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Immigration Appeal Tribunal


Introducing the New Appellate Court in Israeli Law: The Immigration Appeals Tribunal 

Last June, the Ministry of Justice founded a new Court of Law, constituting Israel’s first judicial immigration appeals tribunal established pursuant to decrees issued by the Population Authority and the Ministry of Interior.  

Last June, for the first time in Israel’s history, a new appellate court was founded, known as the Court of Law for Status and Residency. The court was established in accordance with the 22ndamendment ofThe Entry into Israel Law, 5712-1952from the 3rdof August 2011. The court operates as an autonomous court, external and independent from the Ministry of Interior, thereby constituting a judicial court conveying rulings of the Executive Authority, and particularly on rulings of the Immigration and Population Authority of the Minister of Interior, and granting assistance in the field of citizenship status, as further detailed below.

The tribunal's authority is, in fact, like that of the Magistrates Court for Administrative Affairs, and its jurisdiction stems from that ofthe Administrative Court of Law 5760-2000. While the court rules on appellate causes of action in accordance with grounds of authority and remedies, the Administrative Court of Law judges administrative pleas. The legal procedures and regulations customary in the court are regulated in theEntry into Israel Law (the legal procedures and administration in the Court of Appeals), 5774-2014 and in the Regulations for Entry into Israel (fees in The Court of Appeals) (temporary order), 5774-2014,and they determine how the appeal will be submitted, how the court will conduct itself from procedural and evidentiary perspectives, the list of required documents, the plea bargaining, the administrative order, the means of advertising, the height of the fee and the situations in which there will be fee exemptions, the additional information required for purposes of submitting an appeal, as well as court recess dates. Regarding the local jurisdiction, it will be emphasized that the appeal will be submitted with the court in the district where the verdict being appealed was reached.

Under the courts authority there are a wide and diverse variety of matters, including matters regarding entry into Israel, remaining and dwelling in Israel and leaving the country, matters of citizenship in accordance with Article 7 of the Citizenship Law, matters regarding The Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law (temporary order), matters of spouses of permanent residency visa holders in Israel or of spouses of Israeli citizens, custody inspection, matters of minors born in Israel and whom the Law of Return does not apply to, and certain other matters included in the Prevention of Infiltration Law, as well as additional citizenship related issues. The Appellate Court will not be able to exercise judgment regarding appeals of government decisions, or regulation of law and regulations.

Recently, the President of the Court of Appeals, Ms. Yael Vardi Rotschild, presented the Court’s structure at a convention organized by the Israel Bar Association that took place at the HaPraklit House. The founding of a court specializing in citizenship and legal status is of great significance, for it provides a uniform, convenient and appropriate method of appealing rulings of the Immigration Authority and the Minister of Interior; rulings that their appeal process today is both difficult and perplexing and up until now were judged in the Appellate Committee for Foreigners and in other judicial establishments, although not in one clear, organized and uniform manner.

The establishment of this unique court of law further allows an eligible person whose request was weighed and denied by the Population and Immigration Authority or the Ministry of Interior, to make an appeal in a court of law regarding certain issues. As such, the court essentially constitutes an establishment that provides a judicial review on rulings in accordance with the administrative law by examining the reasonableness of the ruling, however, it is not meant to replace the authoritative authority on the matter or replace its judgment. With its establishment, the court presents an additional specific professional court of law in Israeli law, and thereby assists in reducing the burden in the courts and the number of intermediate steps in reaching a final verdict, which provides quick certitude to the position of the appellant.

Initially, the Court of Appeal will be opened in two cities in Israel – Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and in the coming years, additional appellate courts are expected to be opened in Haifa and Beer Sheva. Courts of appeal will be established nationwide within three years.

The Court of Appeals is independent with its own judges and court president, who adjudicate appeals based on the evidence presented before the court.

The target population of the court includes many diverse groups, including migrant workers, refugees, foreign workers (with or without a work permit), children of foreign workers, persons requesting a change of status by virtue of marriage, family reunification, extension of foreign work permits, unaccompanied minors, Jewish descendant to whom the Law of Return may not apply (for example, the great-grandson of a Jewish individual), and more.

The appellant can only begin proceedings once he/she has exhausted the procedures within the framework provided by the Immigration Authority, including an internal appeal within the Authority, and if he/she has already appealed within the Authority, the appellant bears the burden of establishing that his/her circumstances have changed or present facts justifying an additional appeal. The appeal to the Court is submitted in writing within 30 days of the appealed verdict’s publication, or from the day which the appellant was given notice of the verdict. Because time constraints are especially critical, the appellants must strive to obtain information regarding the verdict’s publication to avoid the lapse of designated time for an appeal.

Only one appeal can be submitted for each matter and it must be submitted with an attached affidavit, payment of a fee in the sum of 657 NIS and, if the appellant is represented, with a power of attorney. The parties determining the verdict in the court’s hearings include the aforementioned Ministry of Interior and the Population and Immigration Authority, who have at their service, professional legal practitioners appointed to the position for only these designated matters, and matters of publicity and transparency will fully apply to the court in all their force, with the customary exclusions (national security, protection of morals and minors, privacy and more).

The court provides both sides the right to adequately make their case with in-person hearings, and will issue reasoned verdicts which will be served to the two sides, while setting deadlines as limited as possible. The Court is authorized to approve the verdict being appealed, to change it and to overrule it (due to disproportionality and lack of reason) as well as to return the verdict with instructions for the Authority that issued the ruling. Its authority also includes: altering the ruling, establishing a compromise, amending a ruling, issuing temporary injunctions and interlocutory orders, granting an exemption from fees in certain atypical circumstances, granting extensions, summoning professionals, delaying enforcement, providing documents, cancellation, contempt of court, rejection and so on. The objective of the court is to execute the process as efficiently, justly and promptly as possible, as justice and efficiency remain the essential principles guiding the court.

As previously stated, the Court of Appeals’ verdict will serve as a Magistrate’s Court for Administrative Affairs, in which there will be a right to appeal the administrative appeal before the District Court of Administrative Affairs by submitting an administrative appeal within 45 days from the date of the verdict at the Court of Appeals, or from the time of notice to the appellant. For “other verdicts”, an appeal must be requested in the presence of the judge of the Court of Administrative Affairs. It will be noted that the court has the power to rule expenses and a fee for professional services for the sides, a matter over which the implementation board does not possess any jurisdiction. Every case will be examined and inspected in accordance with the judge’s judgment.

The establishment of this unique court of law constitutes a breakthrough in the field of the immigration, status and citizenship laws, while the establishment of an independent judicial body in this field, will provide these issues with a worthy legal debate. This constitutes yet another advancement with regard to the degree of professionalism and development of the Israeli legal system and is the successful product of the Ministry of Justice’s extensive labor in the effort to establish this court of law throughout the last few years.                           


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