On the 29th of March, at the invitation of associate professor Angela Cossiri, Dr. Márton Sulyok and dr. Dávid Márki from the Institute of Public Law of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences held an online seminar for the advanced students of the University of Macerata, Faculty of Law in Italy.
The theme of the seminar was built around a research project conducted in Macerata on reinvigorating democracy in the pandemic era. Our colleagues were asked to introduce the special legal order in Hungary during the COVID-19 Pandemic, in particular attention to Governance, Courts, and Constitutional Court issues.
Through the presentation, students of the seminar and attending colleagues were able to gain insight into the Hungarian regulation of special legal order, its development and some relevant constitutional matters. The 3-hour-long class focused on how the Government reacted to the pandemic situation, what kind of extraordinary measures the Government introduced, and how these extraordinary measures affected our everyday lives, and the proper functioning of the Courts and Constitutional Court. The functioning of courts was examined in two main aspects – procedural and administrative – regarding temporary rules in effect affecting trials and the management of courts, and the principles of orality, immediacy, and publicity were addressed in terms of possible violations of the right to a fair trial.
In the part on the Constitutional Court, Dr. Márton Sulyok analyzed a few selected cases that arose regarding “COVID-governance” representing issues of challenges punishments imposed for violating pandemic restrictions, constitutional challenges brought against government decrees in violation of the right to work and rest as well as international law as well as against criminal sanctions of scaremongering amended to fit situations of special legal order. Finally a case was described wherein the Constitutional Court argued that social distancing as a norm of self-defense against infection did not extend to the maintenance of family relations between parents and children (irrespective of whether they live together or not) as it is not in the best interest of children. It was specified that dedicated exceptions from under curfew regulations in terms of visitation rights currently in force especially exist for this reason, and the lower courts have failed in their duty to balance the concurring fundamental rights positions of the parties, which amounted to a violation of the right to privacy and family life.
|Angela Cossiri (top row, middle)|
The students took an active part in the debate and exchange of ideas by asking questions regarding constitutional aspects of vaccination and the channeling of public opinion into decision-making, and sharing their views about the mentioned constitutional matters in the Italian experience.