Annual Report 2017

Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies
1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán street 4.
Postal Address: 1250 Budapest, P.O.B. 20.
Tel: (1) 355 7384; fax: (1) 375 7858
Director: Gárdos-Orosz, Fruzsina Kinga

I. Main duties of the research unit in 2017

The main duty of the HAS Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Legal Studies is to carry out internationally competitive basic research within the field of legal studies. We define basic research as research which has the academic community as its primary target audience. Within basic research our most significant and specific task is to accomplish large-scale joint projects, with the involvement of experts from a variety of legal fields, which universities tend not to be best positioned to undertake. Besides, the institute offers several publication fora (Állam- és Jogtudomány, Acta Juridica, MTA Law Working Papers and the JTI blog). In addition, the institute issues the fortnightly Newsletter on Legal Studies and operates the Legal Studies Search Engine, the latter enables quick and efficient research in the various databases of legal studies.

Secondary tasks are prescribed by the Act on the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the statutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Centre for Social Sciences as well. These tasks are the following: organizing scientific endeavours in Hungary and abroad, co-operation with domestic and international research units, receiving foreign researchers, strengthening the legal knowledge of the public and disseminating scientific results and their social applicability.

A third set of tasks includes consultation on legislation, the training of experts, providing general consultation methods and delivering expertise. The institute as an institution only performs such tasks if one of the following conditions applies: (a) there is an explicit request from a competent body, marked by the laws as such; (b) the outcome of the commission has significant theoretical advantages and benefits; (c) charge is paid in return for the work of the institute.

The institute benefitted from the presence of two foreign researchers in the year under review (one of them Bosnian, the other Polish). In recent years, the institute has established a meritocratic selection procedure. New researchers are accepted after open competition and as a result of an interview by a board, thus ensuring the employment of the best candidates.

There are three scientific departments at the institute, which are the following:

  • Department for the Study of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law;
  • Department for the Study of the Domestic Implementation of International and European Law;
  • Department for the Study of the Private, Criminal and Administrative Law Guarantees of Market Economy.

Departments within the institute are administrative organizational units, established along broadly understood research fields. Following academic statutes, all researchers are members of a department and all researchers are members of one department only. The names of the departments reflect the research priorities of the research units and guide the choices made in new employments. The tasks related to the functioning of each department are fulfilled by the responsible head of department.

The researchers of the institute, within their separate spheres of responsibility, also carry out diverse partial tasks in the institute as well as in the administration of research, which is the precondition of balanced and high-standard science organization and science support. These portfolios are public and uploaded to the homepage of the research unit. The institute is eager to assist our guest researchers from abroad. Thus, correspondence tends to be bilingual (Hungarian and English). Moreover, the institute provides bilingual information and collegial assistance towards scientometric reports as well as the general responsibilities of academic life.

II. Outstanding research and other results in 2017

a) Outstanding research results

The researchers of the institute completed the project entitled “Cooperation between the Constitutional Court and the Curia in Defending Fundamental Rights”. The edited results will be published as a book in 2018. The findings of the research were presented in 2017 at a conference organised by the Constitutional Court and the Curia, the event was open to the press as well.

In the project entitled “MTA Lendület (Momentum) Hungary's opportunities of public policy in the European Unionanalysis of legal frames” (1 September 2013 – 31 August 2018) the members of the research group continued their theoretical and empirical research. This year the emphasis was on the political-economic aspect of legal research, as opposed to the previous years, which were dominated, on the one hand, by empirical research and, on the other, by research based on classical integration theory. The activities of the year 2017 were also defined by the initial phase of the finalising of the five-year research project. The principal investigator has started to write a research monograph and edit the volume of studies comprising the work of the research team as well as that of the associated international scholarly network. The review of the reports on the empirical studies is in progress. The team has also begun to elaborate the framework of continuing their joint operations after the closing of the project in summer 2018.

One researcher of the institute is the head of the project entitled “Human Rights Encyclopaedia” to which many researchers of the institute contribute entries. The project envisages the publication of approximately one hundred scholarly articles, which enables a comprehensive overview of the field, both domestically and internationally. Most entries have already been submitted, publication can be foreseen in the near future.

