Annual Report 2019

Annual Report 01 January 2019 – 31 August 2019
Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies
1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán street 4.
Postal Address: 1250 Budapest, P.O.B. 20.
Tel: (1) 355 7384; fax: (1) 375 7858
Director: Gárdos-Orosz, Fruzsina Kinga

I. Main duties of the research unit (between 01 January 2019 and 31 August 2019)

The main duty of the HAS Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Legal Studies is to carry out internationally competitive basic research within the field of legal studies. We define basic research as research which has the academic community as its primary target audience. Within basic research our most significant and specific task is to accomplish large-scale joint projects, with the involvement of experts from a variety of legal fields, which universities tend not to be best positioned to undertake. Besides, the institute offers several publication fora (Állam- és JogtudományActa JuridicaMTA Law Working Papers and the JTI blog). In addition, the institute issues the fortnightly Newsletter on Legal Studies and operates the Legal Studies Search Engine, the latter enables quick and efficient research in the various databases of legal studies.

Secondary tasks are prescribed by 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 in Hungary and abroad, co-operation with domestic and international research units, 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 as an institution only performs such tasks if one of the following conditions applies: (a) there is an explicit request from a competent body, marked by the laws as such; (b) the outcome of the commission has significant theoretical advantages and benefits; (c) charge is paid in return for the work of the institute.

The institute benefitted from the presence of two foreign researchers in the year under review (one of them Polish, the other Russian). In recent years, the institute has established a meritocratic selection procedure. New researchers are accepted after open competition and as a result of an interview by a board, thus ensuring the employment of the best candidates.

There are three scientific departments at the institute, 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. Following academic statutes, all researchers are members of a department and all researchers are members of one department only. The names of the departments reflect the research priorities of the research units and guide the choices made in new employments. The tasks related to the functioning of each department are fulfilled by the responsible head of department.

The researchers of the institute, within their separate spheres of responsibility, also carry out diverse partial tasks in the institute as well as in the administration of research, which is the precondition of balanced and high-standard 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. Thus, correspondence tends to be bilingual (Hungarian and English). Moreover, the institute provides bilingual information and collegial assistance towards scientometric reports as well as the general responsibilities of academic life.

II. Outstanding research and other results in 2019 (Jan 1 – August 31)

a) Outstanding research results

In the research project entitled Lack of Rights Consciousness in the Legal Cultures of Central-Europe and Balkans. Myth or Reality? the researchers have completed their large-scale, three-country-wide, questionnaire based data collection, whose technical realisation was entrusted to a domestic public opinion research company (which, however, is also active on the international market). The affiliated researchers have been analysing the data thus gathered and certain preliminary results have already been published in the form of blog posts.

With regard to legal awareness, it can clearly be established that exercising legal claims is seen as a secondary strategy by most citizens, while their primary endeavour is to seek informal agreements and consult experts. Only a minority of the population proved capable of identifying rights, but in specific situations a majority of that group can precisely name the rights involved. Moreover, they can even use the most basic legal terminology. When it comes to legal mobilisation, we find that the majority of citizens take a not unfavourable view of the judicial system, e.g. they acknowledge its impartiality and the possibility it creates for the peaceful settlement of disputes, but the factors that hinder the beginning of the legal process, including the expenses associated with and the length of the judicial process, influence their decisions to the same extent.

A selection from the results of the theoretical research of former years was published in Jahrbuch für Ostrecht in 2019.

In the research project, which won the National Research, Development and Innovation Office’s grant in 2015, entitled Regulatory Issues in Internet Service Provision the Institute acted as a consortium partner and was responsible for research in the field of copyright law.

The research mainly focused on two questions: 1) is copyright well-suited for the protection of the market interests of content industry actors vis-à-vis competition from global service providing companies; 2) what impact the new copyright directives will have on the creative industry?

Results of the research project include Klára Szalay and Gábor Polyák’s paper entitled “Sajtókiadók szomszédos joga: a tagállami átültetés kérdőjelei” [Neighbouring rights for press publishers: questions surrounding member state adoption] before publication with the journal ProFuturo and Klára Szalay and Gábor Polyák’s paper on a related theme: “Neighbouring rights for press publishers: A compromise on copyright in the digital single market” currently under peer-review at the International Journal of Law and Information Technology.

Institute researcher Mátyás Bencze’s paper on “A fogyasztóvédelem lehetőségei és kihívásai a közösségi média korában” [The opportunities and challenges in consumer protection in the age of social media] is soon to be published in Infokommunikáció és Jog.

