Legal advisers are the first target of judicial reform, says Rothman

The schedule for the entire judicial reform roadmap will be announced at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

 MK Simcha Rotman, Head of the Constitution Committee leads a committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on January 10, 2023.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
MK Simcha Rotman, Head of the Constitution Committee leads a committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on January 10, 2023.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The first step of the coalition’s reform of the judicial system will be to remove the ability of legal advisers in government ministries to make binding decisions, Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Simcha Rothman (RZP) said Tuesday.

Although Rothman will officially only announce the work plan for the legal reforms on Wednesday at 10 a.m., he said the committee would begin next Monday to debate the issue of “the government and ministers’ ability to set their own legal position in their routine operations and in legal proceedings.”

This refers to the change in ministerial legal advisers’ status, whereby they will become personal appointments of the minister and will only issue advice – not legally binding opinions.

What else is in the planned Israeli judicial reforms?

Other parts of the controversial plan, which Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced last Wednesday, include an Override Clause with a 61-MK majority – meaning that 61 MKs can overturn a decision made by the High Court of Justice; cancellation of the “legal unreasonableness” factor in judicial rulings; and changing the makeup of the Judicial Appointments Committee so that the coalition would control all judicial appointments.

The reform includes many amendments and changes to laws. On Wednesday, Rothman is expected to lay out the schedule and details regarding how the process will proceed. Levin on Tuesday said he would be present when Rothman makes his announcement.

 JUSTICE MINISTER Yariv Levin holds a news conference at the Knesset, last week.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) JUSTICE MINISTER Yariv Levin holds a news conference at the Knesset, last week. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The announcement will be made under a title partly quoting Isaiah, “‘Zion will be delivered with justice’ – returning justice to the judicial system.”

“Throughout history, the legal system and the governing principle of justice has been placed at the heart of the Jewish people’s culture, leadership and government,” Rothman said in a statement. “The nation tasked us with the duty to ensure that the State of Israel and the people of Israel today have an independent and strong judicial system, whose foundations are based on justice.

“When the Knesset legislates, the government governs, and the courts give justice – the public’s trust in all government authorities will increase and expand.

“We are starting a public, transparent and open discussion in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which will deal with the task that the voters assigned us, and we will not stop until the task is completed,” Rothman said.