A new law proposed by Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilyatuv seeks to “rejuvenate” the High Court by limiting the amount of time a judge can sit on the court. Under the law, an appointment to the court would be in place for seven years, and could be extended – but only for another five years.
In Israel, the High Court is not only a forum for the final arbitration of cases challenged in lower courts, but is also a court of last resort for citizens, with wide powers to issue injunctions and rule on just about everything. While Ilyatuv’s law does not seek to change those powers, the MK argues that it would be worthy to spread that power around.
Judges are appointed by a special committee (appointed by High Court judges) who utilize specific criteria to decide who sits on the court. The proposal, said Ilyatuv, would add another criteria to that list, ensuring that any worthy person be considered. “Currently, the retirement age for a judge is 70,” which means that the selection committee must limit itself to candidates who are 63 and younger, thus limiting the pool of qualified candidates. “Thus, we have a sad situation where the committee must take into consideration a candidate’s age, perhaps overlooking more required candidates,” Ilyatuv wrote in a message accompanying the proposal. His law would do away with that criteria, replacing it with the 12-year limit.
“This law will bring new ideas and new blood to the court, ensuring that all candidates can be considered without discrimination,” Ilyatuv added. “The age limits that are imposed on the selection committee are discriminatory. This law will change that situation.”