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Research at our Department

For an introduction into the different research interests, areas and projects of our Department, please visit this article!

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Research at the Department of Constitutional Law


Area 1: Development of the Constitution


In accordance with the traditions of the Department our priority research task is the examination of constitutional development. In 1996, initiated and coordinated by the Department the volume “Alkotmány és Jogtudomány” (Constitution and Jurisprudence) was published as part of the “Acta Universitatis Szegediensis” which introduced the connection between the Constitution and the branches of law, respectively.


Apart from examining domestic constitutional development, we conduct research in the constitutional evolution of several European states. In the past, research was centered upon the Central and Eastern European States, and the Department we organized an international conference in this field in co-operation with the Gáspár Károli University of the Reformed Church. (Kecskemét, 1995). Edited by László Trócsányi and Attila Badó the book “Nemzeti alkotmányok az Európai Unióban” (National Constitutions in the European Union, published by Complex) was published, introducing national constitutions within the EU, based on the traditions of a book-sequel on constitutional development edited by István Kovács and Károly Tóth. Edited by László Trócsányi the book “Mi Alkotmányunk” was published in 2006 (Our Constitution, published by Complex), in which public figures (writers, artists, athletes) expressed their opinions on certain provisions of the Constitution.


Area 2: Comparative Constitutional Law


The comparative point of view is quintessential in the Department’s research activities as it was already presented above. As a result of such research, the book “Összehasonlító alkotmányjog” was edited by Judit Tóth and Krisztián Legény, and published in 2007 (Comparative Constitutional Law, by Complex). From the Department, besides Judit Tóth, László Trócsányi and Károly Tóth also contributed to this volume. As part of our co-operation with the Institute of Public Law of the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve a conference on the status of minorities took place in Brussels in 2002, the documents of which were published both in French and in Hungarian (Bruylant, Nyitott Könyv Kiadó). Thanks to Franco-Hungarian intergovernmental relations the Department organized an international conference on the role of the Judiciary, in 1997, its documents were published in 1997. As part of the Balaton Project (1998-2003) based on the same co-operation, the Department -- in co-operation with the Departments of Constitutional Law of the Universities of Montpellier (CERCOP, director: Dominique Rousseau) and Tours (director: M. Jean Rosetto) -- conducted comparative legal research in the field of European integration and its effect on national constitutions. The volume “Les institutions constitutionelles et l’intégration européenne”, which summarized the documents of the conference assessing the results of the research was edited by László Trócsányi and Attila Badó and published in 2002 (by Generálprint Kiadó).


In 2008, The Department, in co-operation with the European Studies Centre organized a round table by the title “The status of minorities in Central Europe and in the countries of the Mediterranean”. At this event, besides the Hungarian participants, our foreign speakers contributed to the comparative legal examination of the minorities-question. The lectures were held in French and the book summarizing the determinations is soon to be published by Bruylant.


Area 3: Fundamental Rights


In connection with the fundamental rights’ research profile of the Department it is noteworthy to introduce the work of Barnabás Kiss. His research on discrimination was published in 2006 by the title “A jog egyenlősége - Az egyenlőség joga” (published by Szegedi Egyetemi Kiadó). In 2005, the Department in co-operation with the Department of Politology and the European Studies Centre organized a conference in Szeged on “The right to use the native language in the countries of the Kárpát Basin”. The lectures of the conference were Published in the Romanian Legal Research Review (Vol. 2/2006.)


The research of Judit Tóth -- among others -- touches upon the examination of the concept of public interest in law. A recently closed HSRF (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund) project – with the co-operation of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) Institute of Legal Sciences, focused on the concept of public interest in various branches of law, from a historical and a legal theoretical standpoint. The results of the research were summarized in two conferences and one book. (Szamel, Katalin ed.): „Közérdek és közigazgatás” (Public interest and public administration, published in Budapest: MTA, 2008)


The research funded by the European Commission within the 6th Framework Program closes in 2009, in which Judit Tóth is a group-supervisor. The research focuses primarily on the effects of EU-enlargement, particularly on the reinforcement of rule of law, visa policies, cross-border co-operation, the handling of refugees and migrant workers, the protection of fundamental rights and the question of the minorities. Zsuzsanna Fejes, Edit Soós, Béla Révész from the Department of Politiology; Imola Schiffner from the Department of International and European Law also contributed to the research, which was carried out by 23 European universities and research centers (CHALLENGE – the changing landscape of European freedom and security, 2004-2009).


PhD students with the leadership of Judit Tóth, joined a short-term research co-operation between the EU and Canada (2007-2008) analyzing trans-atlantic relations with respect to questions of civil society and publicity. They assessed their findings on an international conference at HAS in 2008. The research is summarized in the following publications: Judit, Tóth: Who is afraid of asylum seekers and refugees after enlargement? (Fundamentum, 5/2008, 123-127.pp), Edit Soós – Zsuzsanna Fejes: Hungarian experiences of cross-border cooperation (Fundamentum, 5/2008, 123-157.pp), Béla Révész: How to consolidate the secret services in East-Europe after the tranisition (Regio, 2007, 35-45.pp), Zsolt Körtvélyesi: Common? Security? Policy? Mapping the field of EU Internal Security Agencies (Fundamentum, 5/2008, 158-161.pp), Márton Sulyok – András Pap: The Role of NGOs in the Access to Public Information: Extraordinary Renditions and the Absence of Transparency (in: Mark B. Salter (ed.): Mapping Transatlantic Security Relations: The EU and Canada, Routledge, 2009)


Besides the above, our PhD students conduct research in the field of third generation fundamental rights: the right to a healthy environment; the water as a public service and its constitutional aspects: the right to water.


Area 4: Public Law and IT


The Department is aware that in these days’ information society, ICTs affect the formerly known and applied public legal frameworks and the general structure of the law itself. Numerous of our colleagues (László Trócsányi, Judit Tóth, Gábor Bárkányi, Péter Kruzslic, Márton Sulyok) with contributors from other departments (Department of Administrative and Financial Law and the Institute of Comparative Law) as well participated in a unique undertaking in 2008 in co-operation with the University of Szeged Faculty of Natural Sciences Department of Informatics.


The goal of the research and development project was to design a web-based terminology database to facilitate finance and customs related procedures of our partner the Hungarian Finance and Customs Administration. The system that was compiled is the Hungarian Legal WordNet, which comprises terminologies from the domain of tax and customs law, as well as general public legal terminology. It was later connected to the European system of LOIS (Lexical Ontologies for Legal Information Sharing) which system thus now provides European legal terminology is seven languages for practitioners and for interested laymen and women as well.