March 20, 2018
The economic crisis of 2008 brought about a rapid depreciation in the exchange rate of the Hungarian forint (HUF). Debtors in Hungary had borrowed money in foreign currencies—especially the Swiss franc—and now found themselves in a significantly deteriorating situation. The consequences of increased indebtedness reached all levels of society. On various grounds, consumers took out numerous civil law proceedings to challenge consumer loan agreements. Questions raised by these lawsuits were, several times, brought to Hungary’s Supreme Court, and were then taken to the legislature. The legislative acts and judicial decisions that ensued were subsequently reviewed by the Constitutional Court of Hungary. This article analyses the case law the Constitutional Court applied in this crisis situation, and brings out the lack of balancing capacity in the constitutional adjudication. Referring to the principles of basic Rule of Law, the author makes a critical assessment of the new constitutional ideas, measures and legal solutions that emerged.