The Israeli Law Professors’ Forum for Democracy, an ad hoc, apolitical, and voluntary group of experts on Israeli law and specifically Israeli public law, expresses its grave concern over the apparent intention to abolish the independence of the judiciary, to subordinate it to the government and to the partisan political considerations of the executive branch, to undermine the independent status of the attorney general and civil service legal counsels, and to violate human rights. In this paper we examine the reform about to be adopted in Ireland with respect to appointment of judges.
We demonstrate that:
· Ireland is about to approve a comprehensive reform of its judicial appointments procedure. Under the existing system, a committee composed of judges, the Attorney-General, lawyers, and public representatives make recommendations to the Government, which selects the judges. The Government usually adopts the recommendations of the committee, but it is not obliged to do so.
· According to the new bill, which is in the process of being enacted, the composition of the committee for judicial appointments will change: it will be composed of 4 judges, 4 public representatives, and the Attorney-General, who will be on the committee but will not be entitled to vote.
· The public representatives will be appointed by the Minister of Justice, but the Minister will be required to appoint only candidates recommended by a non-political body in the Irish civil service.
· The new committee will recommend candidates for judicial appointment to the Government, but unlike the recommendations under the current system, these will bind the Government. For every judicial position, the committee will recommend up to 3 candidates and the Government will be required to choose one of the three. A candidate not recommended by the committee cannot be appointed.
· In contrast to the Levin-Rothman proposal, Ireland seeks to depoliticize the process of appointment and adopt a completely professional model immune to any political bias.