Hungary approves law on new courts under close govt control

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s parliament has approved the creation of a new court system to deal with matters related to public administration.

According to the bill approved Wednesday, the justice minister will have final say over the appointment, promotion and salary of judges in the new system, which could hear cases on a wide range of matters, including those involving the police, tax authorities, public procurement procedures, local governments and election officials.

Critics say the minister’s prerogatives call into question the independence of the judges and the impartiality of their rulings in matters in which the government or the state is part of a court case.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee civic group said that the new court system allows the government “to ‘legally’ fill the judicial body with people loyal to it.”

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