During nearly three decades of Communist government, the application of rule in Hungary -the way in which laws and regulations are enforced -has evolved similarly to the principles governing the administration of justice; both aspects of the legal system have been modified to reflect changes in the political theory controlling the development of Hungarian society. As the regime has liberalized its policies, new, more humane, and more personal processes have replaced the rigorous, dictatorial application of rule that characterized Hungary's mobilization era.
A case study of two civil suits arising out of a conflict between the interests of three citizens and the interests of the state provides a unique opportunity to examine a specific example of rule application in Hungary at the beginning of the 1970s. The author selected these suits at random and no notification of the American observer's presence was given to the participants in the cases prior to the trials. The presiding judge, Dr. Arpad Faggyas, and the vice-president of the Budapest District Court, Dr. Tibor Hardiczay, gave permission to the author to attend the trials and to conduct in-depth interviews with both the plaintiffs and representatives of the defendent. 1
Pursuant to a decision reached in 1970 by the Executive Committee of Budapest's Fifth District Council, the Fovarosi Epitoipari Beruhazasi Vallalat ( Capital Construction Investment Company) -known as FOBER — was instructed to build a school on land adjacent to an apartment complex. The land on which the school was to be built, however, was private property belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Lajos Ratter ( Budapest, XX, Klapka u. 70) and Ms. Katalin Simon ( Budapest, XX, Klapka u. 66). Since Hungarian law specifies that the state may claim the use of private land for public purposes if it offers proper remuneration, 2 FOBER asked the Executive Committee of the Fifth District Council to expropriate 3 the real estate on which the school was to be built. On February 15, 1971, the Administrative Directorate of the Council's Executive Committee sent out its order of expropriation (25.084/ 1971.) FOBER