Customizing judicial independence

The illiberal Hungarian constitutionalism keeps the contours of constitutional democracy, but it selectively imbues it with content. It does not deny the need for an independent judiciary but, by addressing genuine structural issues, it customizes judicial independence. The “independence of the judiciary” means independence from the supranational community, NGOs, the opposition, and it serves the preservation of the homogeneity and constitutional identity of Hungary. The illiberal independence is shaped by constitutional and ordinary legislation. Additionally, informal methods of customizing the judiciary have a chilling effect on more experienced judges and are apt to corrupt the integrity of the younger judges. The legal framework is relatively easy to correct, provided that political and social preconditions exist, which might not be the case in Hungary. It would be much more difficult to change the attitude of the younger judges who have been socialized in the illiberal system.