On 30 March 2020, the extraordinary judicial break which begun on 15 March 2020 was terminated by the Hungarian Government in its Government Decree No. 74/2020 (31 March) on the Particular Prevailing Procedural Measures during the Pandemic Period (hereinafter: Government Decree No. 74/2020 (31 March) or Government Decree). The Government Decree No. 74/2020 (31 March) entered into force on its effective day at 3 o’clock p.m. This Government Decree will remain in effect during the pandemic period and until the State of Emergency is ended. The pandemic measures also shall be followed after the termination of the extraordinary judicial break.
Regarding to the procedural acts, the provisions contained by the Government Decree must be followed. The entry to the court building shall be forbidden for the client unless the requirements which are contained by the OBHE Resolution No. 47.SZ/2020 (1 April) (hereinafter: VOH) on the Order of Use of the Court Buildings point 4. prescribes it during the time of the procedural act. [OBHE Resolution No. 49.SZ/2020 (3 April) on the Regulation of the Order of Stay in the Court Buildings during Pandemic Period]
The Government Decree contains lots of procedural measures. These article contains most important measures regarding to the civil litigious and non litigious procedures only, while the measures in connection with the administrative and criminal procedures will be discussed in an another article.
Prevailing particular procedural measures during the period of State of Emergency
Measures in connection with the civil litigious and non litigious procedures
During the period of the State of Emergency the provisions of the Act III of 1952 on the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter: former CCP) and the Act CXXX of 2016 on the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter: CCP) shall be applied with the discrepancy contained in the Government Decree.
The continuation of the time limit is not affected by the State of Emergency, except the Government Decree dispose differently.
In the civil procedures under the effect of the CCP, the case initiation shall be conducted instead of the case initiation hearing. If it necessary the court may summons the parties for submitting further written statements or calls on the lawyer and parties if their personal hearing is necessary. In connection with the above-mentioned facts, the court perform its activity in the manner contained by subsection 7 to terminate the case.
The above-mentioned provisions under this section must be applied to the actions of personal status.
In the civil procedures under the effect of the former CCP, the substantial hearing shall be conducted by means of electronically network or any other devices which are able to transfer picture, video and voice. If the conditions of this is not being ensured, instead of the conduct of the substantial hearing, the statement recorded at the hearing can be obtained by the court in written form or by means of device which can identify the personality and in the case of necessity it can be recorded. [Government Decree Sec. 21 (3)]
The court does not conduct case initiation hearing at the request of the parties. Before the termination of the case initiation hearing the court will inform the parties in advance and provides the opportunity to make their further written statements. The termination of the case initial hearing will be communicated to the parties in written form by the court. [Government Decree Sec. 21 (2)]
In the case of the necessity of the personal hearing, the statements shall be obtained in written form or by the means of devices which are able to identify personality and in the case of necessity it can be recorded. [Government Decree Sec. 21 (7)]
In litigation, there is an unlimited number of stay of proceedings at the request of the parties.
During the State of Emergency – with exceptions contained by the subsection 3 – there shall be no place for the procedural act to be conducted in a place which is subject to an epidemiological measure.
During the State of Emergency the party acts without counsel may submits the application, counterclaim, extension of the action or the offsetting without written standard form based on the particular law. [Government Decree Sec. 24]
If the application submitted by the party acting without counsel does not contains the compulsory content elements or the formal accessories, the court in its deficiency court ruling must indicates all of the deficiencies of the application and the court must communicates all of information in connection with the deficiencies replacement of the application. In case of the unsuccessful replacement there is a place for rejection.
During the State of Emergency the submissions can not be filed personally to the court administration office. The submissions can be placed in the locked collecting box at the entrance door of the court.
During the State of Emergency if there is a place for service by public notification in the civil proceeding, the procedure is interrupted until the termination of the reason of service by public notification or the termination of the State of Emergency.
The judgment will be delivered out of court hearing by the court. [Government Decree Sec. 28 (2)]
In the appealing and review proceedings a hearing can not be requested by the parties. [Government Decree Sec. 29 (1)]
If the time limit expires in the civil litigious and non litigious proceedings and in the period up to 15 days after the entry into force of Government Decree No. 45/2020 (14 March) and this Government Decree, the time limit shall be extended to 30 days after the entry into force of this Government Decree.
This Government Decree shall be applied in pending cases and non litigious proceedings.
Shortly summarize the aforementioned facts, the courts are operating continuously but the personal appearance is replaced by the literacy. It can be said that the litigation division is operating similarly as the non litigation division. These epidemiological measures are necessary because of the current pandemic situation in order to slow down the spread of the virus as effectively as possible and thus protect each other’s health. Therefore it is very important to follow the provisions of this Government Decree.