Pioneering Decision of the Constitutional Court of Hungary to Invoke the Protection of Human Dignity in Tax Matters
Intertax, Vol. 39, No. 11, pp. 534-542, 2011
11 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 7, 2011
The jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court has been changed recently. According to Section 32A (2) of the Act XX of 1949 on the Constitution of the Republic of Hungary (as amended), effective as of 20 November 2010, the provisions of budget and tax laws cannot be reviewed by the Constitutional Court unless the application filed with the Constitutional Court exclusively has referred to the infringement of the right to life and human dignity, the right to privacy, the freedom of conscience or the rights of citizens. Under Paragraph 3 of the same Section, budget and tax laws cannot be repealed by the Constitutional Court unless the infringement by them of the Constitution affects one of the same rights as indicated in Paragraph 2.
The Constitutional Court was not prevented before from any review of any law. Truly, one of the weaknesses of the Hungarian tax system is that it is instable. However, the current restriction of the scope of the constitutional review clearly debilitates the rule of law principle. Although the role of the Constitutional Court in serving as a guardian of the rule of law has been diminished, the Court did not have to wait for a long time to exploit an opportunity, and carry out a test of tax law provisions, now strictly in the light of the protection of human dignity.
This is unusual because tax cases have not been dealt with before by referring to the protection of human dignity. Bearing in mind the new constitutional law environment and the recent activity the Constitutional Court has shown in connection with the application of the principle of the protection of human dignity to a tax case, tax lawyers started entertaining interest in this principle. The present paper seeks to explore a link between the protection of human dignity and taxation through the analysis of a specific decision of the Constitutional Court.
Keywords: Human dignity, equality before the law, rule of law, retroactive legislation, subjective rights reverse discrimination, rule of law
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation