientific discourse 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 updated and informative bilingual (Hungarian and English) website, on the newly established Jogtudományi Hírlevél (Newsletter on Legal Studies), Jogtudományi Kereső (Legal Studies Search Engine) 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). In 2016, the researchers uploaded 6 videotapes to the official YouTube channel of the research unit:

Several events of the institute drew the attention of the general public; two of them shall be highlighted. Two roundtable discussions were organized by the researchers; the 1946 and 2015 judgments on Bálint Hóman as well as the criminal procedure of Béla Biszku had been discussed in detail at an event attended by many. The discussions are uploaded to 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 calls for conference participations, PhD procedures, habilitations in legal scholarship, book launch events, personal information, and scholarships as well. In 2016, 22 newsletters were sent to numerous recipients.

The institute launched the call for the Pro Dissertatione Iuridica Excellentissima Award, which gained significant attention from the potential legal community, and the institute has received numerous applications. The winners were chosen by a committee (appointed by the director of the institute) via a meritocratic selection system, the award ceremony will take place in early 2017.

The final conference of the project The Legal Culture of Hungary – Theoretical and Empirical Analysis (A magyar lakosság jogtudata – elméleti és empirikus elemzés) had been successfully organized, closing a multi-year research project dealing with the attitudes and knowledge of the public on law and legal consciousness. The project was seeking answers on the role and effect of law on the public thinking and the functioning of society. The event took place in the presence of a varied audience and solid media presence.

The research unit co-organized a 2-day long conference on the subject of the new civil procedure act and its relations with the European civil procedure law. The co-organizers were the National Office for Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice. The lectures of the conference pointed out relevant EU-law connections; thus, the researchers, legal practitioners as well as the public could benefit from the presentations of the event.

The researchers of the institute organized an event on the professional heritage of László Péter, who passed away in 2008 in the United Kingdom. Prof. Péter was a Hungarian-born acclaimed public law historian and social scientist. Under the aegis of the project, the lecturers delivered lectures on law and literature as well as the intellectual heritage of Prof. Péter.

One researcher was an expert at the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Warsaw. In recognition of the researcher’s expert work, the colleague was invited to take part in the programme entitled ‘Bridge Builders’.

One researcher edited the newsletter of Criminology in Europe (under the aegis of the European Society of Criminology). The 20-40 page-long newsletter is published three times a year in 200 issues. The newsletter is reviewed and introduced into EBSCO and other relevant databases, containing scientific essays which are regularly cited in prestigious publications.

The Institute, along with other institutes of the Centre, took part in the series of events entitled Researchers’ night (Kutatók éjszakája) in 2016 as well. Under the aegis of the programme, 5 researchers of the research unit delivered lectures on their current research topics. Based on the number of participants and their feedback, continued demand for this series is anticipated.

III. A presentation of national and international R&D relations in 2016

The overwhelming majority of the institute’s researchers were involved in teaching in bachelor, master and doctoral programmes of several institutions (as part of relevant R&D activities), such as Babeș-Bolyai University (in Romania), Bocconi University (in Italy), 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, 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, Mathias Corvinus Collegium, University of Hull and University of Luxembourg.

In the year under review, researchers taught c. 100 theoretical courses and 60 seminars, and supported the work of students in the completion of 72 theses at Masters level, which proves the high-level quality of their teaching skills. During this period, 17 researchers were involved in teaching in postgraduate doctoral schools, and 6 researchers participated as core members in doctoral schools. Researchers of the institute acted as supervisors in the preparation of altogether 32 PhD theses.

During the year under review, the majority of researchers participated in professional activities as members of various national and international professional associations, including 22 national (Hungarian) and 17 international professional associations and 4 Hungarian branches of international scholar associations. Researchers of the institute also served as chairpersons of 4 national associations, as an honorary chairman of one and as a chairperson of the Hungarian branch of an international association. Additionally, the researchers worked as members of editorial boards for 23 Hungarian and 10 international scientific journals.

IV. Brief summary of national and international research proposals, winning in 2016

The project entitled OTKA K/116979 The regulation issues of the service providers on internet traffic direction (Az internetes forgalomirányító szolgáltatások szabályozási kérdései) has been carried out by the contribution of two researchers of the institute. The first year of the project focused on the media education as public policy tool and its role in the risk-analysis of internet service providers. The researchers analysed the culture of the media and the environment for development of media education in the regulation in Hungary and abroad. The investigators consequently carried out research on certain media-analysis measures and their resources improving the media education of the European Union. The outcomes and findings are analysed in a paper which is currently under the peer review system of the prestigious Media Education Research Journal. The researchers prepared another article on the subject of Big Data and its regulation (title: Law and Legal Science in the Era of Big Data), expected to be published in 2017.

