Documentation

 

Online Code Book

Introductory Notes

Introduction

The Database includes all final decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court in cases opened between 2010 and 2018, and decided by a panel of three to nine justices (16,109 cases and 48,634 opinions). This constitutes the population of all primary criminal, civil and administrative appeals, election appeals or election approvals, High Court of Justice cases, and additional hearings (see the LIssueArea variable). The Database also includes data from all other case types decided by the Israeli Supreme Court (usually decided by a single judge), as long as a panel of at least three judges wrote the final decision. All case dispositions are included: cases resolved on the merits, voluntary dismissals, settlements, etc.

The Database consists of two data files: case-centered and justice-centered. In the case-centered data, the unit of analysis is the case; that is, each row of the data file contains information about an individual dispute (16,109 cases; 61 variables). This dataset does not contain specific justice vote information. In the justice-centered data, the unit of analysis is the vote (48,634 votes; 74 variables). It includes a row for each justice participating in each dispute and holds a set of variables for justice votes in each dispute, along with the case information. In what follows, an asterisk indicates that the variable is only in the justice-centered data.

Coding Method

Data collection and coding proceeded in three stages. First, court cases were harvested from the Israeli Supreme Court open website. Second, an automated computerized coding technique was employed to allow efficient and accurate data entry for most variables. In the process of writing the code, we performed computerized and human reliability tests, including dual coding of cases. Due to the varied form of the court’s final decisions and the lack of a structured paragraph or standardized phrasing of votes and outcomes, we incorporated human coding. So in the third and final stage of coding five variables were hand coded by ten law students: three outcome variables with information on final votes (see the Outcome, Disposition and Winner variables) and two variables depicting the primary subject matter of the case (IssueCourt1 and IssueCourt2). Hand coding was performed with the help of a custom developed web application that identified the court documents to be coded and contained a form with the variables to be collected. For simplicity and flexibility, we developed the web application on top of the popular Djmes with a built-in authentication and authorization system. This allowed us to track each coder’s progress. We visually inspected the data collected for some of the cases to ensure that the data stored and later retrieved accurately reflects the information the coders submitted. Human-coded variables were coded by a team of ten third- and fourth-year law students. A second tier of coders randomly sampled approximately 20% of their coding for accuracy and reliability, and found that the coding was consistent with an accuracy of over 90%.

Citing the ISCD

To cite the Israeli Supreme Court Database, please use the following:
Weinshall Keren, Lee Epstein & Andy Worms. The Israeli Supreme Court Database, 2018 version URL: http://iscd.huji.ac.il

Identification Variables

 

CaseId

A unique case docket number as labeled by the Israeli Supreme Court, in the form of a serial number, dash and year of case opening. In each year, the numbering is calibrated to start at 1.

ISCD_ID

A unique internal identification number assigned by the Israeli Supreme Court Database team to each case. The first two numbers indicate the year of case opening and the remainder digits represent the serial number identical to that of the CaseId.

* In the justice-centered data a decimal is added, and the number following it indicates the deciding justice placement within the court panel - ".01" for the head of the panel, ".02" for the second justice in the panel, and so on.

Casename

The names (in Hebrew) of the first listed petitioner/appellant and the first listed respondent/appellee.

CaseCitation

The citation to the case from the official Israeli Supreme Court website (in Hebrew), containing the case legal procedure classification, docket number, year of case opening and names of the first petitioner/appellant and respondent/appellee.

URL

The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) link to the published final court decision in the case, as published on the Israeli Supreme Court website

Merged

The Israeli Supreme Court has the power to consolidate different petitions or appeals that raise the same legal or factual cases. This variable is counter indicating how many cases the court consolidated with the coded case. Note that this variable has no entry when the case was not merged or combined with other cases.

Merged_first

The CaseId of the first listed case in a cluster of relevant consolidated cases. The variable has no entry when the case was not merged or combined with other cases.

Background Variables

 

Petitioner1

The name of the first petitioner or appellant listed (in Hebrew). In cases where the party is an individual, the name consists of the first (given) and last names. For companies, ministries and other parties, the name appears as written by the petitioner filing the case.

Petitioner2

The name of the second petitioner or appellant listed (in Hebrew). See Petitioner1.

Petitioner3

The name of the third petitioner or appellant listed (in Hebrew). See Petitioner1.

PetitionerType1

This variable identifies the first petitioner or appellant based on the parties’ names. The variable has no value if the litigants' names did not contain an indication for their classification, or in cases with irregular typing mistakes in the litigants' name.

