Guest Editorial on the ‘Prague–Budapest papers’
The papers published in these proceedings are results of two conferences held by the Faculties of Law of Charles University and Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) on 20 June and on 10 October 2014 in Prague and Budapest respectively, dedicated to the new Czech and Hungarian Civil Codes.
Both universities are considered to be the most prestigious in their country. The Law Faculty of Charles University was founded in 1348. Presently, with more than 4500 students, it is the largest accredited law faculty in the Czech Republic. Tuition at the Faculty of Law of ELTE began in 1667. No other Hungarian Faculty of Law has a longer uninterrupted record.
Their similar historical, cultural, economic and legal background also served as a basis for fruitful cooperation, resulting in the two conferences and the present proceedings from them. The special reason for the joint conferences, namely the new Civil Codes of the Czech Republic and Hungary, both of which entered into effect in 2014, also emphasises the similarities between the two countries.
The aim of the conferences was not necessarily to summarise the new Civil Code of the Czech Republic (Act 89 of 2012, entered into effect on 1 January 2014) and the new Civil Code of Hungary (Act V of 2013, entered into effect on 15 March 2014) as a whole, but rather to present and discuss some main notion, regulation or fundamental change in each presentation. On the Hungarian side, the lectures were given either by civil law professors who actively participated in the creation of the new Hungarian Civil Code, or by junior academic staff members, while the Czech team consisted predominantly of the youngest generation of civil law scholars – research fellows from the Center for Comparative Law at Charles University.
An additional curiosity of the conference held in Budapest was that the lectures were organised basically in pairs, i.e. similar topics were presented by a Hungarian and then a Czech lecturer. These topics reviewed numerous different parts of civil law. such as assignment of contract and transfer of property (presented by András Kisfaludi and Bohumil Dvořák), law of torts (presented by Ádám Fuglinszky and Jiři Hrádek) and the regulation of some contracts, e.g. sale and purchase, insurance, credit and loan (presented by Balázs Tőkey, Rita Sik-Simon and Petra Joanna Pipková). A great advantage of this solution is that the differences between the regulations of the same area will be unequivocal and it therefore facilitates the mutual utilisation of the experiences to a considerable degree. Additionally, the programme covered the principle of legitimate expectations in the new Czech Civil Code, presented by Jan Balarin, while Orsolya Szeibert spoke on Solidarity and Maintenance Obligations in the Family.
As mentioned above, the conferences focused on specific parts of the two Civil Codes; however the overall concept of the Czech Civil Code was also presented by Luboš Tichý, director of the Center for Comparative Law of Charles University, as the first lecture of the conference held in Prague. Otherwise, this conference also dealt with a wide range of civil law topics, such as unjust enrichment (presented by Attila Menyhárd), consumer protection (presented by Stephan Heidenhain), law of succession (presented by Hella Molnár), civil law partnership (presented by Zoltán Csehi), law of trusts (Miloš Kocí), protection of personal rights (presented by Eva Ondřejová) and protection of trade secrets (presented by Gábor Faludi).
Summarising the impressions of the two conferences, it seems that a period of extensive cooperation lies ahead. These two events were the first conferences of this kind organised by the two Law Faculties, and their programmes, as well as the presented papers, form an exceptionally strong basis for future intensive cooperation. By presenting these papers, we hope that other scholars will intend to join us and a Central European comparative legal network will be formed. Let us share this spirit and the Prague–Budapest papers with our distinguished readers.
Prague–Budapest, 7th April
Attila Menyhárd, Editor Luboš Tichý, Guest Editor