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Legal market overview
Positive messages from the Hungarian market included the full repayment of the country’s IMF loan in August 2013, but the weakening of the forint and sectoral taxation to the detriment of foreign investment mean the market outlook remains uncertain.
With certain taxation aimed at financial institutions and the lack of foreign investment contributing to the ongoing dearth of new-money financing, many law firms have shifted their focus from new projects to restructurings and refinancings of existing transactions. The real estate market remained quiet, as did the energy sector, which has been badly hit by the government’s push to lower energy prices.
The state has become an increasingly important player in the market, with recent transactions including its acquisition of stakes in two local banks, and state-owned energy group MVM’s acquisition of E.ON’s natural gas division; these and other examples ensured that law firms with connections to state entities remained busy through 2012-13. Firms with strong competition law practices also had an active year, with headline matters including the Hungarian Competition Office’s continuing cartel investigation into foreign exchange mortgage loans.
Among the prominent international law firms are Andrékó Kinstellar, CMS, Horváth & Partners DLA Piper, Kajtár Takács Hegymegi-Barakonyi Baker & McKenzie Ügyvédi Iroda and Réczicza White & Case LLP. Leading independent firms include Nagy és Trócsányi Ügyvédi Iroda, Oppenheim and Szecskay Attorneys at Law.
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Hungary's new law on information security will plug a hole in existing legislation, but may prove to be excessive in addressing security issues.
In 2013, Hungary has introduced a 10% household utilities price cut in the field of electricity, gas and district heating. To ensure thorough enforcement of the price cuts, the country's energy regulator was restructured and several barriers were set to prevent energy companies from passing on these burdens to consumers.
This guide provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of real estate. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Real Estate; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk )
Hungary seeks to impose a 35% withholding tax on offshore assets.
The complicated Hungarian legislation on domestic company mergers can cause headaches, including in cross-border mergers. These headaches result mostly from the fundamental differences between Hungarian law and the national laws of other EU member states, which remain applicable alongside the harmonised rules for cross-border mergers.
On 9 July, the Hungarian Government adopted Act CXVI of 2012 on Financial Transactions Tax, which levies tax on payment services. The Hungarian government claims that this new tax - which is also being referred to as a "financial transaction levy" - is aimed at supplementing the extraordinary tax levied on Hungarian credit institutions. The tax comes into effect and will be payable as of 1 January 2013.
A recent second instance judgment by the Metropolitan Court of Appeal (“Court of Appeal”) provides some interesting insight into the court’s approach in cartel matters. The case before the Court of Appeal concerned the second instance review of a first instance judgment that annulled certain parts of the decision of the Hungarian Competition Office (the “HCO”).
Hungary is the first country in the CEE region to introduce the real estate investment trust (REIT) regime on the back of US and Western European examples. The new REIT regime took effect on 27 July 2011.
After the publication of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) by the European Commission, the Hungarian Presidency undertook to implement the first ever "European Semester" a six-month period of each year in which Member States' budgetary and structural policies are reviewed to identify any inconsistencies and emerging imbalances, so as to facilitate coordination before major budgetary decisions are finalised.
BANKING & FINANCE . REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION . PROCUREMENT & REGULATORY . EMPLOYMENT & PENSIONS
VEGAS LEX experts discuss Russian roads and PPP projects at the fifth international specialized exhiRoad 2014, the 5th international specialized exhibition and forum held in Moscow earlier this month and attended by VEGAS LEX, focused on effective development mechanisms for Russia's public road system and on legal aspects of public-private partnership projects
The VEGAS LEX law firm has held a seminar, Signing a Concession Agreement: an Insider's Insight , for the staff of Bank of Moscow legal department and business divisions.
Julia Tormagova, head of VEGAS LEX Commercial Group, will speak about trends in the law enforcement practice on the market for pharmaceuticals in 2014.
Popov & Partners Law Office was chosen by Ministry of Finance once again for consultant service of MPopov & Partners Law Office is finishing successfully and before the appointed time, its work on concluded in May 2013 contract with Ministry of Finance for conducting subsequent control of public procurements financed by Operational programme "Administrative capacity". As a result of the quality and effective implementation, in the beginning of September 2014, Ministry of Finance entrusted a second time team of the Law Office for implementing activity for subsequent control of public procurements financed by Operational programme "Administrative capacity", as choose Popov & Partners Law Office for executor of a public procurement. Term of the second contract concluded with Ministry of Finance is until the end October 2015. During its implementation, Popov & Partners Law Office will aim increasing transparency and efficiency in the field of implementation of projects, financed by European social fund, and will contribute for lawful utilizing of funds on Operational programme "Administrative capacity".
Goltsblat BLP , the Russian practice of the leading international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) , is providing the Italian clothing brand TWIN-SET Simona Barbieri with legal support for its entry on to the Russian market, including setting up a joint venture and opening a number of own-brand stores across Russia.
Leading Hungarian law firm, Lakatos, Köves and Partners, has been advising Bayerische Landesbank ("BLB") on the sale of its Hungarian subsidiary MKB Bank Zrt. which closed on Monday 29 September 2014.
Kyiv, 17 October 2014 - AstapovLawyers has advised Lexmark International Technology S.A. (Switzerland) on legal matters pertaining to the signing of distribution agreement with a Ukrainian company. The advice included review and adjustments of the wholesaler contract, drafting arbitration clause and on Ukrainian law matters applicable to the contract.
Zavadetskyi Advocates provided for tax clearance of the transaction for cross-border transfer of the loan portfolio from the balance sheet of the Ukrainian bank to the balance sheet of the UK bank of a Greek banking group. As a result of this work an official tax clarification has been obtained that allowed favorable conditions for the transaction.
Kyiv, 11 August 2014 - Avellum Partners announced that it has acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Ferrexpo in connection with the following three export financing credits:
Kyiv, 2 September 2014 – Avellum Partners announced that it has acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Ferrexpo in connection with the acquisition of an electrified railway of over two kilometers long and a power line.