Beinisch may set up new appeals court to relieve burden on Supreme Court

Some 600 judges and 100 registrars met to discuss the main issues of concern to them within the system and vis-?-vis the larger world.

beinish 88 (photo credit: )
beinish 88
(photo credit: )
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch is considering establishing a new appeals court that would take over much of the work currently handled by the Supreme Court. "We are in a very preliminary and basic stage," Beinisch told a gathering of all the judges and registrars in the judicial system on Thursday. "I believe this is one of the vital ways of shortening the life span of a case in the system." Some 600 judges and 100 registrars met to discuss the main issues of concern to them within the system and vis-à-vis the larger world. Beinisch addressed some of these issues in her speech at the beginning of the session, focusing on the length of time it takes the courts to complete a case and the means for ameliorating the problem. The appeal court, she said, would be located between the district courts and the Supreme Court. "I don't believe the Supreme Court can function properly when it has to hear 12,000 cases a year, including 5,000 civil, criminal and administrative appeals. The problem cannot be solved without the establishment of a separate echelon. Only those appeals that require decisions on principles that oblige all the courts will reach the Supreme Court from the appeals court," she said. Other proposed means of speeding up the process included the establishment of a new Central District Court, which would relieve some of the burden on the Tel Aviv District Court and possibly other district courts as well, said Beinisch. She also cited the change in the law allowing some cases that until now had be to heard before a panel of three judges to be heard before a single judge. Beinisch discussed a pilot project under way to encourage litigants to agree to a bridging procedure to resolve their disputes. According to this procedure, they must agree to one bridging session before their case can be heard in court. The Supreme Court president also referred to her plan to have cases heard on consecutive days. "This is one of the key solutions that I have been trying to introduce since my term of office began," Beinisch said. A pilot project will begin this year in Jerusalem District Court to encourage this practice, particularly in civil cases. There was a degree of continuity in criminal cases already, she explained. Beinisch also pointed out that in accordance with a law approved last year, five district court presidents will have to step down this year and new ones chosen to replace them. She said that she and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann had appointed advisory committees to recommend candidates for each post. She told the judges that the assertions that public confidence in the courts had plunged in recent years were exaggerated. She added there were external factors contributing to the increased mistrust. Mentioning no names, she said that "another thing that has happened in the past two years is that never before has the establishment itself acted with so much force against the positive image of the judicial system, and also received support from the media. This [the media] is a source of great power and it is not easy to deal with it."