ACTA JURIDICA - A MTA Jogtudományi Közleményei Tom. 29 (1987)

1987 / 3-4. sz. - KULCSÁR KÁLMÁN: Position of lawyers and their role in the last four decades of Hungary

Acta Juridica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 29 (J—4), pp. 303—319 (1987) Position of lawyers and their role in the last four decades of Hungary K. KULCSÁR Professor Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest In the traditional Hungarian society, which nevertheless has entered to the first stage of modernization—before the Second World War—the social prestige of the juridical profession was highly esteemed and it had numerically also a relatively high proportion among the intellectuals. After the Second World War this situation has changed, the lawyers were pushed to the background, at first, due to political reasons (they were regarded as supporters of the earlier regime), then in the course of the development of the socialist society they were pushed back socially as well. It is a rather peculiar contradiction that when, on the one hand, the role of law-making has increased by the strengthening of the central leadership of the society, the professional knowledge of the lawyers was evaluated as almost negligible, on the other hand. Followingly, the number of law students has decreased, their proportion—as well as the proportion of the graduated law students—has decreased to a part of the earlier number among the students and the intellectuals. The paper analyzes this process and its aspects and tries to outline the recent phenomena in the line of the renewed social upgrading of the juridical profession (which is related to the economic reform of the last 20 years). I. First of all, an answer shall be found to the question: what does determine the social position and the tasks of a professional stratum? The determining or at least influencing factors are manifold. They are partly objective—with various "degrees" of objectivity—and partly subjective, when investigating them, however, more closely it mostly appears that these subjective factors (in social sense) lead similarly to objective relations. The most important one of the objective factors is unquestionably the function performed by a professional group—in our case the lawyers—in tHe society. The function of lawyers is connected—at least to a considerable extent—with the function of the law, to a certain extent it shares also its "fate". In addition to the development of the manifest functions, however, also the latent or disfunctional phenomena evolving in connection with the law produce an effect thereon. It occurs in some degree since several factors (among them also some subjective ones) may divert—increase or reduce—the function of the lawyers from the function of the law. It is almost unlikely that a complete congruence would occur between these two functions in whatever society and at whatever time, the extent of the divergence and its connections may be different in the individual societies and in various epochs. The magnitude of the effect of factors beyond the development of the functions of law is reflected by the fact that in l* Ada Juridica Academiae Scienliarum Hungaricae, 29, 1987 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest