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Pákozdi v Hungary

In Pákozdi v Hungary [2014] ECHR 1318 (25 November 2014) the European Court of Human Rights found that proceedings relating to the imposition of a default surcharge were criminal in nature.

Following a tax audit Ms Pákozdi had been found liable to pay personal income tax as well as an additional 50 % surcharge and interest when the Hungarian tax authorities dismissed her claim that a disputed amount was a loan from her father.

The Hungarian Supreme Court had found without holding an oral hearing that Ms Pákozdi’s assertions had fallen ‘short of being supported by credible evidence’; it had therefore found in favour of the tax authority.

Ms Pákozdi claimed that her right to a fair and public hearing under ECHR art 6 had been violated. Article 6 could only be in point if the proceedings were criminal.

The first criterion was the...

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