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State creates new special courts for migrant issues
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
01/06/2014
Courts to serve as permanent appeals courts for any decision by Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, Interior Ministry on migrant policy.
 
The Justice Ministry on Friday announced the establishment of special administrative courts for migrant issues.

The courts, the first of their kind in Israel, will be available for appeals against any decision made by the Interior Ministry or its Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) on migrant policy, including refugee status, decisions to summon migrants to the open detention center in the South, and many other issues.

Until now, ad hoc administrative bodies functioned as courts run by PIBA, but there was no outside oversight short of an appeal to a district court sitting in its administrative capacity – which has its own special challenges. The authority to establish the new judicial bodies emanated from the Law for Entering Israel and various Knesset and Interior Ministry regulations.

In addition to oversight, the goal of the new courts – which will initially be opened in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but eventually will expand to Haifa, the North and the South – is to centralize migrant issues in a court system with special expertise and to provide a quicker, more efficient response to migrant appeals.

The decisions it hands down will automatically be appealable to regular district courts.

“The opening of the special appeals court is very good news in handling legal migrant issues in addition to other measures taken by the Justice Ministry to improve public services on the issue,” Justice Ministry director-general Amy Palmer said.

Attorney Yael Verdi-Rothchild will be in charge, with general staffing decisions being made by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni according to recommendations by an appointments committee headed by Palmer.

Legal issues for migrants have ballooned as the illegal migrant population soared as high as 60,000 in recent years, with thousands of migrants having been summoned to the open detention center.
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