Values are:

  • Business – including a registered company, corporation, banks, insurance companies, etc.
  • Government – all state and governmental agencies, including government ministries and ministers, the social security office, state prosecutors, the parliament, prison authority, the police and the state comptroller.
  • Individual - private litigants, not belonging to any other classification.
  • Judiciary - all court and judicial tribunals active in Israel.
  • Military – including the army, military officers, the head of the civil administration in the territories, secret security forces (the Mossad and Shabak), etc.
  • Municipal – including municipalities, local councils, and mayors.
  • NGO – non-governmental organizations including non-profit organizations and partly funded public organizations, such as universities or political parties.

PetitionerType2

The variable classifying the second petitioner or appellant. See PetitionerType1.

PetitionerType3

The variable classifying the third petitioner or appellant. See PetitionerType1.

LawyerP1

The name of the lawyer (in Hebrew) representing the first petitioner or appellant listed. This includes the first and last name of the first legal representative listed by the parties without identification of the relevant law firm. Second-chair lawyers are coded also, separated by commas from the head lawyer, only if they reported their names to the court secretariat during the initial filing stages. In some cases with state attorneys this variable notes that a lawyer from the State Attorney’s Office is representing the case ("פרקליטות המדינה") rather than specifying the lawyer's name. This usually occurs when a specific attorney was not assigned to the case during the initial filing stages.

LawyerP2

The name of the lawyer (in Hebrew) representing the second petitioner or appellant listed. See LawyerP1.

LawyerP3

The name of the lawyer (in Hebrew) representing the second petitioner or appellant listed. See LawyerP1.

Respondent1

The name of the first respondent or appellee listed (in Hebrew). In cases where the party is an individual, the name consists of the first (given) and last names. For companies, ministries and other parties, the name appears as written by the petitioner filing the case.

Respondent2

The name of the second respondent or appellee listed (in Hebrew). See Respondent1.

Respondent3

The name of the second respondent or appellee listed (in Hebrew). See Respondent1.

RespondentType1

This variable identifies the first respondent or appellee based on the parties’ names. The variable has no value if the litigants' names did not contain an indication for their classification, or in cases with irregular typing mistakes in the litigants' name.

Values are:

  • Business – including a registered company, corporation, banks, insurance companies, etc.
  • Government – all state and governmental agencies, including government ministries and ministers, the social security office, state prosecutors, the parliament, prison authority, the police and the state comptroller.
  • Individual - private litigants, not belonging to any other classification.
  • Judiciary - all court and judicial tribunals active in Israel.
  • Military – including the army, military officers, the head of the civil administration in the territories, secret security forces (the Mossad and Shabak), etc.
  • Municipal – including municipalities, local councils, and mayors.
  • NGO – non-governmental organizations including non-profit organizations and partly funded public organizations, such as universities or political parties.

RespondentType2

The variable classifying the second respondent or appellee. See in RespondentType1.

RespondentType3

The variable classifying the third respondent or appellee. See in RespondentType1.

LawyerR1

The name of the lawyer (in Hebrew) representing the first respondent or appellee listed. This includes the first and last name of the first legal representative listed by the parties without identification of the relevant law firm. Second-chair lawyers are coded also, separated by commas from the head lawyer, only if they reported their names to the court secretariat during the initial filing stages. In some cases with state attorneys this variable notes that a lawyer from the State Attorney’s Office is representing the case ("פרקליטות המדינה") rather than specifying the lawyer's name. This usually occurs when a specific attorney was not assigned to the case during the initial filing stages.

LawyerR2

The name of the lawyer (in Hebrew) representing the second respondent or appellee listed. See LawyerR1.

LawyerR3

The name of the lawyer (in Hebrew) representing the third respondent or appellee listed. See LawyerR1.

NPetitioners

A counter for the number of petitioners or appellants submitting the case to the Israeli Supreme Court.

NRespondents

A counter for the number of respondents or appellees.

CourtSourceInstance

The name of the court whose decision the Israeli Supreme Court is reviewing.

The Israeli judiciary is divided into two main systems: the general law courts and specialized tribunals. The general courts enjoy residual general jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters, according to a hierarchical structure: magistrate’s courts serve as basic first instance trial courts, district courts are the middle level courts and the Israeli Supreme Court functions as the highest court of appeal for contesting a lower court’s judgment. In administrative matters, the Israeli Supreme Court holds residual jurisdiction to hear petitions against governmental authorities while sitting as the High Court of Justice [HCJ] (Bagatz), as first and last instance. However, the Administrative Affairs Courts Act of 2000 gradually transferred first instance jurisdiction in specific administrative types of disputes from the HCJ to the district courts, sitting as administrative affairs courts. Several district courts also hold specific jurisdiction as standard contracts courts, antitrust tribunals or admiralty courts.