Edited by researchers of the institute, leading academic publisher Routledge will publish the volume of studies entitled New challenges to constitutional adjudication in Europe later in 2018. The book investigates the ways in which the practices of European constitutional courts have responded to new social and economic challenges, including the financial crisis and processes of migration. The research unit had a major share in financing and organising the international research project that produced these results. This is the first broad, comparative examination of the research field.

A researcher of the institute has published, also with Routledge, a monograph entitled Democratic Decline in Hungary: Law and Society in an Illiberal Democracy. The book appears as part of a series on Comparative Constitutional Change and offers an interpretation of the Hungarian model of illiberal democracy from the perspective of constitutional law. The book examines the first two years of the dismantling of constitutional democracy in Hungary, the potential reasons for the anti-democratic turn, the political community envisioned by the “National System of Cooperation”, as well as the experiment for creating an illiberal constitutional identity.

Another researcher of the institute, who is no longer employed, however, was co-editor of the collection of studies entitled The Enforcement of EU Law and Values, published by Oxford University Press. The book comprehensively investigates the questions related to the enforcement of EU law and offers a comparative examination of the procedures established by the Member States for the enforcement of EU law, as well as a detailed interpretation of the current challenges facing the European Union and the difficulties and potential solutions in each of the national and international legal systems.

The year under review also saw the successful continuation of the Bolyai János Research Grant Project (started in 2015) entitled “The role of soft law in the actions of the European Ombudsman” As a result, an English language book-chapter as well as a peer-reviewed Hungarian article have already been published.

A researcher is working on a monograph in the English language entitled “On the History of Comparative Law”, a chapter of which is currently under review at the German Law Journal.

Another Bolyai János Research Grant project, entitled “The protection of lending by criminal law” was closed and awarded an “excellent” ranking in 2017. The results of the research have been published as a chapter in a peer-reviewed scholarly book.

During the year under review one of the institute’s researchers has been awarded a DSc and another one a PhD degree. A new young researcher (a doctoral student) has joined the ranks of the institute.

One researcher of the institute continued work as a guest-researcher on a Marie-Curie Grant at the Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute for Sociology, where the researcher studies the question of the legal operationalisation of ethnicity as part of a three-year fellowship. In 2017, the researcher gave a lecture on Ethnic and racial identity: „Fraud” and „choice” in law and politics at the doctoral school of Comenius University in Bratislava.

Project OTKA K112900, granted in 2015 and entitled “Institutional Reform in Aging Societies”, (1 January 2015 – 31 December 2018) has continued its operations according to the work plan.

Five research proposals by four researchers of the institute gained funding by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office. Two out of these were researcher-initiated, one post-doctoral and one initiated by a young researcher. (For detail, see section IV of the Report)

During the year under review the institute housed – according to the categories of the evaluation regulations at the Centre for Social Sciences – three outstanding and three recognised research projects.

Two researchers of the institute were involved in each of the following outstanding projects:

  • “Recent criminal law regulations in legal consciousness”;
  • “The absence of entitlement-cultures in Middle-European Legal Cultures. Myth or reality?”;
  • “Regulatory questions in internet data control”.

From among the recognised projects:

  • three researchers were involved in the “Human rights of asylum-seekers in Hungary and Italy” project;
  • two in the project “The principle of effective legal protection in administrative law – A comparative perspective in Europe”;
  • two in the “Institutional reform in aging societies” project;
  • two in “Collective procedures on minority group claims”;
  • two in “The influence of punitive penal policy on sentencing and the budget repercussions thereof”;
  • and two in “Strengthening minority rights through class action”.

Researchers of the institute also participate in projects of other institutes in the Centre. One researcher is part of the team undertaking the “POPULPOL: Populism in policy making” project. Our institute prioritises cooperation within the Centre and 2017 has seen the initiation of a number of joint projects.

In the field of organisational activities, the institute has been the host or co-organiser of many academic conferences, the chief of which are the following:

  • In April 2017 the institute co-organised a conference on the theme of Special Legal Order with Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences and the Hungarian Society for Military Law and Law of War.
  • In June 2017, again in co-operation with Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, the Institutional reforms in ageing societies conference was held.
  • In September 2017 a trilingual (English, German and Hungarian) conference was held, entitled Juristische Grundlehre 100, in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of the most important work by Bódog Somló.

