Moshe Weinberg

Basic facts: 58 years old, graduated from Tel Aviv University Law School in 1971; specializes in planning, building and land law. Attorney Moshe Weinberg says his greatest concern about the legal system is the overloading of the courts, which causes severe delays in the dispensation of justice. There are several reasons for this, he maintains. The first, and presumably most important, is that the legal system is based on the written word - far too many words, in his opinion. "A judge deals with 20 cases a day," he explains. "Each case file has at least 30 pages of text, not even including documents and protocols. Multiply 30 by 20, you have 600 pages of reading each day. The man hasn't been born who can manage all of this." The system not only slows down legal procedures but creates a situation where judges are unfamiliar with the cases before them, he maintains. Weinberg says the Bar Association has the power and prestige to change the way things are done. One way is to simplify trial procedures to prevent sidetracking the hearings. Today, there are almost 600 regulations in civil procedures. "We can do with 100," he says. Litigants should be brought to court immediately after they submit their statements of claim and defense. Instead of written briefs, the dialogue between the litigants should take place in person before the court. Another way of streamlining the court is by encouraging alternative ways of resolving disputes. "There was a time," says Weinberg, "when the epitome of the legal act was the final ruling. Nowadays, we understand that the aim of the process is to find a solution to the dispute." Weinberg calls for the establishment of a bridging center which will be run by the Bar. Before a case reaches the court, it will be heard at the center. Not only will bridging diminish the number of cases that reach the court. It will also save the court the time of trying to find out whether a mediated solution is possible in the cases that do reach it. The second item on Weinberg's agenda is the "flooding" of the profession. Each year, thousands of men and women who have finished law school pass their bar exams and become lawyers. But, says Weinberg, "there is a big difference between studying law and being a lawyer." He suggests extending the articling period for law school graduates from one to one and a half or two years. Before becoming eligible to begin their apprenticeship, the graduates will have to pass an exam to prove they have achieved a proper level of knowledge. Meanwhile, the Bar will establish a school for them, where they will be obliged to continue their studies during their articling. At the end of the articling period, they will be examined by a panel of lawyers. Only those who pass will receive a license, and even they will have to wait another year before becoming full-fledged lawyers. Weinberg also provided a list of proposals for reform in the Bar itself, including opening local offices in the Tel Aviv district, where more than 70 percent of the country's lawyers practice. He also called for the establishment of a school for judges at the Bar which will offer a one-year course of studies. This is the first time that Weinberg is running for public office in the Bar. However, he has served in the past as head of the Tel Aviv District ethics committee, and, since 2004, has been in charge of the various committees involved with legislation and the Bar's representation in the Knesset.