The new Civil Code of Hungary entered into force in March 2014. Unfortunately, the authors of the law decided to sustain the traditional approach to legal capacity which preferred plenary and partial guardianship.
This guardianship regime has been criticised by disabled persons' organisations worldwide because it restricts the right to self-determination of those living with disabilities. A number of studies show those under guardianship are more prone to be hospitalised against their will and for a longer period of time, and are more exposed to poverty and loneliness. Restriction of legal capacity in and of itself is a major factor in the misery of those living with disabilities.
It has been hoped that the new Civil Code would replace the current guardianship regime with supported decision-making. Supported decision-making presents an alternative to guardianship based on trust and reciprocity. It has two essential features. First, supported decision-making allows for the legal capacity of the person concerned, and treats them as an equal adult, responsible for their own decisions. Second, it helps to create a support network in order facilitate productive decision-making in all areas of life.
The new Civil Code has a double-faced regulation in regards to legal capacity. First, plenary and partial guardianship continues to be the main solution for the challenges presented by disability. Second, it introduced supported decision-making in a distorted form. It is of great concern that using supported decision-making excludes those concerned from some professions and restricts their right to be a foster parent. Moreover, it is available only for those living with a mild level of disability.
For more information, read HCLU's report on the New Civil Code.