• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Knesset Legal Adviser says Judicial Overhaul Should Take Effect only after Election

Jan 29, 2023

The legal adviser to the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset, recommended that the judicial overhaul that the coalition wants to make should be implemented in the next Knesset.

The legal opinion is non-binding and it said that since the overhaul is a far-reaching one, it should only go into effect after the next general election have happened.

This would give the public enough time to decide whether they support the shift, or not.

The legal opinion

The opinion from the legal adviser had been submitted on Friday to the committee for addressing the amendments to the legislation that have been proposed by the coalition.

MK Simcha Rothman, the chairman of the committee, submitted the amendments to Basic Law: The Judiciary and they are aimed at overhauling the judicial system significantly.

These reforms are the first package in a number of planned measures and the government wants to pass them as quickly as possible.

In fact, the government wants to do so before the end of the winter session of the Knesset on April 2nd, but there has been a lot of criticism from the public, economists, jurists, business leaders and opposition parties.

No impact

It is unlikely that the legal opinion that the adviser has submitted will have any impact on the government or the legislative schedule that Rothman has outlined.

However, it could come in handy in the future, if there is an appeal against the reforms and it can be argued that the process of adopting them was a flawed one.

The draft bill that Rothman has proposed would give the government the authority to appoint judges and they would also be able to limit the power of the High Court of Justice.

The Knesset would be able to override a decision by the court of striking down a legislation with a majority. The High Court could be prevented from reviewing Basic Laws.

Judicial review of legislation could also be eliminated and the court can also be prevented from judging the ‘reasonableness’ of government decisions, or that of other state agencies.

The issues

According to the legal adviser Gur Blai, the amendment proposed by the coalition has far-reaching impact on the government and its relation with different branches.

He said that the legislation will change the balance of power between the different branches of the government and the coalition majority would get significant power.

They would have a significant amount of power over the judiciary and no judicial oversight would be needed for forcing legislation.

Therefore, Blai said that he was recommending the enactment of the reforms from the next Knesset and not implement them immediately because it would strengthen the power of the existing coalition and government.

He added that such changes to the system of the government in Israel had been delayed in the past in order to ensure they were not used for achieving specific political goals.

The 19th Knesset had done the same when the mechanism for the vote of no confidence had been changed via a law, but had been implemented in the 20th Knesset.

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