Public Law in Israel

By Itzhak Zamir; Allen Zysblat | Go to book overview

SECTION 4: CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

11
Conflict of Interests in the Public Service
TANA SPANIC
1. The Conflict of Interests Rule in the Likud Case
2. Developments since the Likud Case
3. The Conflict of Interests Rule outside the Administrative Law Context

1. The Conflict of Interests Rule in the Likud Case

'It is a fundamental rule in our legal system that a public servant must not be found in a situation of conflict of interest.' Thus held Barak J in the landmark judgment in the 'Likud'Faction case.1 The rule had already been embodied in legislation and in judicial decisions regarding various public officials, but only in the Likud decision did the rule receive a thoroughgoing theoretical framework. In the Likud judgment one finds the rationale for the rule and its characteristic features:

The rationale for the rule regarding conflict of interests is twofold. . . . First, the pragmatic rationale. In exercising his authority, the public servant must take account of all considerations relevant to the exercise of that authority, and only those considerations. When a public servant is in a situation of conflict of interests there arises a concern that when he exercises his authority, he will take into account the conflicting interest. As a result an improper exercise of the authority may occur. The law aims to assuage this concern. Second, the justification from principle. The maintenance of an orderly and responsible public service with proper public stature requires public confidence that the decisions of public officials are pertinent, honest and fair. The fact that a public servant has a conflict of interests damages public confidence in the system of government. It raises in the

____________________
1
HC 531/79. 'Likud' Faction, Petach Tikva Municipality v. Petach Tikva Municipal Council ( 1980) 34(2) PD 566. 569 ( 1980) (hereinafter Likud). See excerpts from this judgment in this Ch.

-163-

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