The Legal Counsel serves as a legal advisor to the government and public authorities, directs the state attorney’s office and oversees the legal department that prepares and reviews proposed legislation.
As a result of the high level of professionalism and political neutrality it has maintained over the years, the Legal Counsel’s office is viewed with great esteem by both the general public and members of the Government . The Legal Counsel is considered the main defender of the government of the law and the guardian of the public interest.
The Legal Counsel, who is a public servant, is nominated by the government with the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice; the period of his appointment is indefinite. The removal of his position from a legal adviser is done in a manner similar to his appointment, but has almost never been implemented.
Although the position of Legal Counsel has not been the subject of a Basic Law or legislation, the traditional rules and customs associated with the Legal Counsel were established by a commission assembled in 1962 and chaired by Shimon Arana, then judge of the Supreme Court. The Arana Commission Report substantiated the tradition of political neutrality of the position. Since the 1960’s, therefore, there is a tacit agreement according to which a person with a strong political identity or who is known for his political activism should not be appointed to this position. The report establishes a series of rules to ensure that the position of the Legal Counsel is apolitical.
The commission also noted that candidates for the position of Legal Counsel must meet rigorous professional criteria, and governments have maintained the policy of nominating people who are qualified to serve as Supreme Court justices.
Head of the prosecutor’s office
The Legal Counsel is authorized to decide whether or not to file a formal accusation; decide with respect to the decision of the police or the State Attorney, investigate or close a file; request the extension of the detention of an arrested person for a period of time greater than 30 days; request that the immunity of a member; and to extend criminal proceedings after a formal accusation has been filed. In addition, you are authorized to represent and advocate in any legal proceeding that, in your opinion, constitutes a matter of public interest. In these cases, the Legal Counsel has exclusive authority and his decisions can be annulled only by the Supreme Court, through petitions that have been submitted to him as the Supreme Court of Law.
The representation of the State in legal proceedings before all courts and tribunals in criminal, civil and administrative matters is in the hands of the Legal Advisor, who delegates a large part of his responsibility to the State Attorney. Prosecutors consult the Legal Counsel and the State Prosecutor about whether or not they should act in the courts presenting a case on behalf of the state, by initiating legal proceedings. If legal actions are taken against the State, the Legal Counsel can decide whether or not to defend the State and its public entities before the court. The government can not hire a private attorney without the consent of the Legal Counsel’s office, regardless of the preparation or lack thereof of the Legal Counsel and its staff to represent the government in a particular case.
Government legal counsel
As a legal advisor to the government, the Legal Counsel advises the government, ministers, government ministries, local authorities and other public entities, such as the mail and the national telephone company; Counsel directly or indirectly through the government’s legal service, mainly through the legal advisors of all government ministries. The Legal Counsel is also responsible for the formulation of government norms in the interpretation of the law and in the appropriate legal procedures.
Legal opinions of the Legal Counsel are accepted as the official interpretation of the law and therefore must be taken to the letter by all government authorities. First, due to the authoritative quality of the decisions of the Legal Counsel and the respect that inspires his position, government officials generally seek his advice and consent before making decisions that may later be considered as contrary to the law. In addition, if an authority acts against your legal advice, the Legal Counsel may decide not to defend that entity before the court.
The Legal Counsel is responsible for ensuring that the Basic Laws of the State and the appropriate procedures are respected each time laws are passed or administrative actions are carried out. In this capacity, he advises the Legislation Division of the Ministry of Justice in the preparation of bills to be presented by the Government and in the supervision of the promulgation of regulations of all government ministries. The Legislation Division controls government bills as well as private members to determine if they are consistent with existing laws and rights and advises the government accordingly.