The Outstanding Codifiers of Hungarian Private Law

Civic Review· VOL 17. Special Issue, 2021, 292–307., DOI: 10.24307/psz.2021.0021

Prof. Dr. iuris DDr. h. c. Gábor Hamza, Professor, Full Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Faculty of Law (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


The preparation of the codification of Hungarian private law is linked to the Act XVIII of 1791. The legal commission set up under this article was responsible for preparing a draft private law bill. This draft, which took two years to complete and could not be considered up-to-date, only appeared in print decades later, in 1826. Political developments also prevented the second codification attempt provided for by Act XV of 1848. From 1853, the Austrian General Civil Code came into force in Hungary and Transylvania, so codification work was not resumed until the Austro – Hungarian Compromise in 1867. The idea of creating a code governing private law, substantive law and procedural law became predominant from 1895 onwards, when the Minister of Justice, Sándor Erdély, set up a committee to prepare a unified draft of the Civil Code. The drafting of the Code of Civil Procedure and Procedure, Act I of 1911, was largely due to Sándor Plósz. Géza Magyary also played a major role in the drafting of the code, which entered into force in 1915. Károly Szladits played a prominent role in the preparation and dogmatic foundation of Hungarian private substantive law for decades. The Private Law Bill of 1928, which, since it was not enacted, was considered by the courts as a ratio scripta. The influence of Károly Szladits' ideas can be seen both in the Hungarian Civil Code adopted in 1959, which entered into force on 1 May 1960, and in the new Second Hungarian Civil Code adopted in 2013, which entered into force on 15 March 2014.

Keywords: codification in Hungary, Géza Magyary, Sándor Plósz, Károly Szladits