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Former president submits amicus curiae on ‘lex CEU’

Issues

Former President László Sólyom and former constitutional judge Miklós Lévay, together with two doctors of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), have submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Constitutional Court of Hungary, arguing that the “lex CEU” amendment is “seriously anti-constitutional,” according to online news daily index.hu.

Amicus curiae, which is Latin for “friend of the court,” is a petition often written by a person or group not directly involved in a legal matter but carrying a strong interest. It is always issued with the intention of offering information that bears on the case and influencing the courtʼs decision.

The official paper urges the Constitutional Court to strike down the legislative amendment “ex tunc,” which means retroactively. The legislation in question, an amendment to the law on higher education passed by Parliament in April which has been criticized internationally, is regarded by Budapestʼs Central European University (CEU) to have been tailored to disrupt its operations in particular, while the Hungarian government has insisted that it only aims to enhance transparency.

According to the amicus curiae, the legislation violates the autonomy of universities under Hungaryʼs Fundamental Law (constitution), limits the right to academic research, teaching and learning, and is against the rule of law.

Index.hu notes that the fact that the former president has issued the legal document bears significant weight, as it was current President János Áder who signed the bill into law, albeit after lengthy consideration.

The Constitutional Court is investigating the amendment after opposition green party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) collected the signatures of 50 MPs, backed by both the far-right Jobbik and Socialists (MSZP).

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