The English-language journal of the institute, Acta Juridica Hungarica – Hungarian Journal of Legal Studies features in HeinOnline database and continuity in the Scopus system was reaffirmed in 2017. The journal of the institute, entitled Állam- és Jogtudomány (Studies in Law and Political Studies) published 4 issues in the year under review; the double blind peer-reviewed ‘A’ category (upon the system adopted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) periodical was and is a leading journal in Hungarian legal literature. The editors are researchers of the institute, while the editorial board consists of the deans of the Hungarian law faculties. MTA Law Working Papers (with ISSN number), edited by four researchers of the institute, had a successful year and published 25 papers in 2017. The working-paper series is the first level within the hierarchy of the scientific publications, it is a forum for papers not completed but worthy of the attention of the scholarly community and open to debate before finalising. The periodical offers an open access forum for papers written under the aegis of several projects at the institute.

b) Science and society

Researchers of the institute contributed to the scientific discourse in the focus of public attention and disseminated academic knowledge in various fields. The events of the institute are almost without exception open to the public (although subject to prior registration on occasion), and their programmes and highlights are always published on the updated and informative bilingual (Hungarian and English) website, on the newly established Jogtudományi Hírlevél (Newsletter on Legal Studies), Jogtudományi Kereső (Legal Studies Search Engine) and on the frequently updated Facebook profile of the institute ( In 2017, the researchers uploaded 6 videos to the YouTube channel of the research unit, which had been watched 1756 times until the time this report was finalised. There are currently 247 subscribers. In addition to publication on the website, all events are circulated among relevant Hungarian research units via email and other electronic communication (and in the case of foreign language events, the researchers’ professional contacts and certain foreign faculty units are informed as well).

One of the main aims of the institute is to support the Hungarian legal scholarship community with scholarly administrative service. Upon this objective and following foreign examples the institute launched the Jogtudományi Hírlevél (Newsletter on Legal Studies), published every two weeks in an online form containing news on the current calls for conference participations, PhD procedures, habilitations in legal scholarship, book launch events, personal information, and scholarships as well. In 2017, 23 newsletters were sent to numerous recipients.

In March 2017, the Institute presented its Pro Dissertatione Iuridica Excellentissima award and the recipient gave a lecture. The award can be granted on the basis of PhD dissertations in Hungarian, English, German or French. The Institute also offers a Lifetime Achievement Award. Many recommendations were submitted by the deans of Hungarian universities. A board of numerus researchers of the Institute finally made its decision close to the end of the year and the Award was presented in December.

Many of the Institute’s events organised for the broader professional and non-professional public drew significant attendance and media attention. Two of them especially so:

  1. the roundtable discussion of the decision of the European Commission on the development of the Paks nuclear power plant, where two researchers of the Institute, the appointed government commissioner as well as independent experts participated;
  2. the roundtable discussion of moral and legal aspects of human reproduction procedures, attended by a researcher of the Institute, an expert in bio-ethics, a theologian and a medical doctor.

The institute, following its traditions, participated in 2017 in the Researchers’ Night programmes. This year five researchers of the institute held lectures. The number of those in attendance as well as their positive feedback suggests that there is real need in the future for events of a similar nature in the future.

III. A presentation of national and international R&D relations in 2017

An important part of the research unit’s R&D network is made up of its researchers also lecturing at the following universities at BA, MA or PhD levels: Babeș-Bolyai University; Corvinus University, Budapest; Budapest University of Technology and Economics; University of Debrecen; Eötvös Loránd University; Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church; Central European University; University of Miskolc; National University of Public Service; Pázmány Péter Catholic University; University of Pécs; Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania; Széchenyi István University; ELTE Bibó István College for Advanced Studies; Mathias Corvinus Collegium. In the past year our colleagues have worked at the following foreign universities as well: University of Siena, University of Bergen, University of Warwick, Université Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand, France), Comenius University (Bratislava), NATO Defense College (Rome).