Specialized tribunals include a wide variety of authorities with judicial power, most commonly labor courts (adjudicating labor-related disputes), religious courts (deciding, inter alia, in matters of personal status) and military tribunals. Judgments of the specialized tribunals may be petitioned or appealed under different legal circumstances to the Israeli Supreme Court, most commonly when it sits as the HCJ.

The Israeli Supreme Court thus wears two hats: First, as the highest court of appeal, it hears appeals as a matter of right on judgments rendered in the district courts and applications for leave to appeal against judgments rendered on appeal from cases decided first in the magistrate courts. Second, it sits as the HCJ, hearing administrative and constitutional petitions at first instance, as well as petitions against prior rulings of the specialized tribunals.

This variable classifies the court whose decision the Israeli Supreme Court is reviewing according to the following procedure: In criminal, civil or administrative appeals, it specifies the court system in which the appealed case was last decided, according to the details of the appealed case transferred to the Supreme Court’s secretariat. Tracing to gradual and constant changes in first instance jurisdiction in administrative matters, the distinction between “District Court – General” and “District Court – Administrative” is not always consistent among the court’s secretariat staff. We note that our coding reflects the classification made by the court, even if their classification is inaccurate.

In HCJ cases, the variable specifies a specialized tribunal only in cases in which at least one of the petitioners identifies the relevant tribunal. Our coding in this respect is limited to the petitioner’s decision to include the relevant tribunal as one of the respondents to the petition. A missing value is registered otherwise, indicating that the Israeli Supreme Court is the first (and last) judicial instance hearing the case, as in most HCJ cases.

Variable values are:

  • Antitrust Tribunal
  • Court of Admiralty
  • District Court - Administrative
  • District Court – General
  • Labor Court
  • Magistrate Court
  • Military Court
  • Religious Court
  • Standard Contracts Court

CourtSourceDistrict

The name of the geographic district of the court whose decision the Israeli Supreme Court is reviewing.

A missing value is registered in all HCJ cases as the Israeli Supreme Court is generally the first (and last) judicial instance hearing these cases (see CourtSourceInstance). Additionally, we note that HCJ petitions against specialized tribunals are mostly filed against a national level (appeal level) tribunal, rather than geographical relevant court

Variable values are:

  • Central
  • Beersheba
  • Haifa
  • Jerusalem
  • Nazareth
  • Tel Aviv

NumCaseSource

A unique docket number for the original case the Israeli Supreme Court is reviewing. The labeling is standardized by the Israeli judiciary and comprises a procedural classification, serial number, dash and the month and year of case opening in the lower court instance. In older cases, opened at the court of origin prior to 2009, the labeling could also appear in one of the following formats: XXXXXX/YY or 00-XXXXXX/YY.

This variable has no entry for HCJ cases (see CourtSourceInstance).

DateCaseSource

The day, month and year of the final decision by the lower court in the case the Israeli Supreme Court is reviewing. This variable has no entry for HCJ cases (see CourtSourceInstance).

DateOpen

The day, month and year of the case filing in the Israeli Supreme Court.

DateFinalDecision

The day, month and year of the final closing decision rendered in the case.

NumHearings

A counter for the number of times the Israeli Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case.

DateFArgument

The day, month and year when the case was first orally argued before the court. This variable has no entry for cases that were not orally argued.

DateLArgument

The day, month and year of the last and final oral argument, before a final decision was rendered. This variable has no entry for cases that were not orally argued or in open cases.

Substantive Variables

LIssue

The legal issue or general procedure type according to the broad administrative classification of legal departments in the ISC. According to this classification, all HCJ cases, as well as Administrative appeals, Election Appeals and Approvals are classified broadly as “Administrative Law”.

Values are:

  • Civil Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Administrative Law

LegalProcedure

The specific legal procedure of the case according to the classification made by the petitioner or appellant when filing the case.

Variable values are:

  • Administrative appeal
  • Administrative further hearing
  • Civil appeal
  • Civil further hearing
  • Criminal appeal
  • Criminal further hearing
  • Criminal retrial
  • Election appeal
  • Election approval
  • High Court of Justice
  • High Court of Justice further hearing

LegalProcedureHebrew

The legal procedure (see LegalProcedure) of the case using the Hebrew acronym.

LIssueArea

A more refined distinction of the legal domain, according to type of legal procedure of the lower court case whose decision the Israeli Supreme Court is reviewing. The classification of type of legal procedures in lower court instances of the Israeli judiciary can be found here.

In many cases, the type of legal procedure in the lower court provides a better definition of the legal issue area. Examples are in bankruptcy cases, class actions, tenders or tax law.

This variable has no entry for HCJ cases (see CourtSourceInstance).