The final volume integrating the work of the research project has also been completed and is going to be published later this year by HVG-Orac Publishing House. It is entitled A forgalomirányító szolgáltatások szabályozása [The regulation of service providers], and is edited by Gábor Polyák, Zsolt Ződi, Gergely László Szőke, and Mátyás Bencze.

In The HAS Momentum HPOPS – Hungary’s Public Policy Opportunities in the European Union research project the team is looking at the legal limits of Hungary’s public policy possibilities within the EU. The final volume was finalised earlier this year and was published by Springer in February 2019. It bears the title, Between Compliance and Particularism – Member State Interests and European Union Law and was edited by Márton Varju The volume discusses the difficulties of integration through the analysis of a number of specific cases. The book examines how the interests of the member states, which provide the primary driving force for developments in European integration, are internalised and addressed by the law of the European Union. In this context, member state interests are taken to mean the policy considerations, economic calculations, local socio-cultural factors, and the raw expressions of political will which shape EU policies and determine member state responses to the obligations arising from those policies. The book primarily explores the junctions and disjunctions between member state interests defined in such a manner and EU law, where the latter expresses either an obligation for the member states to comply with common policies or an acceptance of member state particularism under the common EU framework.

The researchers working on the projects Strengthening Minority Rights through Class Action and Using Collective Procedures to Enforce Minority Group Claims took part in editing a Hungarian and an English language special issue, they also contributed two papers in Hungarian and an Introduction in English

The journal Fundamentum published a thematic block on minority rights, which included the following three papers:

  • Gábor Kardos: Kisebbségi nyelvi charta: sajátos vonások és gyakorlati problémák. Kisebbségvédelem Európában: geopolitika és korszellem, Fundamentum 2019/1-2, 5-13.
  • János Fiala-Butora: Az európai kisebbségvédelmi rendszer: rendszerszintű problémák és be nem váltott remények, Fundamentum 2019/1-2, 14-23.
  • Zsolt Körtvélyesi: A csoportos perlés mint a kisebbségi jogvédelem eszköze. Egy eljárási javaslat az egyéni/kollektív kisebbségi jogok dilemmájának feloldására, Fundamentum 2019/1-2, 24-41.

The studies discuss the shortcomings of the European minority rights’ systems, including the problems encountered during the application of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, the framework agreement, together with the advantages of class action in providing legal protection where individual legal steps could not make it to the courts.

Intersections, an English-language journal of Q2 ranking has published a thematic block with an introduction by the head of the research team:

  • Zsolt Körtvélyesi, Enforcing Equality? Promises and Limits of Legal Responses to Systemic Inequalities (editorial), Intersections.EEJSP Vol. 5, No. 2 (2019), 4-10.
  • András László Pap, Harassment: A Silver Bullet to Tackle Institutional Discrimination, But No Panacea for all Forms of Dignity and Equality Harms, Intersections.EEJSP Vol. 5, No. 2 (2019), 11-35.
  • Alexander Osipov, Agendas of Non-discrimination on Ethnic Grounds in the Post-Soviet Space, Intersections.EEJSP Vol. 5, No. 2 (2019), 36-59.
  • Eszter Kováts, Limits of the Human Rights Vocabulary in Addressing Inequalities, Intersections.EEJSP Vol. 5, No. 2 (2019), 60-80.
  • Lilla Farkas, Narrating Roma Rights Activism for the American Public (book review), Intersections.EEJSP Vol. 5, No. 2 (2019), 81-97.
  • Lídia Balogh, Fábián, Katalin and Korolczuk, Elżbieta (eds.) (2017) Rebellious Parents: Parental Movements in Central-Eastern Europe and Russia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 376 pages. (book review), Intersections.EEJSP Vol. 5, No. 2 (2019), 98-102.

These studies and reviews examine how well-suited the different legal tools are to ensure equality, primarily with respect to minorities, and also, how far the existing limits can be pushed – regarding the latter, the introduction mentions class action and subsidised research.

Novelties of Criminal Law in Legal Consciousness

The research project entitled Novelties of Criminal Law in Legal Consciousness was working on the evaluation of a representative, questionnaire-based research into the legal consciousness of the entire Hungarian population aged 18 or older.

Members of the project analysed three areas in detail (informal payments to doctors, corruption and questions related to the minimal age of punishment). The results are presented in two Hungarian papers and an English one. Since legal consciousness was analysed with respect to such areas of public interest as informal payments and corruption in office, the results of the research team excited significant media interest as well and the researchers’ TV and radio interviews contributed significantly to their science popularising endeavours.

