HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN HUNGARY

This article will provide guidance on how the central authority works in Hungary.  The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, more commonly called the Hague Service Convention, is typically how international service of process is executed. Hungary is also subject to the strictures of the Hague Convention. Service of papers in Hungary is, consequently, fairly streamlined. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal, which is familiar with the requirements of the Hague Service Convention, can help you expedite your papers even further.  Click Here for information on the Code of Civil Procedure in Hungary.

Hungarian politics are structured as a democratic republic with a legislative branch that represents the people. In a pluriform multi-party system, the prime minister heads the government, and the president is the head of state but mostly serves in a ceremonial capacity. Click here for a video on International Process Service.

The Hungarian Republic is a sovereign nation that has been an EU member since 2004. The National Assembly, which is unicameral and has a hundred and ninety-nine members, is responsible for exercising legislative authority.  However, the Central Authority for Hungarian service of legal documents in the Ministry of Justice in Budapest. Our Undisputed Legal process servers have served papers across the globe, and we can ensure that your papers are carefully delivered according to the specifications of the Central Authority. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers

Background

Legislation may be challenged on the basis of its unconstitutionality by a fifteen-member Constitutional Court. Each member serves a full twelve years after being elected. The Hungarian attorney general or top prosecutor is separate from the executive branch.

For issues outside of the court system, Hungary has a number of ombudsman agencies that look out for minority, civil, educational, and environmental rights. Since 2003, they have been in charge of making judgments that may be legally enforced.

Bilateral Agreements in Hungary

Bilateral and multilateral international agreements, the provisions of Act No. XXXVIII of 1996 on International Mutual Legislative Assistance in Criminal situations and the legislative instruments enacted within the EU substantially facilitate judicial cooperation with other governments in criminal situations. When there is no international mechanism, cooperation in criminal proceedings may nevertheless be assured by reciprocity. After all other requirements are met, the Minister of Justice or the Prosecutor General, in conjunction with the Minister responsible for foreign affairs, must decide on the execution of a foreign request for mutual legal assistance if there is no reciprocity.    

Direct transmission of requests must be followed in conjunction with cooperation to be carried out with the judicial authorities of EU Member States. So, with few exceptions, the appropriate legal authorities have the right to immediately issue and accept requests for judicial cooperation for execution, depending on the state of the criminal proceedings. The Office of the Prosecutor General has the competence to receive and issue letters rogatory.  The primary body responsible for receiving and submitting requests for the temporary transfer of individuals detained in custody is the Ministry of Justice. However, the Hague Service Convention focuses only on the service of civil documents. In this article, we will primarily be looking at the service of civil documents in Hungary. 

The Central Authority in Hungary

The Hungarian Ministry of Justice has the jurisdiction to handle all matters pertaining to the international service of civil documents as specified under the Hague Service Convention. The Ministry of Justice, specifically the Branch of International Private Law (Nemzetközi Magánjogi Föosztály), adheres to Hague Service Convention requests. The postal bureau of the parliament is located in Budapest and offers private courier services as a mailing address.  Additionally, the competent forwarding authority for Hague Service Convention documents is the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are local to Hungary. We ensure that we retain close relationships with the Central and the forwarding authorities since we understand that the service of papers is often lengthy.

Requests for official service of papers are often accomplished by means of postal service. An explicit confirmation of receipt is attached to the official document. The postal service intends to deliver the document to the designated recipient or approved representative. The document is deemed served on the day of the failed delivery if the recipient refuses to receive it. In such case, the official document will be promptly returned to the sender by the postal service with the notification ‘delivery refused’, and any legal ramifications related to the served document will be enforced.

In the event that the initial attempt at service is unsuccessful (even though the addressee’s address is accurate), the postal service provider is obligated to notify the addressee [A.] that an official document was attempted to be served; [B.] that the document will be re-delivered on the fifth business day after the unsuccessful delivery; and [C.] that the addressee can pick up the document at the post office with identification.

