Hungary to Heed Criticism on Court Overhaul, Nepszabadsag Says

Hungary agreed to heed criticism made by the Venice Commission on a judicial overhaul and will agree to limit the powers of the National Judicial Office president, Nepszabadsag reported, citing a legislative bill.

The president must leave office after serving a nine-year term and the bill will shift powers to a council of judges when it comes to naming or reprimanding justices, the Budapest-based daily said, citing a bill that has ruling party support and whose approval is now a “mere formality.”

The Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters, on March 19 said the concentration of powers in the hands of the president of the National Judicial Office lacked “sufficient democratic accountability” and the court overhaul “as a whole threatens the independence of the judiciary.”

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