No surprise here, as…
The comptroller's review of administrative procedures at rabbinic courts found problems with 83 percent of cases at the Tel Aviv court, and 71 percent of cases handled in Petah Tikva.
These two courts were the focus of an examination conducted between between April and August 2007, which considered how the courts' administrative offices operated, and the speed and quality of judicial proceedings. The parameteres considered included proceedings for expediting an official get after a divorce decree has been approved, follow-up on inactive cases, orderly implementation of court rulings, and updating data in the computerized system.
In 17 percent of the cases checked, delays were found in the procedure for granting the get - a step that follows a divorce ruling, and without which a couple is not considered divorced. In 12 percent of cases checked, that procedure had been held up for months and even years.
The court administration does not keep tabs on cases, which leads to their dragging on, the review found.
Absences by judges led to hearings being postponed by several months in 26 percent of cases checked.
The comptroller referenced a 2004 review by the judiciary ombudsman and retired Supreme Court justice Tova Strasberg-Cohen, which found that some rabbinic court judges, or dayanim, were engaged in additional occupations. Then-justice minister Yosef Lapid ordered that a dayan who wishes to hold a second job must reapply each year for approval from the Supreme Rabbinic Court president and the justice minister. But the comptroller found that since the end of January 2005, the rabbinic courts administration never contacted moonlighting dayanim about renewing their applications.
In another matter, the review discovered that a female employee who was appointed administrator of the Petah Tikva court in November 2006 never began work, after the judges wrote to the chief administrator objecting to a woman being introduced into an all-male province. As of October 2007, an administrator had not been appointed to the court, which severely undermines its ability to function, and violates gender equality laws.
The report states that the courts administration neither produced nor received quality control reports on information security, and failed to check whether the computer system had been exploited for malicious purposes.
A spokeswoman for the rabbinic courts administration, Efrat Orbach, said that a discussion will be held on how best to implement the recommendations concerning case follow-up. She also promised that the matter of judges' absences from court hearings "will be resolved shortly."
These are not small issues in a country where all Jewish citizens regardless of religiosity are forced by law to use these haredi-controled religious courts for all marriages, divorces and issues of personal status.
[Hat Tip: Ben Max.]