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The Proposed Reform of the Court System

Advantages vs. Dangers

Policy Paper No. 15

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  • Cover Type: Softcover
  • Number Of Pages: 108 Pages
  • Price: 45 NIS

This position paper proposes steps for carrying out comprehensive reform in Israel's court system, with an emphasis on addressing the issue of court overload. Its point of departure is the conclusions of the Or Committee and the laws proposed in conjunction with it and in its wake.

This position paper proposes steps for carrying out comprehensive reform in Israel's court system. It presents the conclusions of the Or Committee and the laws proposed in conjunction with it and in its wake. It also presents statistics on the activities of the courts and analysis of the statistics that indicate the main characteristics of the court's overload. In addition, is presents previous proposals for solving the problem of court overload, a survey of court systems and their characteristics in a number or countries, and positions within the Israeli legal community on the suggested reforms.

The Israeli court system is essentially a heritage from the British Mandate. At least since the mid-seventies the system has been collapsing under the burden of the ever-increasing number of matters brought before the courts. In 1979, a committee was appointed to find a solution for this heavy burden and to redesign the court system. Headed by the then President of the Supreme Court Moshe Landoi, it included Justice Aharon Barak, Dr. Shimon Shitreet and attorneys Yitzhak Aderet and Eliyahu Gitzleter. The committee's recommendations were submitted in late 1980, but were only partially executed. Additional partial attempts at assailing the burden were made during the following years. Recently, the attempts were stepped up with the appointment of a committee headed by Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or that was charged with examining the lower court system and "...to recommend desirable changes in the lower court system with respect to the structure of the system, the distribution of authority among the various instances and within each of them, and to recommend changes deriving from the above in order to improve the functioning and efficiency of the system." At the outset of its conclusions, the Or Committee noted the seriousness of the overload problem of the court system and that the problem constitutes an important element in redesigning the court system. "A delay of judicial deliberation or of judgment may cause the distortion of justice and impair the doing of justice."

This position paper submits the various steps for carrying out comprehensive reform in Israel's court system. The conclusions of the Or Committee and the laws proposed in conjunction with it and in its wake are presented here. Statistics on the activities of the courts and analysis of the statistics that indicate the main characteristics of the overload are presented. Also presented are previous suggestions for solving the problem of the court overload (including the conclusions of the Landoi Committee), a survey of court systems and their characteristics in a number or countries, and the positions within the Israeli legal community on the suggested reforms.