Three researchers successfully obtained a project upon the bilateral agreements of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The project entitled Human Rights of Asylum Seekers in Italy and Hungary (Menedékkérők emberi jogai Magyarországon és Olaszországban) includes one researcher from the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (National Research Council). The bilateral projects do not have prefixed budgets, and the cost projection is annually set out. The researchers started the organization of the research infrastructure; the Italian researcher delivered a lecture at the Academy, while one of the Hungarian researchers lectured on the subject in Aberdeen, Scotland.

V. List of important publications in 2016

  1. Bódig Mátyás, Ződi Zsolt (szerk.): A jogtudomány helye, szerepe és haszna. tudománytörténeti és tudományelméleti írások [The Position, Role and Benefit of Legal Science – Studies on the History and Theory of Science]. Budapest: MTA Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont, OPTEN Kiadó (2016)
  2. Chronowski, Nóra – Varju, Márton: Two Eras of Hungarian Constitutionalism: From the Rule of Law by Law. Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, Vol. 8, No. 2, 271-289. (2016)
  3. Fiala-Butora, János & Michael Ashley Stein: Law as a Source of Stigma and Empowerment: Legal Capacity of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. In: Katrina Scior & Shirli Werner (eds.): Intellectual Disability and Stigma: Stepping Out from the Margins, London: Palgrave Macmillan (2016)
  4. Gárdos-Orosz, Fruzsina – Temesi István: Effective Legal Protection in Administrative Law. In: Zoltán Szente – Konrad Lachmayer: The Principle of Effective Legal Protection in Administrative Law. London: Routledge (2016)
  5. Gárdos-Orosz Fruzsina, Menyhárd Attila (szerk.): Személy és személyiség a jogban [Person and Personhood in Law]. Budapest: Wolters Kluwer, 286. (2016)
  6. Jakab, András: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as the Most Promising Way of Enforcing the Rule of Law against EU Member States. In: Carlos Closa – Dimitry Kochenov (eds.): Reinforcing the Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 187-205. (2016)
  7. Jakab, András: European Constitutional Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2016)
  8. Jakab András: Az európai alkotmányjog nyelve [European Constitutional Language]. Budapest: Nemzeti Közszolgálati Egyetem, 453. (2016)
  9. Jakab András, Gajduschek György (szerk.): A magyar jogrendszer állapota [The State of the Hungarian Legal System] Budapest: MTA Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont, Jogtudományi Intézet, 962. (2016)
  10.  Körtvélyesi Zsolt: Inconsistency and Criticism: Mapping Inconsistency Arguments Regarding Human Rights Promotion in EU External Relations. European Yearbook on Human Rights, 223-242. (2016)
  11.  Majtényi György – Majtényi Balázs: A Contemporary History of Roma Exclusion: The Roma Issue in Hungary from 1945 to 2015. Budapest-New York: CEU Press, 250. (2016)
  12.  Nótári, Tamás: Cum dignitate orium. Remarks on Cicero's Speech in Defence of Sestius FUNDAMINA - A JOURNAL OF LEGAL HISTORY 22: (2) 99-115. (2016) 
  13.  Pap, András László: Constitutional identity? The Hungarian model of illiberal democracy. In: M. Steven Fish – Graeme Gill – Milenko Petrovic (eds.) A quarter century of post-communism assessed, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 161-186. (2016)
  14.  Szente, Zoltán: The Political Orientation of the Members of the Hungarian Constitutional Court between 2010 and 2014. Constitutional Studies Vol 1, No 1, 123-149. (2016)
  15.  Szente, Zoltán: Die politische Orientierung der Mitglieder des ungarischen Verfassungsgerichts zwischen 2010 und 2014 [The Political Orientation of the Members of the Hungarian Constitutional Court between 2010 and 2014]. Jahrbuch für Ostrecht Bd. 57, (2016)
  16.  Szente, Zoltán – Lachmayer, Konrad (eds): The Principle of Effective Legal Protection in Administrative Law – A European Comparison, London: Routledge, (2016)
  17.  Varju, Márton – Papp, Mónika: The Crisis, National Economic Particularism and EU Law: What Can We Learn from the Hungarian Case?  Common Market Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 6, 1647-1674. (2016)