The System of Courts
The judicial system acts in Israel like safe-conduct of the government of the law and of the human rights, as similar institutions do it in other countries. Nevertheless, the absence of a completely written constitution, including a bill of rights combined with the regulations inherited from the British Order and the wide authority of the legislature, puts the judicial system in Israel in a more important and delicate situation.
The judicial system in Israel splits into two principal types: the first one, the general courts known as civil or regular courts; and other, courts and other authorities with judicial power. The differences between two types of institution are, between others, the scope of his jurisdiction: while the authority of the courts is a general, that of other courts is limited in persons' terms or matters, or in both aspects.
The General Law: the Courts
Israel is the unitary state with the only system of general courts. The Basic Law: the Judicial system establishes three courts levels: the Supreme Court, courts of district and the courts of peace. The last two are courts of justice, while the Supreme Court is essentially a court of appeals, which also operates like the Supreme Court of Right. He has not sworn in Israel.
Courts of Magistrate (Courts of Peace)
The Courts of Magistrate are the basic courts of justice of the Israeli system. These have jurisdiction on criminal matters in which the accused faces charges of an affront that transports a judgment potential pair of up to seven years of prison. In civil matters, these courts have jurisdiction in matters of up to a million shékels (approximately U$S 300.000). These courts have also jurisdiction on the use and possession of real estate. The Courts of Magistrate act also like courts of transit, municipal courts, family courts and courts of small demands.
Courts of District
The courts of district are judged of average level in the Israeli judicial system. These have jurisdiction on any matter that is not pertinent exclusively to the jurisdiction of another court. In criminal matters, the courts of district see cases in which the accused faces more than seven years of jail. In the civil cases, the jurisdiction of these spreads to matters in which there is dissolved more than one million shékels (approximately U$S 300.000). The courts of district see also cases related to companies and societies, arbitrations, prisoners' requests and appeals on tax matters. These courts see the appeals to the judgments of the courts of peace.
In general, a panel is composed by only one district judge. A panel of three judges is established when the court sees an appeal to a judgment of a court of peace, when the accused faces charges with an affront that transports a sorrow of prison of more than ten years, or when the president or vice-president of the court of district like that decide it. There are five courts of district in Israel.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to see appeals to judgments of the courts of district in criminal and civil cases. The cases that begin in the court of district are appealable, for right, before the Supreme Court. Other matters can be appealed only with permission of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has special jurisdiction to see appeals in the related to the elections to the Knéset, decisions of the Commission of the Civil Service, disciplinary decisions of the Bar of Israel, administrative detentions and appealed requests of prisoners before a court of district.
The number of judges in the Court is fixed by a resolution of the Kneset. At present it is provided with fourteen judges. For assent, the principal judge is the president of the Court; the second one in hierarchy, is the vice-president. The president of the Court heads the judicial system of Israel.
The Supreme Court meets generally in panels of three judges. The president or the vice-president of the Court have the power to extend the size of the panel to any prime number of judges. Also, every panel has the power to decide the enlargement of his number. The Court also can decide the beginning of a "additional hearing" in that a panel of five or more judges will be able to reconsider a case decided on a smaller panel of the Supreme Court.
Court Suprermo of Right
The Supreme Court also sesiona like Supreme Court of Right. This function is only in the Israeli system because in his function of Supreme Court of Right, the Supreme Court acts like court of the first and last instance. The Supreme Court of Right carries out judicial reviews of other branches of the government and has powers "in matters in which he considers necessarily to grant assistance in interest of the right and that they are not contemplated inside the jurisdiction of any other court or court".
As Supreme Court of Right, the Supreme Court sees more than thousand requests a year. Often these cases are much publicized and they put in judgment cloth acts of tall governmental officials. By means of his jurisdiction as Supreme Court of Right it endorses the government of the law and consolidates the human rights. Courts with Limited Jurisdiction The Israeli legal system recognizes several types of courts, being the most important the martial courts, the courts of work and the religious courts. These courts differ from most of others, both for his personal and material jurisdiction. Every court is composed of a judicial system with independent administration and its own system of appeals, which it includes judges with legal training.
The military courts were established by the Law of Military Justice (1955). These are competent to process welded by military and civil affronts. Considering that the law defines the "welded" term including the regular forces of the army - be already recruits or career military men - as well as to those in the reservations forces in active service, the extension of persons subject to the jurisdiction of the martial courts in Israel is relatively wide. The civil personnel in the military service and the war prisoners also are subject to the above mentioned jurisdiction, with certain limitations. The system of the martial courts includes minor courts and Marcial de Apelaciones Cuts one. The courts are composed of two official judges and a judge president with legal training. The appeals court meets in panels of three, except in the cases in which the accused faces the death penalty or when the president of the court or the general district attorney of the army arrange an extended panel. In these cases, the court meets in panels of five. Under limited circumstances, the judgments of the martial courts can be appealed straight before the Supreme Court.
Courts of Work
The Knéset established the courts of work in 1969, admitting that the labor law needs its own judicial system to facilitate the consolidation of the piled up experience, customs and decisions on the topic and to interpret the existing and future labor laws. The courts of work consist of regional courts and the National Court. The Regional Courts of Work are judged, while the National Court sees the appeals. This one also meets like court in actions between two gremlos or two management organizations that "arise from matters that atañen to the labor relations" and in disputes between the parts of a collective agreement regarding the existence, application, interpretation, implementation or violation of any other matter that arises in the agreement. The courts of work have jurisdiction to see pertinent affronts to several legislations. Only the decisions in these matters can be appealed straight before the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of Right has jurisdiction to check any decision of a labor court, turning really the Supreme Court into a semi-court of appeals of the courts of work. The regional courts assemble in panels of three members, composed by a judge and two "public representatives" - one, in representation of the personnel and other, on behalf of the employers. The National Court meets in panels of three, five or seven judges, as it is the case. The court is composed of professional judges and representatives of the personnel and the employers.
