The adoption by Parliament on Monday of the new Civil Code is seen by the Minister of State for Justice to be of historic significance.

At his press conference on Tuesday, Róbert Répássy said that the Civil Code approved on Monday – which was the subject of a decade of preparatory work and six months of parliamentary debate – is the first such Hungarian code to be adopted democratically.

The Minister of State said that the significance of the Civil Code – which was prepared with the participation of more than two dozen legal experts, and which contains around ten thousand provisions – is that it asserts rights to freedom and strengthens the right to individual self-determination. He noted that the Cabinet had not made any proposed amendments which the chairman of the codification committee did not support.

The Code will come into effect on 15 March 2014: a date which Mr. Répássy said could not have been better chosen, since it is the anniversary of the 1848 Citizens’ Revolution.

An exceptional change is that the Civil Code contains legislation on the family, and lists as basic principles the protection of marriage, the family, young children and equal rights for partners. Rights within partnerships which are not formally marriages have not suffered in any way; the rights of such partners have rather been extended, as if they commit to the raising of children, they have rights to housing and maintenance.

The legal regulation of such partnerships has not changed – indeed the legal recognition of partnership relationships has strengthened for partners who share parentage of a child. The new Code strengthens public safety with more realistic provisions, and regulates formal relations between private individuals, economic players and consumers.

The changes are based on the experiences of court practice, which means that current practice is favoured – thus interpretation of the new regulations will be made easier.

In addition to all this, the new Civil Code provides a base which is in harmony with the chapter of the Fundamental Law entitled ‘Freedom and Responsibility’, and in line with European Union obligations for the regulation of everyday legal matters. It is capable of modernising the regulation in civil law of personal and property rights and matters of family law.

(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)