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Taking evidence by videoconference

Hungary
Content provided by:
European Judicial Network
European Judicial Network (in civil and commercial matters)

1 Is it possible for evidence to be taken by videoconference either with the participation of a court in the requesting Member State or directly by a court of that Member State? If yes, what are the relevant national procedures or laws that apply?

Act III of 1952 on the Code of Civil Procedure provides the option for the court, either at the proposal of a party or acting on its own initiative, to interview a party, other participants in the court proceedings or an expert, or examine a witness, via a closed-circuit telecommunications network. An interview via a closed-circuit telecommunications network is particularly appropriate in cases where such interview can speed up the proceedings or where an interview at the venue where the case is heard would be considerably difficult to organise or very costly.

The rules on interviews via a closed-circuit telecommunications network can be found in the Code of Civil Procedure.

2 Are there any restrictions on the type of person who can be examined by videoconference – for example, is it only witnesses or can others such as experts or parties also be examined in this way?

There are no restrictions in respect of the persons who can be examined via a closed-circuit telecommunications network. This method can be used to examine the parties and other participants in the court proceedings, and also witnesses and experts.

3 What restrictions, if any, are there on the type of evidence that can be obtained by videoconference?

A closed-circuit telecommunications network can be used to hear the parties and other participants in the court proceedings, to interview experts or to examine witnesses.

4 Are there any restrictions on where the person should be examined by videoconference – i.e. does it have to be in a court?

Interviews via a closed-circuit telecommunications network can take place on the premises of the court or another body, in rooms set up for such purposes.

5 Is it permitted to record videoconference hearings and, if so, is the facility available?

The Code of Civil Procedure does not contain any provisions on video and audio recordings of interviews conducted via a closed-circuit telecommunications network. However, the Code of Civil Procedure does provide that, in the case of interviews via a closed-circuit telecommunications network, the hearing report must also record the circumstances in which the interview was conducted, indicating the persons present in the room used for the interview.

6 In what language should the hearing be conducted: (a) where requests are made under Articles 10 to 12; and (b) where there is direct taking of evidence under Article 17?

In the case of requests made under Articles 10 to 12, the Code of Civil Procedure is applicable. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, court proceedings are conducted in Hungarian, but no one may be placed at a disadvantage because of a lack of knowledge of the Hungarian language. In the course of the court proceedings, everybody has the right to use his/her mother tongue or regional or minority language, as provided for in international agreements. Where necessary, the court has an obligation to use an interpreter.

In the case of requests made under Article 17, the hearing is conducted by the requesting court under Article 17(6) in accordance with the laws of its Member State.

7 If interpreters are required, who is responsible for providing them under both types of hearing and where should they be located?

In the case of requests made under Articles 10 to 12, if it is necessary to ensure the use of mother tongue or a regional or minority language, the court has an obligation to use an interpreter.

The Code of Civil Procedure does not contain any provisions on where the interpreter should be located in the event of an interview via a closed-circuit telecommunications network.

In the case of requests made under Article 17, the provisions of Article 17(4) and (6) must be applied.

8 What procedure applies to the arrangements for the hearing and to notify the person to be examined about the time and place? How much time should be allowed when arranging the date of the hearing to enable the person to receive sufficient notification?

The Code of Civil Procedure does not contain any special provisions on the summons for hearings via a closed-circuit telecommunications network. The summons to attend a hearing must be sent so as to allow for the receipt confirming that they have been served in accordance with the law to be returned to the court prior to the hearing.

If the defendant must be served also with the complaint in addition to the summons, the hearing must be organised so as to ensure that the complaint is served to the defendant, as a general rule, at least fifteen days before the date of the hearing. The president of the court may shorten that period in urgent cases.

In the case of requests made under Article 17, the provisions of Article 17(4) and (6) must be applied.

9 What costs apply to the use of videoconferencing and how should they be paid?

The costs vary, and are to be paid by the requesting court.

10 What requirements, if any, are there for ensuring that the person examined directly by the requesting court has been informed that the performance shall take place on a voluntary basis?

Under Article 17(2), the requesting court must inform the person concerned that the hearing is voluntary.

11 What procedure exists for verifying the identity of the person to be examined?

The identity of the person to be examined via a closed-circuit telecommunications network is verified on the basis of the following:

- the information provided by the person in question in order to verify his/her identity and address;

- presentation, by means of image data transmission, of an official document suitable for identification or a residence document.

The court also uses electronic means or direct database queries to confirm that:

- the information provided by the person to be examined via a closed-circuit telecommunications network in order to verify his/her identity and address matches the records;

- the official document suitable for identification and the residence document presented by the person to be examined via a closed-circuit telecommunications network match the records and are valid.

12 What requirements for taking oaths apply and what information is needed from the requesting court when an oath is required during direct taking of evidence under Article 17?

The Code of Civil Procedure does not provide for oaths in court proceedings.

13 What arrangements are there for ensuring that there is a contact person at the place of the videoconference with whom the requesting court can liaise and a person who is available on the day of the hearing to operate the videoconferencing facilities and deal with any technical problems?

There are no such special legal provisions. It is something to be agreed between the requesting and the requested courts. Nevertheless, the Code of Civil Procedure provides for the presence of a person responsible for ensuring the functioning and operation of the necessary technical equipment for interviews via a closed-circuit telecommunications network in the room used for such purposes.

14 What, if any, additional information is required from the requesting court?

In general, no other information is required.

Last update: 16/10/2017

The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective EJN contact point. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. Neither the EJN nor the European Commission accept responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

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