On November 22, 2016, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new Civil Procedure Code (CPC), which will enter into force on January 1, 2018. The new CPC will replace the current 65-year-old Code, adopted during the period of socialism in Hungary, and will bring Hungary’s legislation in line with contemporary standards. The main goal of the new CPC is to accelerate the civil procedure and the completion of civil cases.
In view of this, legislators reintroduced the divided civil procedure which was cancelled in 1952. Namely, civil procedure will be divided into two main parts – the preparatory stage and the negotiation stage. In the preparatory stage, the parties will have to present all facts, reasons and evidence relevant to the case. They will also be able to modify their claims and file a defense in this stage. The court will have the option to extend the preparatory stage due to a lack of evidence, and if the parties file their offers of proof too late, the court may impose a fine as the ultimate sanction in order to avoid the delay of the whole procedure. The preliminary phase will enable the court to clarify the content of a dispute and will facilitate the decision-making process in the negotiation phase.
Furthermore, the new CPC introduces the “private expert” concept, meaning that, if a professional aspect of the case has to be examined, the party may decide whether to request a state expert’s opinion or private expert’s report.
The new Code also gives the Court of Appeal more space to consider evidence in order to avoid returning cases to the court of first instance. The Court of Appeal will be able to evaluate as well as and request additional evidence, whereas now it has to decide based on the evidence submitted to the court of first instance.
As for exceptional remedies, it is currently possible to file a motion for reconsideration in any type of case. The new CPC, on the other hand, states that a motion for reconsideration may be submitted only if the subject matter of the dispute is worth over EUR 16,135 (USD 17,260) or if the court considers a revision necessary due to significant social interest or to ensure the uniformity of decisions.