Lexicon of Terms

The High Court of Justice

The Supreme Court may sit as the High Court of Justice. As the HCJ, it deals with matters involving issues of justice which do not fall under the jurisdiction of any other court. The HCJ may issue orders to release persons who have been illegally detained or imprisoned; may issue orders to state authorities, local authorities, their officials and other bodies that fulfill public functions by law, to perform an act or refrain from performing an act, while performing their tasks in accordance with the law, and if they have been elected or appointed contrary to the law - to avoid acting; may issue orders to courts and to bodies and persons with legal or quaisi-legal powers under the law (as for example the Knesset when it lifts the immunity of a Knesset member). Appeals to the HCJ are made by means of a petition. In the first stage of the deliberation a HCJ justice decides whether there is any prima facie basis for the petition. If his decision is positive he issues an order nisi. After the substantial deliberation on the petition, the HCJ decides whether the order nisi should be made absolute or whether the petition should be rejected. Turning the order nisi into an absolute order means that the authority against which the order was issued must comply. If the judge's decision is negative, the petition is turned down.

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