About the Hungarian Branch
(by Professor Vanda Lamm)

 



Welcome to the homepage of the International Law Association (ILA) Hungarian Branch.

 

The ILA is one of the most important NGOs in the field of public and private international law which was established more than 140 years ago, and nowadays has 54 national branches and more than 3500 members. The ILA was founded in Brussels in 1873, and its present-day headquarters are in London. Its objectives, under its Constitution, are "the study, clarification and development of international law, both public and private, and the furtherance of international understanding and respect for international law".

 

The first national branches of the ILA were founded after World War I, and the Hungarian Branch is one of the oldest branches, founded on 24 February 1923 and has been working since that time almost continuously (the work of the Hungarian Branch had to be suspended during and after World War II for 20 years). The first president of the Hungarian Branch was Professor Ferenc Nagy (1852-1928, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), the vice-president was Ármin Fodor (1862-1944, judge at the Kúria (Supreme Court) of Hungary), and the members of the Executive Council were (among others) Pál Auer (1885-1878), József Illés (1871-1944) and Ödön Kuncz (1884-1965). The secretary (and later the vice-president) of the Hungarian Branch was Nándor Baumgarten (1873-1935), professor of commercial law at the time, who played a very important role in the foundation of the Hungarian Branch. It is an interesting fact that among the members of the Hungarian Branch we can find not only public and private international law professors, but judges, lawyers and professors of other branches of law as well, who thought that with the help of the Hungarian Branch they were able to take part in international cooperations.

 

On the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Hungarian Branch a special meeting was held by the Budapest Bar Association. The opening speech was made by István Osvald (1867-1944), president of the Kúria, and Bertalan Geőcze (1886-???) private professor at Szeged University summarized the first 15 years of the Hungarian Branch in his "Review" presentation. At the meeting there were a few scientific lectures about "World Peace and International Law" (by Gyula Ambrózy (1884-1954), secretary of state), "The Crisis of the New International Law" (by László Buza (1885-1969), professor at Szeged University), and the "New Tendencies of International Law after the World War" (by Ferenc Faluhelyi (1886-1944), professor at University of Pécs).

 

Between the two world wars the Hungarian Branch issued a periodical called "Nemzetközi Jogi Egyesület Magyar Tagozatának Könyvtára" (Library of the Hungarian Branch of the International Law Association), publishing articles from the field of public and private international law.

 

After World War II the Hungarian Branch de facto terminated its operation, and was re-established only on 13 August 1960. The first president of the new Hungarian Branch was László Buza professor of law, the vice-presidents were Gyula Hajdú (1886-1973) professor of law and Endre Ustor (1910-1998) embassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, the honorary secretary was György Haraszti (1912-1980) professor of law. For more than 20 years the Hungarian Branch operated under the Magyar Jogász Szövetség (Hungarian Jurists Association).

 

The former presidents of the Hungarian Branch were László Buza (1960-1964), Gyula Hajdú (1964-1966), Endre Ustor (1966-1970), György Haraszti (1970-1980), Hanna Bokor-Szegő (1981-1998) and Árpád Prandler (1998-2014). The current president, Vanda Lamm was elected after the death of Árpád Prandler (1930-2014) in 2014.

 

After the re-establishment of the Hungarian Branch in 1960, between 1960 and 1970 a new periodical was published every second year called Questions of International Law, containing 5-6 English articles. From 1977 the periodical was published again by Akadémiai Kiadó and Sijthoff, edited by György Haraszti, and after his death by Hanna Bokor-Szegő. However, because of financial reasons, the periodical was finally terminated in 1991.

 

Hungarian international lawyers have played an important role in the life of the International Law Association since the beginning. The Hungarian Branch organized in Budapest two ILA Conferences and the first regional conference in the history of the ILA.

 

The Hungarian Branch organized the 25th Conference of the ILA in 1908 (at that time the conference was organized every year), and the president of the conference was Gusztáv Tőry (1857-1925), secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice at the time. According to the official program of the conference, there were a few presentations held by Hungarian international lawyers, e.g. Dénes Berinkey (1871-1944), Árpád Ferenczy (1877-1930), Rusztem Vámbéry (1872-1946), Gusztáv Szászy-Schwarz (1858-1920) and Dezső Márkus (1862-1912). The patron of the conference was the Minister of Justice, Antal Günther (1847-1920), and the president of the conference was Gusztáv Tőry (1857-1925), state secretary in the Ministry of Justice at the time. Most of the participants dealt with private international law, because in that time only a few Hungarian professors dealt with public international law (the first separate department of public international law at the University of Budapest was established only in 1928). Newspapers emphasized that both the Mayor of Budapest (Kálmán Fülepp (1861-1919)) and the president of the Budapest Bar Association (Imre Szivák (1849-1912) held a welcome speech at the conference.

 

The Hungarian Branch organized the 38th ILA Conference between 6 and 10 September 1934, after the suggestion submitted by István Szászy (1899-1976) at the New York Conference of the ILA in 1930, who was a judge working at the Ministry of Justice Department of International Law at the time. The conference was held in the building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, participants came from 23 different states, and István Osvald (1867-1944), the president of the Hungarian Branch was elected as the President of the ILA.

 

After the re-establishment of the Hungarian Branch in 1960, the most important event organized by the Hungarian Branch was the first regional conference of the ILA in 1993 (the co-organizer of the conference was the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies). The opening speech of the conference was made by Tibor Várady, professor of the Central European University. It is an interesting fact that because of the renovation of the building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the conference was held in a hotel in Budapest. The conference materials were published in the periodical Acta Juridica Hungarica.

 

Finally, we would like to commemorate two of our former colleagues, whose work was very important in the everyday life of the Hungarian Branch, albeit they never had a formal position in it: Károly Nagy (1932-2001), professor of law at Szeged University; and Géza Herczegh (1928-2010), the first Hungarian judge of the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

 

Nowadays the Hungarian Branch has 24 members (23 individual members and 1 student member).

 

On behalf of the newly elected Branch Officers of the Hungarian Branch we kindly ask you to visit our website and follow our programs and scientific activity regularly.

 

 

                                                                                                          Vanda Lamm

 

                                                                                              President of the Hungarian Branch

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