Judge Resigns After Six Months 'Due to Workload'

"The workload and the pressure that are imposed on me as a judge do not enable me to do my job properly," argued judge Yisgav Nakdimon, in explaining his decision to step down as a judge at the Ramle Magistrate's Court six months after being appointed to the bench.

Yisgav Nakdimon

Nakdimon announced his decision to resign at a meeting last month with Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and the head of the Courts Administration, judge Moshe Gal. He explained his decision by pointing to the pressure the system was placing on him to "do away" with more and more cases, under work conditions that Nakdimon said did not leave him feeling that he was doing justice to his profession. The resigning judge said that he could not deal with the workload, which he felt did not allow him the time necessary to properly perform his duties.

Sources close to Nakdimon said yesterday that he had felt he was working under impossible conditions and the pressure and workload left him feeling that he could not devote the necessary attention to each case.

One member of the Judicial Selection Committee, who had supported Nakdimon's candidacy, said yesterday that the fact that the judge was stepping down because of the workload and pressure should be a warning sign for the system. "The fact that this judge was honest and shared his difficulty in performing the task assigned to him is commendable - and the question is how many judges are out there who are unable to deal with the workload and pressure, and their work is suffering as a result."

Another committee member said that Nakdimon was selected with a large majority, and he was considered very promising. "He was highlyrecommended and made a good impression on the members of the committee, and his selection was smooth. He brought with him the attitude of freedom of the press, and it was clear that he was an impressive person who would not stay at the Magistrates Court level but would climb higher."

The resignation of a judge, whose tenure upon appointment lasts until their 70th year, is very rare, especially so quickly after taking the bench. The Israel Bar Association, which backed the selection of Nakdimon, considers him the quintessential type for becoming a judge.

For years the IBA has struggled through its representatives on the Judicial Selection Committee to promote attorneys with a private practice, as Nakdimon was, to pose their candidacy for a judicial post. The IBA saw the appointment of Nakdimon as a step toward rejuvenating the ranks of judges with figures that did not emerge from the public prosecution, but who had a more defense attorney mind-set.

Nakdimon was considered to be highly promising, coming to the bench from a senior position as legal counsel for the Channel 2 news company. Nakdimon trained at Hanan Melcer's law office - Melcer is a Supreme Court justice - and continued working for the law firm after passing the bar exam. Between 1998 and his selection to the bench, Nakdimon served as legal counsel for Channel 2 and also taught law.

He was appointed to the bench in October 2009 and served as a judge in the Central District, at the Ramle Magistrates Court and the Kfar Sava Magistrates Court.

A legal source familiar with the details told Haaretz yesterday that the workload and pressures Nakdimon referred to are well known, and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and the courts' administration are trying to have more judges appointed to significantly lower the load.