Timea Vencz published a paper entitled “The difficulties of the empirical research of legal consciousness with a new codex in sight” in the volume of studies that consolidate the results of the Institute’s conference on “The conceptional aims and effects of the reform of criminal law in Hungary”. As part of the Researchers’ Night she also gave a talk on “The great legal test: who knows more of the criminal law”.

The project on The Influence of Punitive criminal policy on punishments and costs focuses on the “punitive turn” in criminal policy, which has long held the attention of criminologists, as the explanation of both the decrease in criminality and the increase in prison populations. The widening gap between the two has been observed in Hungary as well. Literature, however, tends to focus on a number of “iconic” legal measures, including the “three strikes” rule.

The hypothesis behind this research is that the “punitive turn” is a result of the incremental effect of many seemingly small changes all aimed at making the laws stricter. Our hypothesis is that these contribute significantly more to the increasing prison population than the symbolic punitive measures.

This is particularly relevant in Hungary because a great number of changes to the criminal law that have been passed since 2010 aimed at narrowing the circle of non-custodial measures and lengthening possible terms of imprisonment. As a result, the increase in the number of prisoners led to significant overcrowding.

Populism in public policy and law-making is a shared project of our Institute and CSS Institute for Political Science. Its researchers investigate the relationship between populism, constitutionalism, and the rule of law in the context of Hungarian political developments. Hungary has recently been actively engaging with constitutional reform and even constitution-making and widespread legislative change. The populist approach appeared to construct an alternative, purely majoritarian constitutional order, in sharp contrast to liberal-democratic constitutionalism (‘legal constitutionalism’). One of the research ambitions is the exploration of how the attempts at creating a populist constitutional order are endorsed in law-making: investigating whether the claims and justifications of a populist government implies an ‘abusive constitutionalism’ (Landau, 2013). We aim to find ways to understand the structural causes of the relative weakness that liberal-democratic institutions have shown in confronting populist counter-constitutional attempts. Our research will offer a unique and comprehensive perspective on the phenomenon of ‘populist law making’ with regard to constitutionalism and the rule of law.

The main method of the research is pattern-matching analysis: we investigate how certain policy areas fit to the ideal type of populist policy-making and law-making in the case of post-2010 Hungary. We study those policy areas where the distinguishing features of populist policy-making and law-making are particularly manifest. Accordingly, five policy fields are chosen for analysis: economic policy, penal policy, family policy, migration policy, equality and minority policy.

Connected to and partially covered by the research project, we have organised a 2-day international conference on Constitutional Interpretation in European Populist Regimes. The event will include papers by researchers from all continents and presenters as highly respected as Professor Mark Tushnet from Harvard Law School and professor Martin Loghlin from the London School of Economic and Political Science.

In the project How does the law adapt, resist and learn? The responsiveness of the Hungarian legal system 2010-2018 researchers examine how well the Hungarian legal system responded to challenges created by new social, political, scientific and technological developments between 2010 and 2018. The aim of the research is to conduct representative, foundational research into the structural effects of the challenges facing Hungary, as identified by social sciences, have had on the legal system as a whole, with special regard to the description of the legal system’s ability to adapt and assimilate.

In the first year of the research, as part of a quantitative study, we will establish and develop multiple databases in connection to new laws and regulations.

Tables and graphs have been created by the statistician and the research team’s methodology section, which demonstrate the intensity of law-making in different areas in the 2010 to 2018 timeframe. With respect to regulations, the tables and graphs consolidating the findings of the quantitative research also demonstrate the volume of regulations in the given time-frame, which originate not in the executive but in the original legislative branch.

The researchers have also investigated the explanations that accompany the laws, which render explicit the problems that the legislator sees as the reason for new laws or amendments to the existing ones. The database that is used for this research has already been established. Our databases can be openly accessed from the Research Centre’s webpage after an automatic registration that serves administrative purposes.

The results of the quantitative research were shared with the other members of the research team on our first workshop, held on 5 September 2019. They will be able to use the established databases for further research. Two detailed analyses have been finalised that are currently available as working papers on the website of the Social Sciences Research Centre, waiting to be published in high-ranking international journals.

The project entitled The Human Rights of Asylum-Seekers in Italy and Hungary has been finished. In it the researchers have assessed the state of the art and the main lines of debate concerning the handling of the refugee question in Europe from a normative point of view. The research has analysed refugee law enforcement in the two countries, and includes the relevant international and transnational norms, the related case law, domestic jurisprudence and the domestic legislation in force.

