English, Magyar

The Rule of Law: Between a Legal Notion and a Political Tool

Venue: Lónyay-Hatvany Villa - 1. Csónak str., 1015 Budapest

“The King is under no man, but he is under God and the Law”

Lord Chief Justice Coke

How has the concept of the rule of law evolved over the last decades and what is behind the politicization of the concept of the rule of law? To what extent can the developments in the debates between Hungary and the EU be seen as unique, or part of a wider international process? At what stage are currently the various rule of law procedures concerning Hungary?

Eminent Hungarian and foreign representatives from the academic and political world will share their insights at the conference of the Danube Institute on 6th June 2023.

The rule of law is a safeguard against arbitrary exercises of government power. It means the highest officials in the land, from King or President down, are subject to the same laws and regulations as ordinary citizens.  In order to do this effectively the law must provide clarity, equality and predictability.  It is not to be confused with the rule of judges or courts because they too, must act in conformity with laws passed by democratic legislations and with longstanding legal traditions. On June 6th, distinguished legal minds from several countries will review the ways in which the concept of the Rule of Law is being used and misused in modern politics and internationally.


2:30 - 2:35 Opening remarks by John O’Sullivan, President of the Danube Institute

2:35 - 2:55 Prof. Csaba Varga, Professor Emeritus, Pázmány Péter Catholic University and Research Professor Emeritus, Social Science Research Centre Institute for Legal Studies, author of “Rule of law – Contesting and Contested” – On the Rule of Law: Contesting and Contested

2:55 - 3:15 Gadi Taub (PhD), Senior Lecturer at the Federmann School of public policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – A Coup in the Name of ‘The Rule of Law’: How the Plan to Reform Israel’s Judiciary Was Halted 

3:15 - 3:35 Prof. István Stumpf, University professor, former Justice of the Constitutional Court and minister in charge of the Prime Minister's Office  – The increasing importance of constitutional identity

3:35 - 3:55 Prof. James Allan, Garrick Professor of Law, University of Queensland – The political seduction of law

3:55 - 4:15 Break

 4:15 - 4:35 Ákos Bence Gát (PhD), Head of foreign affairs at the Danube Institute and researcher at the University of Public Service, author of “European policy on the Rule of law” – The rule of law debate in the EU: a glimpse behind the scenes  

4:35 – 5:45 Panel discussion with the speakers and audience Q&A.
Moderator: John O’Sullivan, Danube Institute

Break: 5:45-6:00

6:00 – 6:45 Dialogue with János Bóka, State Secretary for European Union Affairs of Hungary
Moderator: Ákos Bence Gát, Danube Institute

Live interpretation in Hungarian!

Date: 6 June 2023, 2.30-6.45 pm
Venue: Lónyay-Hatvany Villa - 1. Csónak str., 1015 Budapest

Participation in the event is free, but registration is required, which can be done by email at events@danubeinstitute.hu or by clicking on the R.S.V.P. button:

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