National Judicial Council

The National Judicial Council (NJC) is the supervisory organ – as a body - of the central administration of courts.

The seat of the NJC is in Budapest, and it has 15 members.

Regarding its members, only the president of the Curia is delegated, according to the Act CLXI of 2011 on the Organisation and Administration of Courts. The other 14 judge members of the NJC shall be elected in a secret ballot by majority vote at the meeting of the delegated judges. 

At the time of the first election, the meeting of the delegated judges shall elect one judge of a regional court of appeal, 5 judges of courts of appeal, 7 judges of local courts and one judge of an administrative and labour court.

The NJC has started its activity on the 15th of March, 2012.

The president and the deputy president of the NJC

The NJC shall be represented and led by the President.

The presidential position of the NJC shall be filled by members on a rotational basis; members shall rotate every 6 months in the following manner: the first to fill the position shall be the judge with the longest judicial service, followed by the other members in descending order of the length of their judicial service.

The President of the NJC - if unable to attend - shall be substituted by the Deputy President. The position of the Deputy President shall be filled on a rotational basis in the following manner: the first to fill the position of the Deputy President shall be the judge with the second longest judicial service and will be followed by the other members – as in the case of the president - in a descending order of the length of their judicial service.

Conditions of being a member of NJC

A judge with at least 5 years of judicial practice shall be eligible for election as a member of the NJC.

 The following persons shall not be eligible for election as an NJC member:

  • any person against whom disciplinary or criminal proceedings are pending with the exception of proceedings launched on private actions and by substitute private prosecutors,
  • who is subject to a disciplinary penalty,
  • against whom a procedure is pending to declare him/her unsuitable,
  • who is not allowed to exercise his/her judicial activity due to his/her position stipulated by law, furthermore whose legal relationship as a judge is suspended pursuant to a legal act,
  • who is related to the President of the NJO, the President or Deputy President of the Curia, the regional court of appeal and the tribunal, as defined in the Act on Civil Procedure,
  • who shall reach the upper age limit determined for judges, in the year of the election, or
  • who was previously a member of the NJC.

Duration of the membership in the NJC

The NJC, its elected judge members and alternate members shall be in office for six years from the first meeting of the NJC. The term of office of the NJC shall be terminated on the day of the first meeting of the newly elected NJC. The first meeting of the newly elected NJC shall be convened within 15 days of the election of the judge members.

Status of the members of the NJC

The elected membership of the NJC shall not influence the judicial legal status, the assignment of the judge and, unless other provisions of this Act, the exercising of employer’s rights.

The elected judge members of the NJC cannot be recalled. Disciplinary proceedings may only be initiated against a judge member of the NJC with its approval.

The member of the NJC may not vote in issues affecting his/her person.

A member of the NJC may not exercise his/her rights and obligations originating from his/her membership in the NJC during disciplinary or criminal proceedings initiated against him/her with the exception of proceedings launched on private actions and by substitute private prosecutors, or during proceedings initiated for the declaration of his/her judicial unsuitability.

Termination of the membership of NJC

The office of an elected judge member of the NJC shall be terminated:

  • upon the expiry of the term of office,
  • upon the termination of the judge’s office.
  • by resignation from membership of the NJC,
  • by a non-appealable declaration of his/her disciplinary or criminal liability,
  • if the reasons listed in the Act on the Organisation and Administration of Courts arose during the NJC membership and were not terminated within 30 days,
  • if, due to the violation, long-term omission or serious negligence of his/her rights and obligations originating from his/her membership in the NJC, the member is excluded from his/her membership in the NJC by a resolution adopted with a two-thirds majority of the votes in the NJC, or
  • if his/her assignment to the court tier at the time of his/her election has changed, and as a consequence, the number of judges representing the given tier shall exceed the number specified in the Act on the Organisation and Administration of Courts.
  • The President of the Curia shall cease to be member of the NJC simultaneously upon the termination of his/her term of office, as President of the Curia.

