Close

BETA VERSION OF THE PORTAL IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Visit the BETA version of the European e-Justice Portal and give us feedback of your experience!

 
 

menu starting dummy link

Page navigation

menu ending dummy link

Jurisdiction - Hungary

Please note that the original language version of this page Hungarian has been amended recently. The language version you are now viewing is currently being prepared by our translators.

1 Should I apply to an ordinary civil court or to a specialised court (for example an employment labour court)?

Under the Act on the Organisation and Administration of Courts, only one type of specialised court operates in Hungary: the administrative and labour court dealing with labour and administrative cases. Cases other than labour and administrative cases fall within the competence of ordinary courts. Even if a specialised court proceeds in the case, appeals are not heard by the specialised court but by an ordinary court, namely the regional court (törvényszék) that has jurisdiction over the seat where the administrative and labour court is located.

Cases falling within the competence of administrative and labour courts include proceedings brought for the review of administrative decisions and in matters of employment and similar legal relationships. The administrative decisions involved in such proceedings may be: decisions taken in official cases by an authority or head of an authority specified in the Act on the General Rules of Administrative Proceedings; enforcement orders issued as a result of an infringement of the obligations arising from an official contract; statutory decisions of local governments, and decisions of other bodies, organisations or persons which, under the provisions of separate legislation, may be reviewed in accordance with the rules for hearing administrative cases.

Proceedings brought in matters of employment and similar legal relationships include proceedings for the enforcement of claims under labour law, or arising from employment as a civil servant, service in the government and public sector or a relationship of members of cooperatives entailing service and employment obligations. Claims under the law governing the relationship between employees and employers and directly related to employment may also be enforced in labour proceedings. The jurisdiction of administrative and labour courts extends to administrative decisions taken in the context of labour and occupational safety inspections, decisions concerning the establishment of, participation in, and powers exercised under the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee, administrative decisions taken by the national employment authority under the Act on Employment Promotion and Unemployment Benefits, as well as the court review of decisions in social security matters. In these matters, administrative and labour courts proceed in accordance with the rules for hearing administrative cases.

2 Where the ordinary civil courts have jurisdiction (i.e. these are the courts which have responsibility for such cases) how can I find out which one I should apply to?

2.1 Is there a distinction between lower and higher ordinary civil courts (for example district courts as lower courts and regional courts as higher courts) and if so which one is competent for my case?

Pursuant to the Act on the Organisation and Administration of Courts, first-instance judgments are passed by district courts (járásbíróság) and regional courts. All legal actions not referred to regional courts by legislation come under the jurisdiction of district courts. The jurisdiction of regional courts covers the following:

(a) legal actions pertaining to property rights where the value of the property exceeds HUF 30 million, except for actions brought for rights in property arising out of the matrimonial relationship if they are initiated with, or in the course of, proceedings brought in matrimonial matters;

(b) legal actions initiated to obtain compensation for damage caused by persons acting in their official capacity under public administration;

(c) disputes concerning copyright and related rights, including actions to enforce rights and cost claims coming under joint legal management, as well as legal actions concerning industrial property, and cases concerning rights provided for by Section 86(3)-(4) of the Civil Code;

(d) legal actions relating to the international transport of goods or transport contracts;

(e) certain legal actions concerning companies;

(f) certain legal actions concerning organisations not qualifying as companies and registered by the regional court;

(g) legal actions brought to enforce civil rights claims arising as a result of the infringement of individual rights, including legal actions for compensation for such infringement if they are initiated with, or in the course of, these legal actions;

(h) legal actions concerning the legal relationship arising from securities;

(j) legal actions for rectifications by the press.

Regional courts not only proceed at first instance but also pass judgments at second instance with respect to appeals against judgments of the district courts and the administrative and labour courts.