Researchers of the institute taught approximately 150 courses in 2017 (two thirds of them theoretical, one third practical), while they supervised cc. 90 theses and Student Research Societies papers. Seventeen researchers taught at doctoral schools or colleges for advanced studies, five of them are core members of doctoral schools and a further seven teach at doctoral schools. Our colleagues supervised 25 doctoral dissertations in 2017, two of their PhD students received doctorates in that year.

In the year under review most of our researchers were members of or title bearers at different national and international scholarly bodies or contributed to the academic sphere as editors or members of editorial boards of scientific journals or administrators. Our colleagues have contributed to the work of nearly twenty domestic and six international academic bodies, eight of them title bearers, three internationally. The researchers have been members of the editorial boards of nearly twenty domestic and five international or foreign-language journals.

IV. Brief summary of national and international research proposals, winning in 2017

  • Work on the “Recent criminal law regulations – in legal consciousness” (NKFIA K-125378) started on 1 October 2017. In a three-months long outstanding research project following the established work plan, a review of Hungarian legal consciousness methodologies and results was carried out, together with an examination of the sporadic issues and cases of criminal law (“legal cases”) in the earlier studies, which could – with possible necessary modifications – be used for the purposes of the questionnaires used in the present research. The analysis of the methodologies of the existing research suggests that knowledge respecting the changes in regulation is not best examined in the context of knowledge of individual legal institutions (e.g. childhood or legal defence) in general but with regards to information connected to those in specific.
  • The project entitled “The influence of punitive penal policy on sentencing and the budget repercussions thereof” (NKFIA K-125442) examines the affect stricter or milder penal policies have on sentencing, on prison populations and consequently on the budget in an interdisciplinary approach, combining economic and legal methods. The urgency of the research s explained by the famously adverse conditions in Hungarian prison conditions. The project is carried out by four researchers. In the first year, a senior member of the institute will examine the possible impacts of penal policy, a junior researcher analyses criminological and international variables, while the two economists of the team will focus on cost effectiveness and the actualities and potentialities of a self-sufficient prison model and the possibilities of optimising costs. The first results of the research are published in the January 2018 issue of Magyar Jog.
  • The project entitled “Strengthening minority rights through class action” (NKFIA FK-124804) covered the initial steps and harmonising procedures in the first three months of its operations. The researchers of the team are preparing for an international workshop to be held in Spring 2018, with the aim of mapping the challenges facing minority group claims in our region. The principal investigator has submitted a proposal for the 2018 conference of the Association for the Studies of Nationalities to be held in New York (we have not received a response yet). The principal investigator has also given an introductory lecture on the research at the forum of the HAS Centre for Social Sciences forum held on 16 November 2017.
  • The “Collective procedures on minority group claims” project examines how far enabling class action or, more broadly, non-traditional judicial procedures can contribute to the enforcement of minority rights, even without the formal modification of the individually defined system of rights. The aim of the research is the formulation of a proposal for a more effective group-based protection of minority rights. The research collects and examines data from a wide  pool of minority claims heard by domestic and international for a and ones that, for structural reasons, never reached that stage, with special reference to those that contain supra-personal elements.
  • The three-year project entitled “The absence of entitlement-cultures in Middle-European Legal Cultures. Myth or reality?” (NKFIA FK-125520) aims to investigate, in light of the most recent empirical and theoretical evidence, whether the lack of entitlement-culture still applies to present-day Hungarian legal culture. This set of problems was first addressed by legal sociology in Hungary in the 1980s, with András Sajó as the leading expert in the field. In the two last months of 2017 the project was registered into the financial and administrative system of the Research Centre and several international experts have been invited to join the research network. Researchers from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland and Hungary have agreed to join the research efforts so far. In early 2018, the project will hold its launching international workshop.​