While the martial and labor courts are not exclusive of the Israeli legal system, the courts religious yes it are. The Israeli legal system is only between the modern legal systems in the use of several laws on the personal status in the field of the familiar law, which are attended by the religious courts. This phenomenon has historical and political roots: it existed under the Ottoman domain and it was preserved by the Britons after whom they were conquering the country.
The basic source for the law enforcement on the personal status and the jurisdiction of the different religious courts finds in the Order Palestine in Advice (1922). This order stipulates that "the jurisdiction in matters on personal status will be exercised... by the courts of the religious communities".
The order also grants jurisdiction to the courts of district in matters of personal status for the foreigners who are not Moslem, declaring that they "have to apply the personal law of the involved parts". With regard to the foreigners, this was defined as "the law of his nationality". The causal law determined that as for not foreigners, "the court... is... of applying the religious law or community of the parts". The Order Palestine in Advice recognized eleven religious communities: Jews, Muslims, and nine Christian denominations. The Israeli government added to this list the Presbyterian Evangelical Church and the Bahai. The Knéset also put in effect the law that grants jurisdiction to the religious courts Druzes.
In Israel, as in many other western legal systems, there is an increasing tendency to put specific legal topics in hands of special administrative tribunals conceived to fulfill semi-judicial functions.
The most ancient and common type of administrative tribunal was conceived to operate like court of appeals before administrative agencies that fix social benefits, tax totals or compensation for injuries. Between many examples in this category there is the court that sees the appeals on compensation for injuries resultant from the military service and the court that sees the appeals with regard to the taxes totals to the property.
More recently, the Knéset established courts that have a wider set of semi-judicial functions. For example, the Court of Contracts of Normal Forms considers the demands regarding unjust terms in the contracts of normal forms and the Court of Restrictive Commercial Practices, which redeems an important role in the regulation of a wide scale of anticompetitive practices.
Supervision of the Special Courts on the part of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court supervises all the courts or courts out of the general frames of the court, guaranteeing that each of these special institutions is not completely separated from the regular judicial system. The supervision is already realized be by means of appeals or requests to the Supreme Court of Right. The Basic Law: The Judicial system grants jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, as Supreme Court of Right, "to arrange courts, courts and entities or you present yourself with judicial or semi-judicial powers before the law... to see, to stop seeing or keeping on seeing a particular matter, or to abolish a process incoado inappropriately or an inappropriate decision". The same section gives to the Supreme Court of Right authority more limited as for the religious courts.
The Independence of the Judicial system
The success of the judicial system in Israel, with the Supreme Court to the head, in the imposition of the government of the law and the defense of the civil rights is, to a great extent, a result of the substantive and personal independence which the judges enjoy. The granting of a substantial independence is stipulated in the Basic Law: The Judicial system: "(a) person whom judicial power is granted has not to, in judicial questions, be subject to any power out of the law". It must be emphasized that the general language of this section is applied to any person in whom judicial power has been invested, and not only to the judges of the courts.
In addition to his substantial independence, the judges enjoy a wide personal independence, which begins with the procedure for his selection and continues during all his period in the charge: the judges are selected by the Commission of Judicial Selection, which is composed by nine members: the Minister of Justice (president), another minister of the office, the Chief Justice, another two judges of the Supreme Court, two members of the Knéset and two representatives of the Bar of Israel. Three branches of government - executive, legislative and judicial - and the legal profession they are represented in the commission. Most of the members of the commission are lawyers of profession: three judges of the Supreme Court and two representatives of the legal profession. A candidate can be proposed by the President of the commission, the Chief Justice or three any members of the commission. There is needed the majority vote of the members of the commission for the appointment of a candidate.
To be nominated a judge of the courts of peace, a candidate must have been inscribe or to have right to be inscribed in the List of Members of the Bar of Israel, and to have at least three years of legal professional experience, be already as (a) lawyer; (b) legal official to the service of the state; and (c) teacher in right. The nominated ones must have to the Court of District at least four years of experience as judges of the courts of peace or at least six years of legal professional experience. The judges of the Supreme Court must have served at least five years in the Court of District or have at least ten years of legal experience or be qualified like "eminent lawyer" (a secondhand special category only once in the history of the Supreme Court). As practical matter, the judicial appointments are apolitical. The judges are selected based on his legal occupational qualifications. Since he has not sworn in Israel, the judge is the only one with decision power in a judicial process.
The judicature independence continues along all his period in the charge. His appointment is permanent and it expires only with the obligatory retirement at the age of 70 years, an age major than allowed in other public positions. The judges enjoy an immunity similar to that of the members of the Knéset. A judge cannot be removed of the charge except by decision of a Disciplinary, consistent Court judges named by the Chief Justice, or by decision of the Commission of Judicial Selection at the proposal of the Minister of Justice or of the Chief Justice. The decision of the commission must be supported by seven of his nine members. The wages and pensions of the judicature are determined by the commission of the Knéset and it is not possible to approve any law that proposes the reduction of the wages of the judges. For law, the judges of the Supreme Court receive the same remuneration as the ministers of the office and the Chief Justice receives the same salary as the Prime minister.
Source: MFA - Foreign Office of Israel