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New Institutions in Socialist Constitutional Law: the Polish Constitutional Tribunal and the Hungarian Constitutional Council

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Although the Polish doctrine classifies the Constitutional Tribunal as "a quasi-judicial organ of constitutional rank",118 as "a new, special and separate state organ sui generis",119 or as "a peculiar organ making use of judicial forms",120 the shaping of election, competence and procedure justifies the conclusion that the CT, in a de facto manner, represents a constitutional court. The Hungarian CC, on the other hand, may be described as a further development of the Romanian Constitutional Commission and does not amount to a constitutional court. One should not ignore, however, the generous regulation of the right to apply and the absence of a limitation concerning the date of issuance of the legal acts subject to control, two incontestable advantages of the Hungarian solution. As this author sees it, the new control institutions will prove workable not so much in protecting the civil rights of the citizens but rather in safeguarding the economic reforms, implemented in both countries,121 against executive regulations tending to undermine them. For example, the Hungarian CC in its first decision suspended a ministerial decree on the liquidation of enterprises dating from 1978 because the decree had violated the independence granted to enterprises and cooperatives in the course of the reform efforts.122 The first judgment of the Polish CT annulled parts of a decree enacted by the Council of Ministers in 1985123 which had increased the development and repair fees carried by the owners of apartments in houses administered by state agencies.124

Affiliations: 1: University Lecturer, Free University of Berlin


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