Special Legal Order and the State of Danger in Hungary

  • The Government of Hungary declared state of danger on 11 March 2020 via Government Decree 40/2020. (III. 11.). The state of danger extends to the entire territory of Hungary for the elimination of the consequences of the human epidemic endangering life and property and causing massive disease outbreaks.
  • In response to the pandemic situation, DLA Piper Hungary has launched a new series called ‘Special Legal Order and the State of Danger in Hungary‘, through which Noémi Radnai and Gábor Papp, legal experts of the firm summarize the special legislation issued during the emergency period.
  • The first part of the series explores the basics related to this special legal order, including the concept of the state of danger, the person responsible for eliminating it, and its legislative background.

1. What is a state of danger and how long does it last?

A state of danger is a special legal order under the Fundamental Law of Hungary. The Government shall declare it in the event of a natural or industrial disaster endangering lives and property, or in order to mitigate the consequences thereof. To this end, the Government may introduce emergency measures defined in cardinal laws.

A state of danger means that the Government may issue decrees empowered – under a cardinal law –to suspend the application of certain laws or derogating from the provisions of laws, and to take other extraordinary measures.

Initially, a decree issued under this power remains in force for fifteen days, except if the Government extends its effect on the basis of an authorization from Parliament. By adopting Act XII of 2020 on the containment of coronavirus, the Parliament has authorized the Government to extend the effect of the government decrees until the end of the state of danger.

2. Who is responsible for eliminating the state of danger?

The Prime Minister, assisted by the Operational Corps Responsible for the Containment of the Coronavirus Epidemic.

It is the Government of Hungary, represented by the Prime Minister being authorized to declare the end of the state of danger period, unless the Parliament revokes the Parliamentary Act on Empowerment (i.e.  Act XII of 2020 on the containment of coronavirus) earlier.

3. What is the legislative background of the state of danger?

Act XII of 2020 on the containment of coronavirus (Empowerment Act)

  • In force: 31 March 2020.
  • During the period of the state of danger, in addition to the extraordinary measures and rules laid down in Act CXXVIII of 2011 on disaster management and amending certain related Acts, the Government may, by means of a decree, suspend the application of certain Acts, derogate from the provisions of Acts and take other extraordinary measures. The Government may do this in order to guarantee that the life, health, person, property and rights of the citizens are protected, and to guarantee the stability of the national economy.
  • The National Assembly authorises the Government to extend the effect of the government decrees adopted in the state of danger until the end of the period of state of danger.
  • The President of the Constitutional Court and the Secretary-General of the Constitutional Court shall provide for the continuous operation of the Constitutional Court during the period of state of danger.

Authors: Gábor Papp and Noémi Radnai

Papp Gábor

Papp Gábor


Life Sciences csoport

Papp Gábor

Gábor a DLA Piper Hungary társasági jogi és M&A csoportjának szenior ügyvédje. Szakmai tevékenysége kiterjed társasági jogi ügyekre, M&A tranzakciókra, compliance ügyekre, gyógyszerjogra, munkajogra, közigazgatási jogra, illetve kodifikációs/szabályozási kérdésekre is.
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