THE STATE: Judiciary: The Court System

THE STATE: Judiciary: The Court System

Aerial view of the Supreme Court Building (Photo: GPO / A. Ohayon)

The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by law. Judges are appointed by the president, upon recommendation of a nominations committee comprised of Supreme Court judges, members of the bar, and public figures. Appointments are permanent, with mandatory retirement at age 70.

Aerial view of the Supreme Court Building (Photo: GPO / A. Ohayon)

The Court System

Special Courts (1 judge) 

Traffic, labor, juvenile, military and municipal courts, with clearly defined jurisdiction; administrative tribunals.

Religious Courts (1 or 3 judges)
Jurisdiction in matters of personal status (marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship, adoption) vested in judicial institutions of the respective religious communities: Jewish rabbinical courts, Muslim sharia courts, Druze religious courts, ecclesiastical courts of the ten recognized Christian communities in Israel.

Magistrates’ Court (1 judge)

Civil and minor criminal offenses; jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases.

District Court (1 or 3 judges)

Appellate jurisdiction over magistrates’ courts; original jurisdiction in more important civil and criminal cases.

Supreme Court (1, 3, 5 or a larger uneven number of judges)

Ultimate appellate jurisdiction nationwide; right to address issues when necessary to intervene for the sake of justice; authority to release persons illegally detained or imprisoned; sitting as a High Court of Justice, hears petitions against any government body or agent and is the court of first and last instance.

President Shimon Peres with justices of the Supreme Court - 28 Feb 2012
(Photo: GPO)

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