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The Visegrad Group, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, which forms the core of Central and Eastern Europe once more became constitutional and democratic states as a result of the changes of 1989. The global economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 has naturally shaken up the Central European region, but the intensity of its impact varied from country to country. The period between 2008 and 2010 hit Hungary the hardest, which led to the landslide political transformation of 2010. However, the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 did not in itself lead to a new wave of constitutional legislation in Central Europe. The creation of a new constitutional identity in Hungary with the adoption of the Fundamental Law of 2011 has more to do with the local, specific political, social and perhaps partially legal historical conditions. At this time, the other Visegrad countries can be characterised by maintenance of the constitutional status quo or only partial amendments. It is true that in these countries the turbulence caused by the crisis has not yet lead to a single party or coalition achieving the qualified majority required for constitutional reform. The situation in Poland after 2015 is still open but the new government does not have the necessary majority for the adoption of new constitution. The constitutional amendments adopted after 2008 were only a partial reaction to the great economic and financial crisis. Rather, many amendments were reflections on structural problems that had existed previously or problems arising in the course of day-to-day politics that had not been fully considered previously or they introduced long-debated and still timely changes.

Among new trends, the protective measures applicable to natural assets and waters were introduced in the interest of future generations. These were inserted in a very forceful manner into the Hungarian and Slovakian constitutional systems during the post-crisis period. The reinforcement of such an ecological identity could be interpreted as a positive development. However, the public law documents of the region are also characterised by a certain conservative ‘revolutionary’ mood including the definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman; some family law measures aimed at improving demographic conditions and the passages of the Hungarian Fundamental Law concerning a society based on work. The function of constitutional courts is also beginning to be re-evaluated in the region, mainly in Hungary and Poland.

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The paper deals with the institutional framework and development of comparative law during the socialist period in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The history of comparative law in Hungary is longer than in the Czech Lands and later in Czechoslovakia, but its post-war socialist development was very similar. Viktor Knapp and Imre Szabó played the crucial role in the process of forming socialist comparative law. They had law diplomas from the interwar Charles University in Prague, and they sympathised with the left wing of political life. After WWII they both joined the communist movement. Later, they belonged to the communist professional lawyer establishment and played an important role in the personal and institutional changes of the 1950s. Their professional careers were also very similar – they had positions in the state administration and in the educational sphere. Knapp and Szabó managed the institutes of state and law of the Czechoslovak and Hungarian academies of sciences from the 1950s onwards. These institutes played a dominant role in the organisation of comparative research before 1989. Their classical legal education, strong professional skills, knowledge of Western languages, and good connections inside the communist regime helped them to establish the professional centres of comparative law under the communist regimes.

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This paper focuses on the electoral issues relating to modern international migration. The main topics of paper are the political electoral integration of immigrants in the Central European countries and also the opportunities for voting abroad. Voting from abroad is very important possibility for the citizens living abroad and for other expatriots. The Czech, Slovak and Polish political experience in this field is relatively long, but for Hungary it is new problem which has only existed for a couple of years. At present, all Central European countries allow their citizens living abroad to vote in parliamentary elections in some form or another, while some of them also permit voting in direct presidential elections. There are two models regarding to the political integration of immigrants: The more liberal model, which is typical for Hungary and Slovakia and more restrictive Czech and Polish model. Hungary and Slovakia permit the electoral participation on the local and regional level not only for the EU citizens living there, but for the third countries nationals too. The Czech Republic and Poland have opened their local electoral level only for the EU citizens.

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Peregrination in Germany

Bódog Somló at the Universities of Leipzig and Heidelberg (1896–1897)

Acta Juridica Hungarica
Iván Halász
Gábor Schweitzer

The literature dealing with the life of Bódog Somló (1873–1920), one of the most outstanding authors of jurisprudence in Hungary in the last century, does not pay special attention to his study-tour in Germany. Somló spent the fall semester of academic year 1896/97 at the faculty of humanities of the Leipzig University, while the spring semester int the law school at the Heidelberg University. Somló’s peregrinatio academica, which is equally remarkable for both historical and cultural aspects, can be reconstructed on the basis of his correspodence. He was influenced by the lectures and seminars of K. G. Lamprecht and W. Wundt in Leipzig, and later by O. Karlowa and E. E. Bekker in Heidelberg. Because of the preparations of his acceptance as a lecturer in 1899 at the University of Cluj, the grand tour in Germany had a great importance in Somló’s life.

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