Lawyer of Last Resort
Budgetary cuts and a reallocation of resources have left many Israelis without satisfactory legal representation. There is no incontrovertible right to legal representation in Israel, nor is there a right to a lawyer of last resort, provided by the State. Legal Aid to the extent that it exists in Israel falls well short of a number of well-established legal principles, particularly as they pertain to conflicts of interest.
Large organisations are, by virtue of their very nature, complex. None worse than the Israeli Government - the Ministry of Justice in particular. Measures must then be taken to ensure that no inherent conflicts arise out of their method and mode of operation.
- Both ironically and tragically, drastic budgetary cuts have rendered Legal Aid largely unable to provide legal aid to the community. There are many instances when those who are obviously entitled to assistance are denied it in the hope that they will lack the resources and/or inclination to appeal the decision. There are also many instances where judgments remain unenforced for extended periods of time.
- Legal Aid sits under the Ministry of Justice, not the Israel Bar Association. So, an obvious conflict arises where the defendant in the case is the Ministry of Justice itself.
- The same Legal Aid attorney presides over both the plaintiff and defendant’s case in terms of procedure and strategy. This is a blindingly obvious conflict of interest and something that Yaakov Ne’eman, the outgoing Minister of Justice, looked to reform.
- In the arcane Israeli Legal Aid procedure, lawyers can work on both sides of the same case.
LOLR takes cases to court and forces the State to appoint adequate legal representation without any conflicts of interest. Only those who have been rejected legal aid or have a case in which there is an obvious conflict of interest, are eligible for LOLR’s assistance. Below you can find some featured cases we have handled. Please note that LOLR does not provide attorney services.
All Western legal systems perform poorly in the absence of legal representation, but Israel sets a new nadir in terms of lack of standard. The good news is that we have never lost a case once legal representation is provided. To date, we have handled 53 cases with a 100% success rate. LOLR has established itself as an important pillar of the community, as evidenced by the number of referrals it receives – many from Legal Aid itself. LOLR has over 50 cases that are on hold due to a lack of resources; it needs more resources to scale vertically and meet demand. If you want to help us take up the cases on our waiting list, you can make a donation to LOLR here.