Rights and obbligations of the members of the NJC

A member of the NJC shall be entitled and obliged to take part in the work of the NJC, and to perform his/her duties, he/she is entitled to:

  • inspect the documents related to the operation of the NJC and the NJO, and to request data and information from the President of the NJO,
  • make a proposal for the agenda of the NJC meeting, and
  • have his/her membership-related costs reimbursed.

Members of the NJC shall respect confidentiality rules with special regard to classified data.

Judge members of the NJC shall be exempted from their judicial work to the necessary extent to perform their duties arising from their membership.

Substitute member of the NJC

An alternate (substitute) member of the NJC shall succeed the elected member in the order of the votes received, with due respect to the Act on the Organisation and Administration of Courts, with special regards to the repartition of the different levels of courts (one judge from the regional court of appeal, five judges from the tribunal, seven judges from the district courts and one judge from the administrative and labour court - to be judge members of the NJC).

Tasks of the National Judicial Council (NJC)

Tasks of the NJC in the field of general central administration

  • Supervises the central administrative activity of the president of the National Judicial Office and in case of necessity, sends notification to the president of the National Judicial Office.
  • Makes a motion to the president of the National Judicial Office to act with her sphere of right described in 76. § (1) paragraph d) point.
  • Supervises the regulations and recommendations published by the president of the National Judicial Office, and  
  • Approves the rules of procedure of the official court and publishes it on the central website.

Tasks of the NJC in field of the budget

  • Gives judgement on the proposal of the budget of the courts and on the briefing of its execution.
  • Supervises the management of the courts, and
  • Comments the detailed conditions and extent of the contributory allowances.

Tasks of the NJC in the fied of statistical collection of facts, the allocation of work, and the measuring of the completed work

  • In exceptionally justified cases, the Council may order the management of a case before its turn, if it affects wide sphere of the society or it has emerging importance from the point of view of the public interest.  
  • Determins the theories to be considered during the settlement of the proceeding court, regarding the sphere of right of the president of the National Judicial Office, that she may settle another court for the procedure in favour that cases should be decided in a reasonable time.

Tasks of the NJC in the human politics' field

  • According to a personal hearing, the Council gives a preliminary opinion on the candidates of the president of the National Judicial Office and that of the Curia.
  • Determins the theories to be considered during the settlement of the proceeding court, regarding the sphere of right of the president of the National Judicial Office, that she may settle another court for the procedure in favour that cases should be decided in a reasonable time.
  • Practices the right of accordance during the judgement of those competitions when the president of the National Judicial Office or that of the Curia would like to fulfill the position with the candidate who is second or third in the rank.
  • Practices the right of accordance in the case of the nomination of court leaders in which the candidate have not received the consence of the organ expressing opinion.
  • Decides in the question of a renewed nomination of a president or a deputy president of the regional court of appeal, the tribunal, the administrative and labour court, and the local court, or, in case the president or the deputy president has already hold the given position two times before.     
  • Publishes yearly its opinion on the practice of the presidents of the National Judicial Office and of the Curia on judging the applications of judges and court leaders.
  • Nominates the president and the members of the official court.
  • The Council may give an exemption in case of an incompatibility between the court leader and his or her relative working in the organisational unit under his or her leadership. 
  • Carries out the supervising procedure regarding the property declaration of judges.
  • In case of a resignation of a judge, the Council may contribute to the fact that the resignation time could be shorter than 3 months, or, it may exempt the judge from his or her obligation of work, and, in further
  • In case of the retirement of a judge, or if she or he reaches the highest age limit, the Council decides - regarding the resignation time - on the exemption time from the work, according to the Act on the Status and Allowance of Judges.
  • According to an initiative of the president of the National Judicial Office, the Council may donate the title of titular judge of tribunal, titular judge of regional court of appeal, titular judge of the Curia, and in case of forensic assistants, it may donate the title of counsellor general or counsellor, and in further,
  • according to the initiative of the president of the National Judicial Office, it may suggest to donate a distinction, or a premium, a certificate, a plaquette, or it may consent to another organ to donate a distinction, a plaquette, or a certificate.