In case the service is still unable to be achieved, the postal service will send a second notification telling the recipient they may pick up the official document at any post office within five business days. Once five business days have passed, the official document will be returned to the sender along with a note stating that it was ‘not claimed for’ by the recipient. The papers will be considered served on the fifth business day after the second attempt at delivery.

Any refusal by the recipient to receive the papers or their return by the postal service as ‘not claimed for’ renders them unserved, albeit the same regulations as formal service apply. Conditions for translation (under Article 5(3) of the Hague Service Convention) must also be strictly adhered to for international service of papers. In order for a document to be served in Hungary, a certified translation or an acceptable translation into Hungarian by the legislation of the requesting state is required. This translation must be used for court operations. For the purposes of court proceedings in the requesting Contracting State, an official translation is one that is approved under its law. This ensures a particular level of quality and reliability. Since our Undisputed Legal process servers are local to Hungary, we make sure that all translations adhere to the requirements of the Central Authority.

Requests for official or informal service are fulfilled at no cost in Hungary. However, the typical duration of duty is two to three months, and it may be longer in exceptional circumstances. Channels that are considered derogatory include bilateral or multilateral agreements, as well as internal laws that allow for additional transmission channels.

Civil procedure in Hungary

Natural or otherwise, anyone may bring a civil action claim to defend their rights and/or property.  First, the plaintiff must submit the appropriate pleadings to the court to bring the complaint, known as pre-action activity. Next, it is important to determine if there are any roadblocks to the lawsuit. Verifying that the pleadings and any attachments completed are vital and accurate. Ultimately,  determining if the claim can be enforced in court and making sure the parties are legally able to act are major parts of a lawsuit. A private process server like those at Undisputed Legal can be very helpful in these circumstances as we ensure that your papers are carefully scrutinized before serving them. 

 The next step is to exchange case statements and issue the claim. During this stage, the court will take note of the parties’ claims regarding their facts, rights, and legal arguments, as well as the evidence they have submitted. Once the claims and statements stage is over, the trial stage may only hear the evidence within the framework set in the previous step.

The plaintiff initiates the legal process by suing the defendant. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal, which is intimately familiar with the requirements of the law in Hungary, can help initiate the process.  The parties to a case have a duty to cooperate in good faith and provide all relevant documents as requested. After this, the matter can move to the second instance court, where the verdict becomes final and binding and cannot be overturned. 

Declarations in Hungary

To be valid in Hungary, the methods of service outlined in Article 5 of the Convention must by a certified t be accompanied by a translation or a translation recognized by the law of the requesting state for court procedures into Hungarian. Otherwise, the methods of service cannot be used. The court in the Republic of Hungary that has executed the service is required to fill out the certificate of service as specified in Article 6 of the Convention. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal is important here. Professionalism is vital for the service of papers and can be guaranteed by the certificate of service.

It should be noted that Hungary only allows service according to local laws as well as Article 5 of the Convention. Direct service of papers on the Republic of Hungary territory by foreign diplomatic or consular agents is objected to by the Republic of Hungary unless the recipient is a citizen of the sender state. Even when it comes to Article 10 of the Convention for mailing papers, the Republic of Hungary has reservations about the means of service outlined in it. Article 10 of the Hague Service Convention has specified that service could be made directly through judicial officers, which the Hungarian civil procedure law objects to.   The Hungarian government has announced that it would not consider requests for relief submitted more than one year after the decision date. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can make sure that your papers are not rejected for violating the declarations issued by Hungary. 

Notary in Hungary

Notaries in Hungary are highly trained legal professionals whose primary role is mediating and resolving legal issues outside the judicial system. For Hungarian authorities to acknowledge papers created in the United States, an Apostille issued by appropriate U.S. officials is often necessary.  U.S. Consular Officers are not required to authenticate documents that have been apostille-legalized. All notarial proceedings in Hungary are non-contentious since the notary is a public authority. As an independent body bound only by law and not subject to any direction from higher authorities, the notary public is an integral component of the judicial department.

