ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Ireland’s ex-justice minister says Israeli overhaul should ‘be put in cold storage’

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

FILE - In this file photo from June 14, 2013,  Ireland's then-Justice Minister Alan Shatter, poses during a meeting at Dublin Castle, Ireland.  (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)
FILE - In this file photo from June 14, 2013, Ireland's then-Justice Minister Alan Shatter, poses during a meeting at Dublin Castle, Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

Former Irish justice minister Alan Shatter says Israel’s judicial overhaul legislation is “politicized, opportunistic, ill thought out [and] regressive,” and should “instantly be put in cold storage.”

Speaking today at a conference of the Israel Democracy Institute, Shatter argues that instead, a “consultative assembly” should be formed to draw up a comprehensive constitution that would respect the rule of law, incorporate checks and balances, and adopt “the values proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.”

Shatter, who served as Ireland’s justice minister from 2011 to 2014, also dismisses comparisons made by proponents of the government’s controversial legislation, which would give the coalition control over judicial appointments, to the Irish system.

He notes that in Ireland the large majority of members on its Judicial Appointments Advisory Board are either judges or legal professionals, and that even though in theory the government could appoint someone other than a candidate recommended by the board, such an appointment had never occurred.

The Israeli government’s proposals would give an automatic majority to the governing coalition on the Judicial Selection Committee, and likely allow it to control all lower court appointments and the large majority of Supreme Court appointments.

Shatter adds that a written constitution for Israel should “guarantee the independence of the judiciary, protect human rights, and prescribe the powers and legal relationship between the government, the Knesset and the courts, and the limits of those powers,” and ultimately be put to a referendum.

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