The president of the Supreme Court has announced when judges should disqualify themselves


This morning, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut published a document setting out the criteria for when judges and registrars should disqualify themselves from sitting in court.

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The document was published with the intention of publishing on the courts’ website, at the beginning of the coming court year in early September, the list of motives of each judge and registrar, in all courts.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut. Increasing transparency Photo: Amit Shabi

The list is intended to ensure fair and efficient administration of justice and to prevent a situation where cases where there is a ground for disqualification or a high chance of disqualification will be directed to the involved judicial body in the first place.

A statement issued by the administration of the courts this morning states that the list has been kept in the court system for years and to this day has been provided to any claimant in response to questions or requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The list was also published on the Government Freedom of Information website. However, as part of a move to promote transparency, the president decided on a concentrated and proactive publication of the list on the courts website.

The list is dynamic and refers mainly to “returning litigants”. According to the test for “real fear of bias” in the Courts Act, the question of whether a judge or registrar must disqualify themselves should be examined on its merits in each case depending on its circumstances.

However, following questions received from judges and registrars on the subject, and in order to formulate a uniform and consistent list, criteria were passed that will help judges in preparing an up-to-date list.

According to the criteria, a judge or registrar will include in the list of motives lawyers and attorneys, who to the best of their knowledge are “repeat players” who frequently litigate in the court where he serves, and who have a “real fear of bias” if discussed or otherwise disqualified.

Among other things, a judge or registrar shall include in his list of motives the following factors, insofar as they are recurring litigants in the court in which he serves: a family member of the judge or registrar or a person with whom there is another actual relationship; In favor of a judge or attorney who was the judge’s client prior to his appointment to the trial and less than 5 years have elapsed since the handling of his case; A factor that the judge is employed by as part of an additional occupation or receives remuneration from him for additional activity or occupation; An attorney who was a partner of the judge or registrar and no more than 5 years have passed since they became partners. The impediments will continue to apply beyond 5 years, as long as there is close corporate ties between the parties.

Also on the list: a situation in which a lawyer handles the case of a judge or registrar or a family member. As far as ongoing treatment is concerned, the prevention will continue for 5 years from the date the treatment is completed. If there are close friendships, the motivations will continue even after that. A law firm in which a judge or registrar’s family member specializes or is an attorney; an attorney or registrar has a close social relationship or other actual closeness with him; Workplace of a spouse of a judge or registrar as well as of his or her adult children even if they are not engaged in a court case, insofar as it is a repeat litigant in the court where the judge or registrar serves. This is provided that the employee, a relative of the judge, holds a senior management position in the workplace or a partner and stakeholder.

However, Supreme Court hearings. List of motives for all judges However, Supreme Court hearings. List of motives for all judges Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

A situation in which an attorney who worked as an intern for a judge or registrar and an attorney who worked with him as a legal assistant must also be included in the list for at least one year from the end of the work. And if a close social connection is maintained after the end of the work, the motives will continue to apply.

First-degree family members of a legal assistant or intern who are litigating repeatedly, at a time when the legal assistant or intern is employed by the judge’s office, should also appear on the list of motives.

According to the President’s announcement, each judge or registrar is responsible for updating his list of motives at the beginning of the trial year. There is no need to update the list of barriers to barriers, which is inherently temporary and short-lived and which is not expected to exceed a few months. However, this does not exempt the judge or the registrar from the duty of disclosure or the avoidance of sitting in court in one specific case or another.


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