Chairman of the Knesset Constitution Committee Simcha Rotman of Religious Zionism continues today (Monday) the discussions in the Committee for the Advancement of Legal Reform. The discussion was supposed to resume in the morning but was postponed until noon since the members of the Knesset stayed in the plenary until late.
This week’s discussion focuses on changing the powers of the legal advisors to the government and its ministries and giving the option of appointing private representation in the procedures they choose. According to the bill, the ministers will be able to reject the advice of the legal advisors and act against their advice. In addition, it is proposed that the government will be able to appoint private representation in the procedures it chooses, this is different from the existing situation where the legal advisor to the government approves a private appointment.
15:20 | Prof. Mordechai Kermanitzer: “The role of legal advice is not to purge vermin”
Prof. Mordechai Kermanitzer, senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and emeritus professor of law at the Hebrew University came to the committee and expressed his opposition to the reform and changing the powers of the legal advisors. “Government should encourage professionals to speak their mind. When people understand the job as pure running, alas, to have legal advice like this. Shaola will bring us down.”
Kermanitzer also criticized Minister Levin’s statements yesterday and Attorney Gil Limon, Deputy Legal Advisor to the Government, who appeared at the committee. “It is wrong to shame senior civil servants. The last thing a manager should want is people tuning in to what he wants to hear. “Anyone who makes decisions that people will say what they think without being idle is worthy of praise for that.” Members of the Knesset from the opposition joined in the criticism “It is a great shame to see the Minister of Justice bashing a senior public servant,” said MK Yoav Seglovitz.
Later, Prof. Yitzhak Zamir, a former Supreme Court judge who also served as a legal advisor to the government, is expected to oppose the reform.
Law on behalf of the Constitution Committee: “a relatively rare legislative procedure”
The chair of the committee, Simcha Rothman, last week published the platform for discussion as a bill on behalf of the Constitution Committee. The proposal was written by Rothman with the assistance of his legal assistant, Adv. The proposals regarding the composition of the committee for the appointment of judges and the ruling on the increase, published by the Minister of Justice Levin, also did not pass the legal advice to the government.
The manner in which Rothman acted saves a step on the way to legislation, and is widely criticized by the opposition. MK Karin Elharer told Rothman yesterday, “You are passionate about passing a bill. I have been here for ten years. There was no such thing. Bypasses the procedure of submitting a private bill or government memorandum. When a bill is brought on behalf of the committee – it should be a consensus, surely a basic law.”
The legal advisor to the committee, Adv. Dr. Gore Blay, gave his opinion on the proposal last night and noted that the question arises as to whether it was correct to bring it as a bill on behalf of the Constitution Committee, considering that it is a relatively rare legislative course, which in the vast majority of cases is singled out in the Constitution Committee for non-changing issues in dispute or closely related to the Knesset.
In the body of the proposal, Attorney Blay wrote that the meaning of the amendment is that the ministers are the ones who will determine for themselves whether their actions meet the requirements of the law, as long as the court has not ruled on the matter. “So, for example, a minister will not be able to determine for himself whether his action was done in conflict of interest, while ignoring the opinion of the Attorney General.”
He also added that according to the proposal, the minister will be able to determine for himself whether the transfer of funds to entities close to him was done in an equitable manner and if he will be able to determine for himself whether the legal requirements for proper administrative procedure have been met. These situations may lead, in his opinion, to a violation of the principle of the rule of law and public trust in it and damage the status of the return of administrative normality. He also noted that the reform has a significant reduction in the brakes imposed on the executive authority and the coalition majority in the legislative authority.
The deputy ombudsman for the government, attorney Gil Limon, told the committee yesterday that in the opinion of the ombudsman, if the reform is implemented, the mechanisms for ensuring the rule of law “could become hollow instruments. in the semblance of the rule of law” and that “the government and its ministers will in practice cease to be subject to the law”.
Lemon added that “He who also writes the law, also decides for himself whether he upholds the law, also controls the selection of the judges who engage in judicial review of his decisions, and is also authorized to override their ruling when it is not to his liking – he is not actually subject to the law. The government will not even be above the law The government will be the law.”