Tasks of the NJC in the field of education

  • Presents a recommendation on the central educational project, and
  • Gives judgement on the system of formation of judges and on the rules of accomplishment of the educational obbligations.

The NJC, further to the upper mentioned tasks shall proceed in other cases referred to its jurisdiction.

The operation of the NJC

The permanent office of the National Judicial Council was established on 1st March 2013. The permanent office of the NJC provides administrative and operational support regarding the filing system, organisation of the meetings and general operation of the NJC under the leadership of a judge.

The NJC has disposal of an independent budget from 1st  January 2013. The budget of the NJC may be expended on the operation of the permanent office, the expenses of the meetings, organisation its own events, its international relations, participating of the members of the NJC on other events, the operation of the website, and on other expenses relating informatics. The total amount of the allocated budget is HUF 16,420,000.- (app. EUR 55,000.-) for 2013.

The NJC shall adopt decisions on matters falling under its sphere of authority at a meeting; in extraordinary cases or in cases necessitating a prompt action, it may also take decisions in a different manner.

The session of the NJC

The NJC shall hold its meetings (sessions) as necessary, but at least four times a year. The meeting shall be convened by the President of the NJC.

The meeting of the NJC shall be convened and the proposed items shall be put on the agenda if proposed by at least one-third of the members of the NJC. The plenary meeting of the Curia or the plenary conference of a regional court of appeal or a tribunal may propose any issue belonging to the competence of the NJC to be put on the agenda and be discussed by the Council.

The NJC shall have a quorum if at least two-thirds of its members are present.

The NJC shall adopt decisions with a majority opinion. In the event of a tied vote, the vote of the President shall decide.

Open meeting of the NJC

The meeting of the NJC shall be open to judges, except when the NJC orders a closed meeting to be held.

The NJC may order a closed meeting, especially if this is indispensable for the purpose of protecting classified information, business secrets or any other secret defined in a specific legal act, furthermore if that is justified for the purpose of protecting the personal rights of the person heard at the meeting.

Meetings of the NJC shall be attended by the President of the NJO , the Minister responsible for justice, the Prosecutor General, the President of the Hungarian Bar Association, the President of the Hungarian Chamber of Notaries Public and the President of the NJC with consultative rights, furthermore by any ad-hoc expert invited by participants with consultation rights, and the representatives of any civil society and other interest groups invited by the President of the NJC. A minute-taker shall participate in NJC meetings.

At the meetings of the NJC, in case he/she is impeded, the Minister responsible for justice shall be substituted by a State Secretary, the President of the NJO shall be substituted by the general Deputy President of the NJO, the Prosecutor General shall be substituted by the deputy Prosecutor General, the President of the Hungarian Bar Association shall be substituted by the Deputy President, and the President of the Hungarian Chamber of Notaries Public by the Deputy President.

Minutes and summary of a meeting of the NJC

Minutes shall be taken of the meeting of the NJC, and a summary shall be prepared of the decisions concerning the broader context of administration of courts and the activities of judges which might draw public interest. The President of the NJC shall ensure that the minutes and the summaries are prepared. The points of the agenda to be included in the summary and the content of the summary shall be decided upon by the NJC at the meeting. The summary shall not contain any agenda items discussed in a closed meeting.

The minutes shall contain the names of those present, the agenda adopted, the discussion of individual agenda items, more precisely the name of the speaker, the essence of the contribution, the fact of voting, the method of voting, the outcome of voting and the text of the decision.

The summary shall contain a concise overview of agenda items discussed at the meeting and the decisions.

NJC on the central website of the courts and on the intranet

The annual plan of meetings of the NJC, a summary of the meetings, as well as the minutes of the preliminary opinions on the persons nominated as the President of the Curia and the President of the NJO shall be published on the central website of the courts.

The minutes of the NJC meeting shall be published on the intranet, except in the case of a closed NJC meeting.

The rules of organisation and operation of NJC

The NJC shall establish the detailed rules of its operation in the rules of organisation and operation.

Structure, duties and members of NJC