The inspiration for this book can be traced to a lecture on Israeli public law presented to a group of English lawyers in 1991. While the audience doubtless anticipated yet another story of English common law principles taking root in a far-flung part of the common law world, what it actually heard was quite unexpected. For the story of Israeli public law is essentially the story of the remarkable willingness of the Supreme Court of Israel to intervene in all kinds of government actions on behalf of basic civil rights and the preservation of the rule of law.
Working essentially with the basic English common law tools of constitutional and administrative law, and without the aid of a written bill of rights, the Supreme Court recognized that Israel's special political and social realities warranted an extraordinary judicial vigilance. Its rich bounty of jurisprudence reveals a judiciary prepared to deviate from the established common law rules concerning non-justiciability, administrative discretion, and judicial restraint, as well as the ordinary rules of locus standi, whenever faced with a denial of justice or a deprivation of basic civil rights.
The editors were urged to make the sources of Israel's public law available to a much wider audience, by making the leading decisions of Israel's High Court available in English translation. Thanks to the assistance of many individuals in England and Israel, and with the support of Oxford University Press, that wish is now a reality.
This book has three main parts. The first part is entitled 'Human Rights', and contains chapters on non-statutory (i.e. judicially-created) and statutory human rights. The second part, 'Administrative Action', contains chapters on three important administrative laws (on administrative tribunals, administrative offences, and the duty to give reasons for decisions) and a chapter each on conflict of interests and administrative contracts and promises. The third part, ' Judicial Review', includes chapters on judicial review of statutes and proceedings of the Knesset, Israel's parliament; judicial review on the ground of unreasonableness; and judicial review of military orders in the occupied territories. Each chapter begins with an introductory note by a scholar presenting an overview and analysis of the