Hungary: A modern and efficient Civil Procedure Code is in progress to ensure rapid conclusion of civil procedures
Significance of the current Civil Procedure Code expressed in figures
More than 200 000 civil procedures are initiated in Hungary every year. If we take into account pending procedures and cases at the appeal stage, around 300 000 civil procedures are in progress on an annual basis. In addition, another 1 million non-litigious procedures also proceed on the basis of the Civil Procedure Code (“CPC”). Procedural rules for this large number of cases are set in the CPC that came into effect on 1 January 1953 and which is no longer appropriate in many respects.
Main reasons for a new CPC
There is a unanimous desire in the legal profession to replace the current CPC with a new procedural code, because:
– regulatory elements of the current CPC limit the possibilities for amendments and do not allow modernization of procedural law;
– only in the past 25 years the CPC has been amended almost a hundred times by Hungarian legislators, with these numerous changes interfering in coherence and interpretation;
– in recent years the regulatory environment has been greatly renewed (a new judicial system act and a new Civil Code came into force) that can have optimal impact only together with a modern CPC.
Main provisions and principles of the concept of the new CPC
(i) systematic implementation of the efficiency of litigation procedures;
(ii) application of procedure concentration which aims to clarify the content of a dispute at a very early stage and to exclude acts resulting in delay of trial;
(iii) development of procedural rules for reconciliation between parties;
(iv) introduction of divided procedure construction: division of procedure into preparatory phase and negotiation phase;
(v) introduction of compulsory legal representation in procedures before the Regional Court as a guarantee of a professional manner of proceeding;
(vi) establishment of procedural rules on labour law under special procedures in the CPC;
(vii) rules on administrative litigation are regulated in a separate Act;
(viii) rules on arbitration are still set out in a separate Act;
(ix) introduction of Hungarian class action rules;
(x) strengthening the role of computerization.
Adoption of a new CPC which corresponds to the objectives and principles identified above is to be expected in 2016. We will keep you informed.