Avi Zamir
Israel District Court Judge (retired);
Lecturer at the Department of Public Policy and the Law Faculty of the University of Tel-Aviv, Israel;
PhD student, Law Faculty of the University of Pécs, Hungary

doi: https://doi.org/10.18485/iup_rlrc.2021.2.ch1

The Israeli legal system is unique, combining principles and traditions from common law and civil law. Israel strives to see itself as a constitutional democracy. It is a democracy, as it is a system of government governed by the principle of the majority and in which fundamental values and at their core, the human rights, are guaranteed against the abuse of the power of the majority. It is a constitutional democracy, as the structure of governmental authorities and human rights are enshrined in basic laws, chapters of an entire though unfinished constitution. The state of Israel operates through three bodies: the legislature (“Knesset”), the executive (Government), and the judiciary (courts). The powers of these organs are enshrined in the Basic Law. There is a “checks and balances” relationship between the authorities designed to ensure that each authority operates within its mandate and that none of them has unlimited powers. And what about the judiciary? From the judges’ point of view, there is independence in several aspects that will be discussed. But from a budgetary and administrative point of view, the judiciary does not enjoy independence and autonomy from the executive branch. The executive branch is also litigating in the courts. Can the personal independence of the individual judge be complete as long as the independence of the judiciary is not complete?

Keywords: Israeli legal system, “checks and balances”, independence of judges, judiciary.

Download the article