Hungary's right-wing national government finally refrains from introducing a new administrative jurisdiction. The law will be withdrawn, Justice Minister Judit Varga said on late Thursday afternoon the state news agency MTI. Already in May, the government had delayed the start of work of the new courts for an indefinite period. It was already decided in December 2018.
In particular, a constitutional expert panel of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission, had criticized the plans for the Hungarian administrative courts. The courts have ruled in politically sensitive cases, such as electoral challenges and conflicts over decisions of pro-government media supervision. The biggest criticism was that the Hungarian government had the deciding word in appointing senior judges.
"After serious technical discussions, the government has come to the conclusion that the jurisdiction is to be saved from unnecessary discussions, which is why it will maintain the uniform system of jurisdiction," said Justice Minister Varga. An independent administrative jurisdiction will not exist. When the Hungarian government postponed the entry into force of the law in May, it said the decision to suspend the reform "should improve Hungary's position within the EU".
Hungary's judiciary is repeatedly restricted in its independence by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been in office since 2010. The State Office for Courts created in 2012 harasses judges who do not want to decide in line with government policy. The forced retirement of older and experienced judges, also in 2012, should make way for government-loyal followers. EU bodies have regularly complained about these interventions.