Court Administration Making Sure Rulings Come in Faster

The court administration holds meetings with court presidents and demands that judges suggest clear deadlines for completing verdicts.

The court administration is taking advantage of its computer system to track the speed at which judges deliver verdicts. Only the Supreme Court is exempt.

"Before that we had an overload of complaints to the [complaints] commissioner, but today judges who tarry when writing their verdicts need to present a work plan that includes target dates for verdicts," said Barak Lazer, an adviser to the head of the court administration.

"And the court administration monitors that they do indeed meet those deadlines."

The court administration also holds meetings with court presidents and demands that judges suggest clear deadlines for completing verdicts. If this does not solve the problem, a meeting is held with the transgressing judge, his court president, and the head of the court administration, Moshe Gal.

In extreme cases, a meeting with Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch is held, and some cases result in a complaint to the complaints commissioner, retired judge Eliezer Goldberg, against judges who fail to meet their deadlines.

Also, any judge wishing to take a sabbatical or take up another job such as teaching needs to show that he does not have a backlog. Lazer noted that nearly all judges who take a sabbatical use it to catch up on their workloads and to write verdicts, rather than to get a much-needed respite.

Other efforts by the administration include making judges take forced leaves to complete their verdicts, stopping judges with a backlog from taking up new cases, and reassigning them to other departments and courts where the workload is smaller and the verdicts are not as complicated.

A member of the organization representing judges told Haaretz that such decisions are often interpreted as a public reprimand, visible to both fellow judges and attorneys appearing before the judge.

"It would've been better to find real solutions to the overload that would be better for the system, beginning with recruiting more judges," the judge said.

Lazer told Haaretz he agreed that more judges and more money would be needed. The head of the Israeli Bar Association, Yori Geiron, said more court cases should go to arbitration and mediation. He said that this would be doable and relatively cheap.

Geiron said he would even support setting up a fourth instance for appeals, above the district-court level.