Chief Justice Asher Grunis
Chief Justice Asher Grunis Photo by Alex Kolomoysky
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The Supreme Court needed 14 months to handle a typical case last year, compared with 15.5 months in 2010, the court said in a report yesterday.

"The report's figures show that despite the continuing rise in the number of new cases initiated each year, the length of time required to handle an average case has dropped," Supreme Court President Asher Grunis wrote in the report's introduction.

"In 2011, the number of files that were closed exceeded the number of those that were opened, and the total number of open cases dropped below 10,000. In a judicial system that is one of the busiest in the world, this is an encouraging sign."

The handling time is measured from the point a case file is opened to the time the court issues a ruling, throws out a case due to a request from one of the sides, or seals a compromise agreement.

Also last year, there were fewer threats to judges. Judges who have been threatened in the past include Uri Shoham, who took the oath to serve on the Supreme Court last month. Shoham moved up from the Tel Aviv District Court. The other new Supreme Court justice is Daphne Barak-Erez, former dean of Tel Aviv University Law School. Grunis, for his part, became court president in February this year, taking over from Dorit Beinisch, who retired.

The breakdown of closed cases was similar in 2011 and 2010. Thirty-six percent ended with a ruling, nearly 20 percent were thrown out due to a request by the initiator of the proceeding, and the rest were settled by an agreement between the two parties, or by a mediator.

According to the report, High Court proceedings on a petition request lasted one year on average. Appeals in civil cases lasted 20.5 months on average.

In 2011, 9,775 case files were submitted to the top court, roughly the same number of submissions as in 2010; some 9,565 case files were closed in 2011.

According to the report, of the 3,903 cases filed initially with the top court (administrative appeals, High Court petitions ), 43 percent were petitions.

One final statistic reflects pressure on the court system as a whole. According to the report, 707,000 new case files were opened last year, 10,000 more than in 2010. Most of the cases, 424,000, were initiated in magistrate's courts.

The budget for courts was NIS 1.6 billion in 2011.