Sovereignty and identity – national and European experts exchange views on national courts
The freedom to establish a national legal system forms an integral part of a State’s sovereignty. The substance of the national pieces of legislation may be limited by constraints originating from obligations under international and European Union law, however, the freedom and responsibility to develop a national court system continue to fall within a State’s exclusive competence – stressed in her welcome speech Dr. Tünde Handó, President of the National Office for the Judiciary at the international conference entitled “Sovereignty in the European Area of Justice”.
The political change of regime gave us cause to hope that Hungary would return to its rule of law traditions – President Handó added –, on the other hand, the country had to face great challenges, as the prospect of accessing the European Union required Hungary to transform its legal system to comply with a number of significant requirements formulated by the relevant international organisations.
The international environment has not stopped changing since that time, thus, Hungary is compelled to continuously adapt its national legislation to the changing needs – emphasised Dr. Tünde Handó. It is therefore particularly important that national courts be constantly prepared to tackle the challenges arising from the application of European and international law – stated the President of the National Office for the Judiciary.
At the international conference, Constitutional Court Justice Prof. Dr. András Varga Zs. delivered a lecture on “The control of sovereignty and identity in the case-law of the Constitutional Court”. Prof. Dr. András Varga Zs. pointed out that it is a specific feature in Hungary that the set of values which ensure our national identity is largely based on legal grounds and the Fundamental Law of Hungary protects our cultural identity more than ever before. Our identity has been forged as a result of the historical development of our constitutional traditions – he stressed. According to Prof. Dr. András Varga Zs., our identity is not static, and changes are added thereto.
It is the first time that the National Office for the Judiciary organised an international conference on the subject of the administration of the courts. In the future, the event seeks to become a professional forum at which national and European experts dealing with the above subject may share their theoretical and practical experiences with each other. The international conference on the courts’ administration gives an opportunity to provide the national courts of the European Union Member States with good practices to be followed.