The closing volume of studies has been published by Eleven and Giappichelli publishing houses and is entitled Human Rights of Asylum Seekers in Italy and Hungary: Influence of International and EU Law on Domestic Actions. The book was edited by the two principal investigators of the project and it provides a unique, comparative analysis on how basic principles of refugee law and related legislation challenged after 2015, through reviewing Italian, Hungarian and European experiences. The analysis provides not only an assessment of Member State measures but also of the EU framework in general. This helps us understand how the responses to the arrival of asylum seekers in great numbers have transformed the project of European integration, through the interplay between the various actors both on the level of the EU and domestically, within member states.

Researchers of the Institute partake in the H2020 project entitled Democratic Efficacy and the Varieties of Populism in Europe, where the Centre for Social Sciences is the consortium leader. Three researchers of the Institute elaborated, as part of their contribution, the necessary questionnaire and carried out the detailed analysis of the results with respect to Hungary. They also wrote a survey of the recent literature on populism to be used in the project.

Researchers have participated in three international conferences as part of the project in the period under review:

  • Erasmus Legal Science Week in Sofia (March 2019);
  • Critical Perspectives on Human Rights conference in New York in March 2019;
  • 29th World Congress of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR) conference, entitled Dignity, Democracy, Diversity in July 2019.

A monograph entitled Az európai ombudsman (The European Ombudsman) has been published as a result of a Bolyai János Research Grant project initiated in 2015, which examines the soft law character of the European Ombudsman’s Office’s procedures towards the legal protection of EU citizens. The HAS Bolyai János Research Grant Board gave an ’excellent’ evaluation to the project, based on  the closing peer reviews. As one of the most outstanding Bolyai scholars of the year, the Institute’s researcher has received the Bolyai plaque.

In the field of organisational activities, the institute was the host or co-organiser of many national and international academic conferences. The following events were the most noteworthy:

  • In April 2019, the conference entitled “Ontology and Networks of Legal Texts” in co-operation between HAS Institute for Political Science, HAS Institute for Legal Studies and BME SZKT was held. Our researchers read papers on text mining, text analysis and network research;
  • April 2019 also saw the conference on “The UK’s exit from the European Union. Narratives and Consequences” whose participants included researchers of the Institute, those of Corvinus University and HAS CERS.
  • In May 2019 we held the “15 years in the European Union – harmonisation of law” conference, whose participants gave an almost exhaustive overview of the impacts of EU harmonisation of law on the domestic law.

The Institute for Legal Studies has prepared a number of major international conferences and workshops to be held in Autumn 2019.

The English-language journal of the institute, Acta Juridica Hungarica – Hungarian Journal of Legal Studies features in HeinOnline database. Állam- és Jogtudomány (Studies in Law and Political Studies) published 1 issue between January and August 2019; 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 Hungarian legal literature. The editors are researchers of the institute, while the editorial board consists of the deans of the Hungarian law faculties. MTA Law Working Papers (with ISSN number), edited by four researchers of the institute, had a successful year and published 9 papers in the period under review. The working-paper series is the first level within the hierarchy of the scientific publications, it is a forum for papers not completed but worthy of the attention of the scholarly community and open to debate before finalising. The periodical offers an 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).

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. Our newsletters are sent to approximately 4000 recipients.

In 2019 the Institute offered a Pro Dissertatione Iuridica Excellentissima award, the ceremony, together with the awardee’s presentation will take place in March 2019. The award can be granted on the basis of PhD dissertations in Hungarian, English, German or French.

A call for manuscripts has also been published in connection to the monograph series entitled Foundational Research in Legal Studies. The aim of the series is to enable the publication of (on average) one outstanding monograph in the field of legal studies in the Hungarian language, together with a general open access. The publication of the e-book is undertaken by the Institute, which then is published on its webpage. The publication of a limited number of physical copies is also financed by the Institute. In 2019, the competition, the choosing of the manuscript and the technical editing are still ongoing.

The institute, following its traditions, will participate in 2019 in the Researchers’ Night programmes. This year four researchers of the institute will give lectures.

III. A presentation of national and international R&D relations in 2019 (January 1 – August 31)

An important part of the research unit’s R&D network is made up of its researchers also lecturing at the following universities at BA, MA or PhD levels: Babeș-Bolyai University; Corvinus University, Budapest; Budapest University of Technology and Economics; University of Debrecen; Eötvös Loránd University; Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church; Central European University; University of Miskolc; National University of Public Service; Pázmány Péter Catholic University; University of Pécs; Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania; Széchenyi István University; ELTE Bibó István College for Advanced Studies; Mathias Corvinus Collegium.

