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In Hun­gary, pro­se­cu­to­ri­al acti­vi­ti­es date back to cent­uri­es.

Feu­dal ante­ce­dents of the pro­se­cu­ti­on sys­tem

In the midd­le ages, the task of the Direc­tor of Legal Affa­irs, as the King’s entity, was to rep­re­sent the King and the State as a pla­in­tiff. They also acted as an accu­ser in cri­mi­nal cases con­cer­ning the King and the state order.

Since the 17-18th cent­uri­es, elec­ted muni­ci­pal pro­se­cu­tors acting as legal rep­re­s­en­ta­ti­ves ope­ra­ted in muni­ci­pa­li­ti­es. Their cri­mi­nal law tasks inc­lu­ded the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of indict­ments, per­for­mance of tasks of the pub­lic pro­se­cu­tor and super­vi­si­on of the enfor­ce­ment of punish­ments and penal sanc­tions.

a torvenyek alajan

Reforms in 1848

During the Revo­lu­ti­on, Ferenc Deák, the Minis­ter of Jus­ti­ce, appoin­ted nati­o­nal pub­lic pro­se­cu­tors to enfor­ce the State’s demand for punish­ment. Nati­o­nal pub­lic pro­se­cu­tors acted in ins­tant trial courts ope­rat­ing since Feb­ru­ary of 1849. Their task was to faci­li­ta­te the deter­mi­na­ti­on of the chain of events ret­ros­pec­ti­vely and after evi­den­ce were taken, they made a dec­la­ra­ti­on on the indict­ment.

felragyog a vilagossag fenye

After the supp­r­es­si­on of the war of inde­pen­den­ce

After the supp­r­es­si­on of the war of inde­pen­den­ce, Hun­gary was incor­pora­ted into the Aust­ri­an Empire, and the moder­ni­sa­ti­on of the legal sys­tem had begun.

Among the new ins­ti­tu­tions, the Pub­lic Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce was set up in 1849, which ins­ti­tu­ti­on, based on the French model, was widely used thro­ug­ho­ut Euro­pe by the midd­le of the 19th cent­ury. By this time the idea that a crime vio­la­ted not only the vic­tim but the whole soci­ety became the domi­nant legal way of think­ing.
The Pub­lic Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce was subor­di­na­ted to the Minis­ter of Jus­ti­ce. Pub­lic pro­se­cu­tors had the power to act in cri­mi­nal, civil and dis­cip­li­nary pro­ce­e­dings.

a torvenyek alajan

Fol­lo­wing the Austro-Hungarian Comp­ro­mi­se

After the Comp­ro­mi­se bet­ween Aust­ria and Hun­gary in 1867, the civic state admi­nistra­ti­on star­ted to be built up. Act IV of 1869 on the exerc­i­sing of judi­ci­al power sepa­ra­ted the admi­nistra­ti­on of jus­ti­ce and pub­lic admi­nistra­ti­on, and secu­la­ri­zed the admi­nistra­ti­on of jus­ti­ce.

This was the time when Act XXXIII of 1871 on the Crown Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce was leg­i­sla­ted. The Act defi­ned the task of the pro­se­cu­tors as “to ini­tia­te legal pro­ce­du­re if the regu­la­tions of the cri­mi­nal law were infrin­ged”.

The Crown Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce was orga­ni­zed as an ins­ti­tu­ti­on subor­di­na­ted to the Minis­ter of Jus­ti­ce.

The new state courts and pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces began to ope­ra­te on Janu­ary 1, 1872.

felragyog a vilagossag fenye

The regu­la­ti­on on the emp­loy­ment sta­tus of pro­se­cu­tors was defi­ned in 1871, when provi­sions on jud­ges were expan­ded to them. Pro­se­cu­tors and jud­ges regu­larly went on to work in the other field.

The regu­la­ti­on on the emp­loy­ment sta­tus of pro­se­cu­tors was defi­ned in 1871, when provi­sions on jud­ges were expan­ded to them. Pro­se­cu­tors and jud­ges regu­larly went on to work in the other field.

The great piece of codi­fi­ca­ti­on, Act XXXIII of 1896 on Cri­mi­nal Pro­ce­du­re was based on the idea that cri­mes sho­uld be pro­se­cu­ted, so it became neces­sary to have pro­se­cu­tors at all of the four levels of the court sys­tem. Pro­se­cu­ti­on para­leg­als who were appoin­ted by the Minis­ter of Jus­ti­ce star­ted wor­king at the local court level, while the Crown Pro­se­cu­tor star­ted wor­king at the level of the Sup­re­me Court, the Curia. The orga­ni­za­ti­on of the pro­se­cu­ti­on ser­vi­ce was comp­le­ted with pro­se­cu­tors wor­king at county court and regi­o­nal court of appe­al level.

