View More View Less
Full access

Abstract

The principle of legality includes numerous requirements which guarantee that criminal law and its application meet the demands of the rule of law and legal certainty. One of these requirements is maximum certainty according to which the rules of criminal law must be defined in a clear and precise way in order to make criminal law understandable and predictable for citizens. In the practice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court this requirement is called the ‘clarity of norms’ doctrine. However, the theoretical content of this doctrine is obscure and is also ambiguous in the practice of the Constitutional Court. It is also a problematic phenomenon in the Hungarian judicial practice that the principle of maximum certainty is treated as a mere linguistic issue. Judges try to solve criminal cases in which criminal laws are uncertain by searching for the meaning of words in dictionaries and do not tend to take into consideration moral or justificatory reasons behind the relevant criminal law. The Author throws light on the above mentioned problematic elements in the Hungarian legal practice and makes efforts to suggest a theoretical solution for these problems.

  • Ashworth, Andrew, ‘Interpreting Criminal Statutes: A Crisis of Legality?’ (1991) 107 LQR 419449.

  • Belovics, Ervin, Büntetőjog I. Altalános rész (Criminal Law I. General Part) (HVG-ORAC 2017).

  • Bencze, Mátyás, Kühn, Zdenek, Matzak, Marcin, ‘EU Law and Central European Judges: Administrative Judiciaries in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland Ten Years After Accession’ in Bobek, Michal (ed), Central European Judges Under European Influence (Hart Publishing 2015) 4372.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bencze, Mátyás, Kühn, Zdenek, Matzak, Marcin, ‘Constitutions, EU Law and Judicial Strategies in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland’ (2010) 30 Journal of Public Policy 8199.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bencze, Mátyás, Elvek és gyakorlatok. Jogalkalmazási minták és problémák a bírói Itélkezésben (Principles and practices. Patterns and problems in the judicial jurisdiction) (Gondolat 2011).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blutman, László, ‘Bírói jogalkalmazás és szöveghű értelmezés’ (Judicial interpretation and interpretation in close translation) (2010) 4 JeMa 94104.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blutman, László, ‘Egy empirikus jogértelmezéstan szükségessége’ (The necessity of empirical legal interpretation) (2007) 1 Jogtudományi Közlöny 313.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bócz, Endre, ‘Amit hihetetlennek gondoltam valaha…’ (What I thought to be unbelievable…) (2017) 61 ÉS 56.

  • Canale, Damiano and Tuzet, Giovanni, ‘Analogical Reasoning and Extensive Interpretation’ in Kaptein, Hendrik and van der Velden, Bastiaan (eds), Analogy and Exemplary Reasoning in Legal Discourse (Amsterdam University Press 2018).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deák, Zoltán, ‘A Szegedi Itélőtábla döntése a terrorcselekménnyel fenyegetés és a közveszéllyel fenyegetés elhatárolásáról. A fenyegetés fogalmának értelmezése’ (The decision of the Szeged Regional Court of Appeal on the distinction between terrorist threat and threat on public indangerment. Re-interpreting the notion of threat) (2014) 2 JeMa 4657.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duff, R. A., ‘Rule-Violations and Wrongdoings’ in Shute, Stephen and Simester andrew (eds), Criminal Law Theory – Doctrines of the General Part (Oxford University Press 2002) 4774.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dworkin, Ronald, Law's Empire (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1986).

  • Gál, István László, ‘A büntető jogszabály értelmezése’ (The interpretation of criminal law) in Balogh, Ágnes and Tóth, Mihály (eds), Magyar büntetőjog. Altalános rész (Osiris Kiadó 2010) 6468.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gellér, Balázs József, Legality on Trial. A Theoretical Analysis of the Legality of Substantive Criminal Norms (Eötvös University Press 2012).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hart, Herbert Lionel Adolphus, The Concept of Law (Oxford University Press 1994).

  • Horder, Jeremy, Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law (Oxford University Press 2016).

  • Horder, Jeremy, ‘Criminal Law and Legal Positivism’ (2002) 8 Legal Theory 221241.

  • Hornyák, Szabolcs, A köznyugalom elleni bűncselekmények (Criminal Offenses Against Public Peace) Doctoral Dissertation. (2010) <http://ajk.pte.hu/files/file/doktori-iskola/hornyak-szabolcs/hornyak-szabolcs-vedes-ertekezes.pdf>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jakab András , ‘Ki a jó jogász, avagy tényleg jó bíró volt-e Magnaud?’ (Who is a good lawyer? Was Magnaud a good judge?) (2010) 1 JeMa 8393.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat, The Spirit of Laws (London 1776).

  • Nagy, Ferenc, ‘A nullum crimen/nulla poena sine lege alapelvrőT (On the principle of nullum crimne/nulla poena sine lege) (1995) 5 Magyar Jog 257270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nagy, Ferenc, Anyagi büntetőjog. Általános rész I. (Criminal Law. General Part I.) (Iurisperitus 2014).

  • Raz, Joseph, The Authority of Law (Oxford University Press 1979).

  • Report on the Rule of Law. Adopted by the Venice Commission at its 86th plenary session. Venice, 25-26 March, 2011.