In the cases laid down by legislation, regional courts of appeal (ítélőtábla) decide on applications for legal remedy against the judgment by district courts and regional courts, and proceed in other cases referred under their jurisdiction. The supreme court of Hungary is the Curia of Hungary (Kúria). The Curia – in the cases specified by legislation – decides on applications for legal remedy against the judgment by regional courts and regional courts of appeal and on applications for judicial review, as well as conflicts between local government decrees and other legislation, and repeals such decrees. In addition, the Curia establishes any failure of the local governments to meet their statutory obligations and proceeds in other cases that come under its jurisdiction.

2.2 Territorial jurisdiction (is the court of city/town A or of city/town B competent for my case?)

2.2.1 The basic rule of territorial jurisdiction

In general terms, the court in whose area the defendant lives has jurisdiction in all cases in which the exclusive competence of another court is not established (general jurisdiction). If the defendant does not have a place of residence in Hungary, jurisdiction is governed by the place of stay of the defendant. If the place of stay of the defendant is unknown or is abroad, his or her last place of residence in Hungary will be taken into account. If this cannot be established or if the defendant did not have one, jurisdiction will be established on the basis of the claimant’s place of residence or, failing this, his or her place of stay. If the place of work and place of residence are not located in the same geographical area, at the request of the defendant made at the latest at the first hearing in the case, the court will refer the matter to the court having jurisdiction in the area where the place of work of the defendant is located in order to conduct the hearing and deliver a judgment.

If actions are brought against a legal person, general jurisdiction can be determined on the basis of the location of the legal person’s seat or the seat of the body entitled to represent it. In case of doubt, the place of business of the legal person is considered its seat. If the legal person’s seat is in Budapest but its operations extend to the territory of Pest County, the court that has jurisdiction over Pest County will deal with the case. If the legal person does not have a seat in Hungary, jurisdiction with respect to legal actions brought by a Hungarian legal person will be established on the basis of the legal person’s seat. If the claimant is a Hungarian natural person, jurisdiction will be established either at the place of residence of the claimant or, failing that, his or her place of stay.

In legal actions against unincorporated bodies, the rules pertaining to legal entities are applied, as appropriate, when establishing jurisdiction.

2.2.2 Exceptions to the basic rule

2.2.2.1 When can I choose between the court in the place where the defendant lives (court determined by the application of the basic rule) and another court?

In all cases where the exclusive competence of another court is not established, the claimant may, if he or she so chooses, and on meeting certain prerequisites laid down in the Rules of Civil Procedure, bring a legal action before another court specified in the Rules of Civil Procedure instead of the court with general jurisdiction in respect of the defendant.

For example, in legal actions relating to property, the court in whose area the defendant is staying for a foreseeably long period (e.g. as an employee or student) is also competent. In the case of non-professional members of the Hungarian Defence Force and other armed forces, their permanent place of duty determines the court having competence. Jurisdiction cannot be established on these grounds in the case of defendants who do not have the capacity to act in a lawsuit.

Against a defendant who has neither a place of residence nor a place of stay in Hungary, property-related legal action may also be brought at a court having jurisdiction in the area where the property subject to the legal action is located or where the defendant’s seizable property is located. If the property in question consists of a claim, action may be brought in the area where the place of residence of the defendant’s debtor is located or, if the claim relates to an object, action may also be brought at the place where such object is located.

A legal action to obtain maintenance, allowances and similar periodical benefits may also be brought before the court having jurisdiction over the claimant’s place of residence.

A legal action for the custody of children may also be brought at the court having jurisdiction over the child’s place of residence.

Legal action relating to ownership or possession of real estate and other rights in real estate or a legal relationship connected to the real estate may also be initiated at the court having jurisdiction over the place where the real estate is situated.

Legal actions for claims arising from transactions conducted by business organisations in the field of their activities may also be brought at the court having jurisdiction over the place where the transaction was concluded or its place of performance.

Legal action may be brought for damages at the court having competence based on the place or area where the damage occurred.

Legal action relating to a bill of exchange may be brought at the court having jurisdiction over the place of payment.

Joint action may be brought against the secondary obligor and the principal obligor or debtor also at the court which is competent to proceed in any action against the debtor on any grounds establishing jurisdiction. If a person lays claim to the subject or part of the subject of proceedings pending between two other parties, the court having competence in these proceedings will be competent to proceed with respect to any proceedings such person may bring against the parties to the ongoing proceedings to enforce its claim.