Inter­est­ingly, the Crown Pro­se­cu­tor did not have the right to super­vi­se and com­mand the pro­se­cu­tors wor­king at the local court level. The most impor­tant power of the Crown Pro­se­cu­tor was the right to chal­len­ge and appe­al to the Curia aga­inst any leg­ally effec­tive deci­sions of the cri­mi­nal and civil courts in order to ensure the stan­dard and uni­for­mity of legal prac­ti­ces. The Crown Pro­se­cu­tor had to be heard in the Curia.

With the Cri­mi­nal Pro­ce­du­re Code com­ing into force on Janu­ary 1, 1900, the clas­si­cal peri­od of the Crown Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce had begun. A uni­fi­ed pro­se­cu­ti­on ser­vi­ce star­ted to work thro­ug­ho­ut the whole count­ry. In accor­dance with the Cri­mi­nal Pro­ce­du­re Code pro­se­cu­tors gave orders for, direc­ted and ter­mi­na­ted cri­mi­nal investiga­tions. They filed indict­ments, but they could also refu­se pro­se­cu­ting a case in court, they could modi­fy and drop char­ges. No tri­als could be held if a pro­se­cu­tor was not pre­sent, and pro­se­cu­tors could lodge appe­als aga­inst court deci­sions.

The first Crown Chief Pro­se­cu­tor of Buda­pest, Sán­dor Kozma, wor­ked for more than a quar­ter of a cent­ury and has para­mount merits in est­ab­lish­ing the acti­vi­ti­es of the pro­se­cu­ti­on ser­vi­ce.

During the World War I, the power of the Crown Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce con­ti­nu­o­usly inc­re­as­ed.

gyozedelmeskedik az igazsag

Bet­ween two world wars

Bet­ween 1918 and 1919 a struc­tu­ral trans­for­ma­ti­on took place: next to the muni­ci­pal courts pub­lic pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces, next to the county courts chief pub­lic pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces, and next to the Curia the Offi­ce of the Gene­ral Pro­se­cu­tor were ope­rat­ing.

After 1920, the orga­ni­za­ti­on ope­ra­ted under the name Crown Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce again.

The app­ro­a­ch­ing great war inf­lu­en­ced the leg­i­sla­ti­on of the late ’30s. Law artic­les crea­ted this time affec­ted the judi­ci­al orga­ni­za­ti­on as well, in 1939 the raci­al cleans­ing of the per­son­nel at the courts and pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces took place.

The years 1944/45 bro­ught the end of the Crown Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce. Howe­ver, the pro­se­cu­tors rema­ined at their offi­ces, and con­ti­nu­ed their work at the State Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce, for­med by the new govern­ment.

hogy helyre alljon a rend

After 1945

After 1945, the state ins­ti­tu­tions and legal sys­tem were reor­ga­ni­zed accord­ing to the Sovi­et model.

The Cons­ti­tu­ti­on pro­mul­ga­ted by Act XX of 1949 pro­vi­ded for a type of new pro­se­cu­ti­on ser­vi­ce by sett­ing forth that the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral elec­ted by and accoun­tab­le to Par­lia­ment shall guard lega­lity, and the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce shall be hea­ded and direc­ted by him.

After the par­lia­men­tary elec­ti­on of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral on July 4, 1953, the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral was est­ab­lis­hed. A new hie­rarchy was for­med which con­ta­ined county pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces pla­ced below the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral, while at local level, city and dis­t­rict pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces were set up. The Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce was impo­s­ed with the obli­ga­ti­on to super­vi­se the lega­lity of cri­mi­nal pro­ce­e­dings and the lega­lity of the enfor­ce­ment of punish­ments and cri­mi­nal sanc­tions.

Pro­se­cu­tors were entit­led to ini­tia­te any kind of law­su­it or take actions in any kind of pro­ce­e­dings in civil cases with the except­ion of cases where one could assert their rights only in per­son.

During the Revo­lu­ti­on of 1956 revo­lu­ti­on com­mit­te­es were set up at the pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces as well. After the Revo­lu­ti­on fell, reven­ge was taken on mem­bers who had been acti­vely invol­ved in these com­mit­te­es.

In the one-party era all the ins­ti­tu­tions of the state and pub­lic admi­nistra­ti­on were con­fi­ned wit­hin the fra­me­works deter­mi­ned by the sole and exc­lu­sive cent­re of power.

The acti­vi­ti­es of the pro­se­cu­ti­on ser­vi­ce were fun­da­men­tal­ly deter­mi­ned by the chan­ge of the regime, the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of the Repub­lic of Hun­gary was est­ab­lis­hed on Octo­ber 23, 1989.

az ügyészség története painted

After the chan­ge of regime

After the turn of the mil­len­ni­um the cur­rent sys­tem of judi­ca­to­ry was for­med: the regi­o­nal courts of appe­al and the chief pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces of appe­al were res­tor­ed.