Anyone, U.S. citizen or not, may utilize a Hungary notary public to certify legal papers used within the country.  Consular officials may act as notaries for a variety of purposes, including witnessing the signing of papers, taking statements under oath, executing powers of attorney, preparing and signing affidavits and acknowledgments, and more.  

There is an alternate process for the notarization of papers of Hungarian provenance intended for use in the United States, owing to the Hague Convention of 1 February 1971 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, to which both the United States and Hungary are parties.  The Apostille is a substitute notarization process that the Hungarian government offers.  This procedure allows Hungarian papers to be used legally in the US.

A notary public in Hungary practices under the civil law system. Notaries may be of great assistance in many situations. Notaries also have the authority to carry out processes similar to court procedures, such as probate (succession) proceedings and order of payment procedures.

It is the responsibility of the notary public to ensure that all notarial deeds are drafted in accordance with the requirements of the Notarial Act. If it includes the following elements—the name of the parties, the topic, the quantity (amount), the legal reasons for the duty, the mode, and the date for performance—and it relates to a service and its consideration or is unilateral, then it is immediately enforceable.  With the exception of Denmark, all European Union member states recognize the notary’s document as binding on all parties to uncontested claims or receivables, thanks to the notarial deed’s European enforcement title.

A notary may be granted the authority to draft notarial deeds in a foreign language by the Hungarian Chamber of Civil Law Notaries president. In order to verify this authorization, a language license must be issued. The notary public with a language license must draft and authenticate the deed in the client’s preferred language.

An authentic photocopy of the original document must be attested to by the notary public in a notarial certificate. A notary public may only attest to a document’s authenticity if the photocopy is readable. A notarial clause attached to the photocopy allows the notary to certify that it is an accurate copy of the document by comparing it to the original.

How important, then, is a notary in Hungary? In order for a notary public to verify a signature or initials, the client must either sign the document in front of the notary public or affirm that the signature on the document is theirs. The only wills that must be recorded in a register in Hungary are those that are either prepared by or deposited with a notary. Whether a will is notarial or privately placed, its details may be seen in the National Register of Wills online.

It is necessary to gather certified copies (with a notary public’s signature), original documents (such as a driver’s license or passport), and identification documents (such as an address card) before meeting a notary in Hungary.  For documentation requiring a signature, it is necessary to provide a government-issued photo ID, proof of residence, and the business’s tax or registration number (in the case of non-profits.) Identification documents (passports or ID cards), address cards, and land registered numbers are also important.

Power of Attorney in Hungary

Any person or company needing a formal document authorizing somebody to act on their behalf can make a Power of Attorney. Those who are unable to manage their own affairs owing to illness or disability or company owners who need to assign certain tasks will find this tool very helpful.

Even for a business in Hungary, a Power of Attorney becomes vital. Anyone or any business that sells goods or provides services in Hungary and is subject to value-added tax must appoint a financial representative to pay the taxes owed to the Hungarian government. This person or entity must be based outside Hungary or the European Union. Any firm, whether it’s a limited liability or joint stock company, may serve as a financial representative if it has a solid financial history, no outstanding tax debt with the NTCA, and a registered capital of at least HUF 50 million (or a bank guarantee of the same amount.) 

 The Power of Attorney must always be kept in its original form. Furthermore, all Powers of Attorney must adhere to the following standards, regardless of whether they were drafted in Hungary or elsewhere. This means that in order for a Power of Attorney to be valid, it must be attached to an authentic instrument or a private document that can be proven.  If the power of attorney was not drawn up in Hungary, it must be in an authentic instrument issued by a Hungarian consulate or other Hungarian external representation. It is crucial that the instrument be issued as well as authenticated by the consulate. 

Alternatively, if the state where the instrument is issued is a party to the Apostille Convention, a power of attorney must be signed by a notary public of that country, and then an apostille must be attached. Parties can use Hungarian or another language to draft the power of attorney. For the second scenario, there is a need to attach a verified translation as well.