2.2.2.2 When do I have to choose a court other than that in the place where the defendant lives (court determined by the application of the basic rule)?

When legislation provides that a specific court shall have exclusive competence in the case. This provision applies for example in the cases below.

In the case of actions brought for the review of administrative decisions concerning entry into and stay in the territory of Hungary, jurisdiction is established on the basis of the seat of the administrative body proceeding at first instance. If jurisdiction cannot be established on this basis, the Administrative and Labour Court of Budapest will have exclusive competence in the case.

If the administrative body proceeding at first instance has jurisdiction across the country – with certain exceptions – the Administrative and Labour Court of Budapest will have exclusive competence.

In the case of actions brought for the termination or restriction of enforcement, the court ordering enforcement will have exclusive competence. If enforcement was ordered by a regional court, an administrative and labour court or a civil law notary, the court having jurisdiction over the place of residence of the debtor will have exclusive competence.

Proceedings initiated for the release of property under enforcement fall within the exclusive competence of the district court having jurisdiction over the area where the property was seized.

2.2.2.3 Can the parties themselves attribute jurisdiction to a court that would not be competent otherwise?

In cases relating to property, the parties may attribute jurisdiction to a particular court to settle their current dispute or any dispute which may arise from a particular legal relationship, unless the law provides otherwise. The parties may submit to this jurisdiction in writing, orally, with written confirmation, in a form consonant with the business practices developed between the parties, or between parties engaged in international trade, in a form consonant with the trade practices that are known or should be known to the parties and that are generally known and regularly used in the given field by the parties entering into a contract containing such a provision on jurisdiction. Jurisdiction cannot be attributed by the parties in cases where the exclusive competence of a particular court is established by legislation. Unless otherwise provided by legislation or agreed by the parties, the designated court has exclusive competence. The provision on jurisdiction also applies to legal successors. If jurisdiction is attributed as part of the general terms of contract, at the request of the defendant made at the latest at the first hearing in the case, the court to which jurisdiction was attributed will refer the matter to the court having jurisdiction based on the basic rules of legislation in order to conduct the hearing and deliver a judgment.

In cases relating to property, the parties may not attribute jurisdiction to the Budapest-Capital Regional Court and to the Budapest Environs Regional Court in matters falling within the competence of regional courts, and to the Pest Central District Court in matters falling within the competence of district courts in order to settle their current dispute or any future dispute which may arise from a particular legal relationship.

3 Where specialised courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I have to address?

Administrative and Labour courts are the only specialized courts operating in Hungary. In labour proceedings, for example, exclusive competence lies with the administrative and labour court having jurisdiction in the area where the seat of the employer is located or where the branch of the employer where the employee performs or performed work under its employment contract is located.

In the case of administrative proceedings, unless the exclusive competence of another court is established or other provisions are laid down by legislation, jurisdiction is established on the basis of the seat of the administrative body proceeding at first instance. If the jurisdiction of the administrative body proceeding at first instance extends to several counties (including the capital), jurisdiction will be established – with certain exceptions – on the basis of the place of residence of the claimant in Hungary or, failing that, his or her place of stay, while in the case of legal persons and unincorporated bodies the competent court will be the court having jurisdiction in the area where the Hungarian seat of the organisation is located. If the administrative decision for which review is requested concerns a right or obligation, or a relationship relating to real estate, action must be brought at the court having jurisdiction over the place where the real estate is situated. If the administrative decision to be reviewed is subject to a notification or permit, or concerns an activity related to such notification or permit, the competent court will be the court having jurisdiction over the place where the activity is pursued or to be pursued. If the administrative body proceeding at first instance has jurisdiction across the country – with certain exceptions – the Administrative and Labour Court of Budapest will have exclusive competence.


The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective EJN contact point. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. Neither the EJN nor the European Commission accept responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

Last update: 03/07/2014