The Institute for Legal Studies has strengthened its standing in international cooperations as well. 2019 has seen the establishment of two research groups in the International Association of Constitutional Law framework, initiated by and institutionally connected to our Institute. One of them is the Constitutional Interpretation research group, whose operations focus on current questions of constitutional interpretation. The group called Identity, Race and Ethnicity in Constitutional Law looks at different legal interpretations of race, ethnicity, and nationality. In Autumn and December 2019 the two research groups organised their first major events in the Institute for Legal Studies

IV. A short presentation of the major domestic and international grants won between January and August 2019.

We cannot provide data about the NHFIH research grants, since the National Office for Research, Development and Innovation has not announced its decisions yet.

EEUStAID – Building of Central and Eastern European judicial capacities for the enforcement of EU State aid law

The EEUStAID project held its first training session on 30–31 May. HAS CSS’s joint project on the training in EU State aid law of national judges with Lexcellence European Community Law and Regulatory Consulting has won funding from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition. Administrative law and civil law Judges from nine Central-Eastern European countries. The May training event focused on the tasks of member state courts, especially the refunding of illegal state aids and temporary protection orders. The development of judges’ skills of the interpretation and application of law received a special emphasis, as did the mutual learning and exchange of ideas between member-state legal systems. The training materials developed for the project will become freely available after the conclusion of the training for the professional European readership (of judges, practicing lawyers, university students, researchers and policy makers) on the HAS CSS webpage.

V. The most notable publications between January and August 2019

  • Balázs, István, A magyar közigazgatás az "Európai Közigazgatási Térségben". PRO PUBLICO BONO: ÁLLAM- ÉS KÖZIGAZGATÁSTUDOMÁNYI SZEMLE 2019 : 1 pp. 68-85. , 18 p. (2019)
  • Chronowski Nóra, Varju Márton, Bárd Petra, Sulyok Gábor, Hungary: Constitutional (R)evolution or Regression? In: Anneli, Albi; Samo, Bardutzky (szerk.) National constitutions in European and global governance: Democracy, rights, the rule of law - national reports. Hága, Hollandia : T.M.C. Asser Press, (2019) pp. 1439-1488., 50 p. REAL:
  • Gajduschek, György, Közigazgatás és politika. In: Jakab, András; Könczöl, Miklós; Menyhárd, Attila; Sulyok, Gábor (szerk.) Internetes Jogtudományi Enciklopédia. Budapest, Magyarország : PPKE JÁK, (2019) pp. 1-11. Paper: kozigazgatas-es-politika , 11 p.
  • Hoffmann, Tamás, Crimes Against The People – A Sui Generis Socialist International Crime? JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 21 : 2 pp. 299-329. , 31 p. (2019)
  • Hoffmann Tamás, Contra aggressionem? Az agresszió bűncselekményével kapcsolatos nemzetközi jogi dilemmák. ÁLLAM- ÉS JOGTUDOMÁNY 60 : 1 pp. 36-68. , 33 p. (2019)
  • Könczöl, Miklós, How to Rejuvenate European Decision-making? Central and Eastern European Legal Studies 2018: 2 pp. 191-210. , 20 p. (2019)
  • Papp, Mónika, Member State Interests and EU Internal Market Law. In: Varju, Márton (szerk.) Between compliance and particularism: Member State interests and European Union law CHAM: Springer, (2019) pp. 103-127. , 25 p.
  • Várnay, Ernő, Az Alkotmánybíróság és az Európai Bíróság. Együttműködő alkotmánybíráskodás? ÁLLAM- ÉS JOGTUDOMÁNY 60 : 2 pp. 63-91. , 29 p. (2019)
  • Varjú, Márton; Papp, Mónika, Member State Economic Patriotism and EU Law: Legitimate Regulatory Control Through Proportionality? In: Gerőcs, T; Szanyi, M (szerk.) Market liberalism and economic patriotism in the capitalist world-system Cham (Svájc), Svájc : Palgrave Macmillan, (2019) pp. 127-151. , 25 p.
  • Varju, Márton, Unionsrecht und Verwaltungsrecht ÁLLAM- ÉS JOGTUDOMÁNY 60: 2 pp. 112-115. , 4 p. (2019)