Deci­si­on No. 3/2004 (II.17.) of the Cons­ti­tu­ti­o­nal Court, which cla­ri­fi­ed the cons­ti­tu­ti­o­nal sta­tus of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce and the role of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral, was of para­mount in the his­to­ry of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce. This Deci­si­on dec­la­red that the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce is pla­ced in the sys­tem of jus­ti­ce in the broa­der sense and deter­mi­ned that the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral and the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce are not subor­di­na­ted to Par­lia­ment.

The Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral is the head of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce but not in a poli­ti­cal sense: the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral directs pro­se­cu­to­ri­al work. The accoun­ta­bi­lity of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral to Par­lia­ment inc­lu­des the obli­ga­ti­on of annu­al report­ing, the obli­ga­ti­on of appe­arance both at par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sions or ple­nary ses­sions, the obli­ga­ti­on of res­pon­se both to hea­rings at par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sions or quest­ion­ings at ple­nary ses­sions. The Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral bears no poli­ti­cal res­pon­si­bi­lity to the Par­lia­ment for indi­vi­du­al deci­sions, and they shall be instruc­ted neit­her directly nor indi­rectly to make or amend deci­sions with spe­ci­fi­ed substance in indi­vi­du­al cases.

On the 1st of May 2004 Hun­gary joined the Euro­pe­an Union, which pro­vi­ded an oppor­tunity for the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce to acti­vely par­ti­ci­pa­te in the work of the EUROJUST and in this way the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce of Hun­gary became fully inte­gra­ted into the pro­se­cu­ti­on sys­tem of the EU.

hogy helyre alljon a rend

As far as the legal sta­tus and the ope­ra­ti­on of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce are con­cer­ned, Artic­le 29 of the Fun­da­men­tal Law of Hun­gary, which has been effec­tive as of Janu­ary 1st 2012, is of great impor­tance.

Accord­ing to Artic­le 29 the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral and the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce shall be inde­pen­dent, shall cont­ri­bu­te to the admi­nistra­ti­on of jus­ti­ce by exc­lu­si­vely enfor­cing the State’s demand for punish­ment as pub­lic accu­ser. The Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral shall be elec­ted by the Par­lia­ment from among the pro­se­cu­tors for nine years on the pro­pos­al of the Pres­ident of the Repub­lic. The Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral shall be elec­ted with the votes of two-thirds of the Mem­bers of the Par­lia­ment.

The new Pro­se­cu­ti­on Emp­loy­ment Sta­tus Act held up the Hun­ga­ri­an law tra­di­ti­on that the provi­sions app­lic­ab­le for jud­ges and pro­se­cu­tors (e.g. provi­sions about their pay­ment, work, promo­ti­on and free and vaca­ti­on days) are fun­da­men­tal­ly the same.

The orga­ni­sa­ti­o­nal cohe­ren­ce of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce has also been rea­li­zed, as mili­tary pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces are no lon­ger sepa­ra­ted from non-military pro­se­cu­ti­on offi­ces.

az ügyészség története painted

The Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce Act from 2011, in addi­ti­on to the pub­lic accu­ser role of pro­se­cu­tors, reforms the pro­se­cu­tors’ non-criminal dut­i­es and res­pon­si­bi­li­ti­es. When this non-criminal power is exerci­sed, the pro­tec­ti­on of pub­lic inte­rest and rights are cons­idered to be the deci­sive objec­ti­ves.

Cur­rently five Appel­la­te Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ces, and 21 Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ces (Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ce of the Cap­ital, nine­teen County Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ces, and the Cent­ral Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ce of Investiga­ti­on) are ope­rat­ing under the gui­dance of the Offi­ce of the Pro­se­cu­tor Gene­ral. In the Cap­ital and in the coun­ti­es a total of 124 local Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ces are run­ning. Since 2019, the Cent­ral Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ce of Investiga­ti­on car­ri­es out the investiga­tions con­duc­ted by the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce.

The Nati­o­nal Ins­ti­tu­te of Cri­mi­no­logy is a struc­tu­ral unit of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce: it func­tions as a sci­en­ti­fic and rese­arch cent­re.

Pic­tu­res 1-3 and 4-7 depict the orna­ments in the buil­ding of Chief Pro­se­cu­ti­on Offi­ce of Tolna County in Szek­szárd, while the last three rep­re­sent the buil­ding orna­ments in the Palace of Jus­ti­ce in Buda­pest, rep­re­sent­ing the sym­bols of jus­ti­ce.

The sum­ma­ry was made by using the stu­di­es of Dr. Lász­ló Náná­si on the his­to­ry of the Pro­se­cu­ti­on Ser­vi­ce.