Birzeit law unit deems judiciary law ‘amendable’ in new position paper

The Constitutional Law Unit at the Faculty of Law and Public Administration at Birzeit University has recently released a position paper in which it states that the Palestinian judiciary law can be amended by a presidential decree.

The paper, part of Birzeit’s Working Papers Series in Legal Studies - the Position Papers Module - was authored after a roundtable discussion with legal scholars and experts held on September 15, 2018, by the constitutional unit. The discussions were set off after a presidential committee agreed on recommendations on developing the Palestinian justice apparatus.

In the paper, members of the Constitutional Law Unit argue that “the Palestinian Judiciary Law does not enjoy a special status under Palestinian Constitutional System, despite its constitutional nature.” As such, they continue, the judiciary law can be amended by presidential decrees, provided that the conditions listed in Article 43 of the Palestinian Basic Law are satisfied.

Upon three arguments: First, The Palestinian Basic Law hasn’t provided any immunity from amendments in its provisions to the Judiciary Law nor it has given it a status similar to basic laws, or higher from regular laws. Second, The Palestinian constitutional and legal experience witnessed a Promulgation for several decree laws that had amended the Judiciary system, one of which is the Judiciary law itself. Third, The Palestinian Higher Constitutional court’s jurisprudence overlooked any special status to Judiciary related Laws while ruling in a related constitutional complaint (13/2016), in addition it didn’t look into the nature of these law.

In the roundtable discussion, the participants also raised concerns about the relationship between the Palestinian executive and judiciary branches, given that the Palestinian Legislative Council has ceased to function since 2007.

The participants also drew attention to the dangers of amending laws by presidential decrees, something that could tip the scales between the executive and the judiciary governmental powers. They added that judicial reformations must be introduced in the West Bank and Gaza simultaneously, and stressed the need for uniform Palestinian judiciary and juridical apparatuses.

You can view the Constitutional Law Unit’s position paper by clicking here