V. List of important publications in 2017

  • Balázs, István: „Des nouvelles tendances du concept de l’autonomie locale en Hongrie” in Mélanges en l’honneur du Professeur Gérard Marcou, Paris: IRJS Editions Collection: Bibliothèque de l’Institut de Recherche Juridique de la Sorbonne – André Tunc (2017)
  • Bencze, Mátyás – Kovács, Ágnes – Ződi, Zsolt: „The evaluation and development of the quality of justice in Hungary” in Francesco Contini (szerk.): Handle with Care: Assessing and designing methods for evaluation and development of the quality of justice, Bologna: IRSIG-CNR, 127–173. (2017)
  • Fekete, Balázs – Gárdos-Orosz, Fruzsina (szerk.): Central and Eastern European Socio-Political and Legal Transition Revisited (Central and Eastern European Forum for Legal, Political, and Social Theory Yearbook 7.), Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang (2017)
  • Fiala-Butora, János: „The CRPD and Legal Capacity Reform in Hungary: Compromise of What?” in Charles O’Mahony – Gerard Quinn (szerk.): Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention, Dublin: Clarus Press, 127–136. (2017) https://­­menuid=541&dbid=­36&id=­74591
  • Ganczer, Mónika: „The Effects of the Differences between the Austrian and the Hungarian Regulation of the Rights of Citizenship in a Commune (Heimatrecht, Indigénat, Pertinenza, Illetőség) on the Nationality of the Successor States of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy” Journal on European History of Law (8)2. 100–107. (2017)
  • Gárdos-Orosz, Fruzsina – Temesi, István: „The Principle of Effective Legal Protection in Hungarian Administrative Law” in Szente, Zoltán – Konrad Lachmayer (szerk.): The Principle of Effective Legal Protection in Administrative Law: A European Perspective, London: Routledge, 158–173. (2017)
  • Jakab András – Körtvélyesi Zsolt (szerk.): A Magyar Tudományos Akadémia helyzete és reformlehetőségei / The Situation and Reform Opportunities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest: Osiris (2017)­uploads/­files­/­akademia_helyzete.pdf
  • Könczöl, Miklós: „Dealing with the Past in and around the Fundamental Law of Hungary” in Uladzislau Belavusau – Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias (szerk.): Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 246–262. (2017)­index.php?­menuid­=541&dbid=36&id=74592
  • Körtvélyesi, Zsolt – Majtényi, Balázs – Kállai, Péter: „Binding Principles and Contested Concepts: The Principles of Equality, Indivisibility and Universality before the Human Rights Council” in Wolfgang Benedek – Matthias C. Ketteman – Reinhard Klaushofer – Karin Lukas – Manfred Nowak (szerk.): European Yearbook on Human Rights, Wien: Neuer Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 267–285. (2017) https://­vm.mtmt.­hu/­kommunikacio/index.php?menuid=541&dbid=36&id=74593
  • Pap, András László: Democratic Decline in Hungary: Law and Society in an Illiberal Democracy, London – New York: Routledge (2017)­Democ­ratic-­Decline-in-Hungary-Law-and-Society-in-an-Illiberal-Democracy/­Pap/p/­book/9781138052123
  • Schweitzer Gábor: A magyar királyi köztársaságtól a Magyar Köztársaságig. Közjog- és tudománytörténeti tanulmányok, Pécs: Publikon (2017)
  • Sulyok, Gábor: „Breach of Treaties in the Ancient Near East” Journal of the History of International Law (19), 1–27. (2017)­kommunikacio/­index.­php?­menuid=541&dbid=36&id=74594
  • Szente, Zoltán: „Challenging the Basic Values. Problems in the Rule of Law in Hungary and the Failure of the EU to Tackle Them” in Jakab, András – Dimitry Kochenov (szerk.): The Enforcement of EU Law and Values: Ensuring Member States’ Compliance, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 456–475. (2017) http://real.­
  • Ziegler, Dezső Tamás – Horváthy, Balázs: „Europeanization of the Hungarian Legal Order: From Convergence to Cancellation?” in Tom Hashimoto – Michael Rhimes (szerk.): Reviewing European Union Accession. Unexpected Results, Spillover Effects, and Externalities, Leiden: Brill, 24–40. (2017)
  • Ződi, Zsolt: „Law and Legal Science in the Age of Big Data Intersections” East European Journal of Society and Politics (3)2, 69–87. (2017)­kommuni­kacio­/­index.php?menuid=541&dbid=36&id=74595