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The material compensation for delay in civil proceedings is already demandable

The act on the Enforcement of Material Compensation for Delay in Civil Proceedings entered into force on 1 January 2022. In the past decades, the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly indicated that the Hungarian legal system does not provide a domestic remedy which is considered effective by the Court and would serve to prevent the delay of court proceedings or to remedy the damage caused by such proceedings. In its judgment in Gazsó v. Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights called on Hungary to establish a domestic remedy capable to handle the structural deficiencies identified in the judgment. As a result, the Act establishes a new legal remedy for compensation for violation of fundamental rights, called material compensation (in Hungarian: “vagyoni elégtétel”).

The Act determines the calculation of the court proceedings and the time periods considered reasonable which must necessarily be sufficient to enable the court to carry out the procedural actions necessary for a reasoned decision in the case in question. As a general rule, the duration of court proceedings is deemed reasonable if it does not exceed 60 months from the date of commencement of the proceedings at first instance to the date of notification of the final decision closing the proceedings. However, in specific cases requiring a rapid decision (e.g. action for the maintenance of a minor child or action for press retraction), a shorter objective period of 36 months has been established for the entire judicial procedure. The daily amount of material compensation is HUF 400.

A claim for material compensation may be brought in a civil non-contentious procedure before a court. The General Court of Debrecen and the General Court of Pécs shall have jurisdiction and exclusive competence to hear the proceedings. In order to ensure the efficient and expeditious conduct of the non-contentious proceedings, there is a maximum time limit of 15 days defined for the court's general obligation to take action and a time limit of 30 days for the written submission of the counterclaim. The court must issue a decision on the merits of the proceedings within 3 months from the receipt of the counterclaim.

The Act shall be applicable to claims for material compensation in respect of legal proceedings pending at the time of its entry into force and those commenced thereafter.