There are standard and specialized versions of the ‘Meghatalmazás,’ the Hungarian power of attorney. A General Power of Attorney may only be used for a maximum of five years, giving the agent extensive power to handle the principal’s business. A GPA authorizes the holder to do certain things beyond routine administrative duties, such as dealing with legal or real estate transactions. The Power of Attorney donor must sign the document, and it may be necessary to have it notarized or undergo other legal formalities before it may be validated. 

A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can be integral to your legal case. Trusting us can make your international service of documents significantly less stressful. We provide you with detailed accounts of where your papers are. Even if there are delays, we can inform you about the status of your papers worldwide. Our process servers are local to the area and licensed. When you give us your legal documents, they are in good hands. We make sure that the service of legal papers is achieved across the world. If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review. Click the link to share your feedback, and we would greatly appreciate a five-star review.

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist receives all documents.

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Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas| Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia| Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy| Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands| New Zealand |Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland | Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN HUNGARY

Pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Hungary Process Service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– Foster, William A

Sources

1. There are 19 counties in Hungary, 24 urban counties (megyei jogú városok, singular – megyei jogú város), and one capital city. 

2. International treaties and agreements may provide different rules, but in cases involving EU member states, the rules laid forth in Act No. CLXXX of 2012 on Cooperation with the Member States of the European Union in Criminal Matters will govern

3. As a general rule, as specified in Article 6 of the 2000 EU MLA Convention and under the 2014/41/EU Directive regarding the European Investigation Order,

4. Kussuth tér 2-4, 1055 Budapest, Hungary The mailing address is P.O. Box 2, 1357 Budapest, Hungary.

5. Országházi Levélátvevő,

 Honvéd utca 28, 

1055 Budapest, Hungary

6. Section 99 of the Civil Procedure Code, Sections 27–32 of Government Decree no. 335/2012 (XII.4), and Sections 35 and 35/A of Decree of the Minister of Justice no. 14/2002 (VIII.1).

7. Articles 11, 19, 24 and 25

8. Civil procedures are carried out per the Code of Civil Procedure, Act CXXX of 2016. 

9. The Ministry of Justice in the Republic of Hungary receives papers to be served delivered via consular channels in line with Article 9 of the Convention.

10. In response to Article 16 of the Convention: 

When a writ of summons or an equivalent document had to be transmitted abroad for the purpose of service, under the provisions of the present Convention, and a judgment has been entered against a defendant who has not appeared, the judge shall have the power to relieve the defendant from the effects of the expiration of the time for appeal from the judgment if the following conditions are fulfilled –

a)  the defendant, without any fault on his part, did not have knowledge of the document in sufficient time to defend or knowledge of the judgment in sufficient time to appeal, and

b)  the defendant has disclosed a prima facie defense to the action on the merits.

An application for relief may be filed only within a reasonable time after the defendant has knowledge of the judgment.

Each Contracting State may declare that the application will not be entertained if it is filed after the expiration of a time to be stated in the declaration, but which shall in no case be less than one year following the date of the judgment.

11. Documents notarized by a Hungarian notary public or translated by the National Translation Office (OFFI) or another specialized translator may be apostilled by the Hungarian National Notarial Chamber. 

Address: 1087 Budapest, 

Strobl Alajos 

utca 3/B.,

12. Attesting wills, powers of attorney, recognition of debt, declarations of undertaking, pledges, mortgage agreements, renting, leasing, tenancy, gift, loan, pledge, and other similar contracts are some of the uses of a Hungarian Notary public.

13. Act XLI of 1991 on civil law notaries

14. It is required that the notarial clause state

  1. if the original document was used as a basis for the photocopy, or if it was a certified office copy,
  2. the presence or absence of a stamp duty on the document,
  3. if a portion of the original is included in the photocopy,
  4. in the event that the original document has been altered, damaged, or has any other disturbing characteristic.

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