Variable values are:

  • Administrative petition
  • Antitrust
  • Bankruptcy
  • Civil appeal
  • Civil – Intermediate request
  • Civil Case – regular
  • Civil Short Track
  • Class Action
  • Criminal – Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Extradition
  • Criminal – Regular
  • Criminal – Traffic
  • Derivative Action
  • Firm Liquidation
  • Income Tax
  • Originating Motion
  • Other Civil Appeal
  • Severe Crime Case
  • Tax
  • Tax Tribunal Appeal
  • Tenders

LIssueAreaHebrew

The legal domain, according to type of legal procedure of the lower court case being reviewed (see LIssueArea), using the Hebrew acronym, in the original form the acronym was updated by the court secretariat

This variable has no entry for HCJ cases (see CourtSourceInstance).

IssueCourt1

A detailed classification of the most important legal subject matter or issue of the controversy discussed in the case. As most cases have more than one main legal subject matter, the second is identified and classified in the IssueCourt2 variable.

Owing to the difficulty of identifying subject matter, IssueCourt1 and IssueCourt2 were not automated, but hand coded by law students (see a detailed description of the coding method in the introductory section). The criteria for the identification of issues are hard to articulate and rest mainly on the law students’ understanding of the case, after carefully reading the Supreme Court’s decision. Nonetheless, reliability tests showed the coding of IssueCourt1 and IssueCourt2 to be consistent by the different coders in 91% of the cases.

*The main legal subject matter/issue of controversy may itself be contested among the justices on a panel. Therefore, a corresponding variable specifying the two most important legal issues discussed in each individual justice’s published opinion appear in the justice-centered dataset, labeled as IssueJustice1 and IssueJustice2.

Variable values are:

  • Administrative law and regulation
    • Citizenship
    • Commercial and Economic Regulation
    • Education
    • Environmental
    • Licenses and Permits, including planning and construction
    • Media
    • Municipalities
    • Tender
    • Other
  •  Civil law
    • Bankruptcy
    • Contracts
    • Corporate/Commercial Law
    • Equity and trusts
    • Fiscal/Tax
    • Intellectual Property
    • Land
    • Procedure and Evidence
    • Property
    • Torts
    • Other
  • Constitutional law
    • Election law
    • Human Rights - Access to courts
    • Human Rights - Dignity
    • Human Rights - Due process
    • Human Rights - Education
    • Human Rights - Equality/discrimination
    • Human Rights - Freedom of association
    • Human Rights - Freedom of movement
    • Human Rights - Freedom of occupation
    • Human Rights - Freedom of speech
    • Human Rights - Interest
    • Human Rights - Liberty
    • Human Rights - Minimal conditions for existence in dignity
    • Human Rights - Privacy
    • Human Rights - Property
    • Human Rights - Right to health
    • Human Rights - Right to life
    • Human Rights - The right to elect and to be elected
    • Religion and state
    • Separation of powers and judicial power
    • Other
  • Criminal Law
    • Appeal on sentence
    • Arrest
    • Corruption
    • Drugs
    • Prisoner's petition
    • Procedure and Evidence
    • Security offenses
    • Sex offenses
    • Traffic
    • Violent offenses
    • White-collar crimes
    • Other
  • Family Law
    • Alimony and assets
    • Custody and guardianship
    • Wills and succession law
    • Other
  • International law
  • Labor and employment
  • National security, military and the territories
  • Religious law
    • Rabbinical courts 
    • Other religions
    • Other
  • Social security, health insurance, pension

IssueCourt2

See in IssueCourt1.

Outcome & Voting Variables

DispositionCourt

The manner of the case disposition according to the final court decision that closed the case. A judgment on the merits value is coded in cases closed by reasoned judicial decisions, including cases dismissed, denied or erased in limine due to lack of standing or want of jurisdiction (see further classifications for these cases in the OutcomeCourt variable).

Cases that were closed with no reasoned decision are classified into five groups. The first two indicate cases in which the petitioner or appellant requested to withdrawal or erase their case filing. In a large share of these cases, the petitioner/appellant request is stimulated by judicial involvement during the court hearings, hinting to the petitioners/appellants that they have almost no chance of winning, and might avoid or reduce trial costs by withdrawing their case. In cases where it was clear according to the court’s decision that the justices had recommended the withdrawal request, the dispositionCourt variable is coded as “Withdrawal – recommended by judges.” Other cases of withdrawals are coded as “Withdrawal – unknown reason.” Please note that judicial encouragement of a withdrawal might have occurred in these cases too. Another possibility is that a withdrawal was requested after the petition become redundant, perhaps due to the parties’ change in behavior or any other unknown reason.

Two other values indicate case closed by a settlement – whether a settlement officially approved and sometimes suggested and negotiated by the court's justices (“Court-approved settlement”), or an out-of-court settlement (“Out-of-court settlement”).

The final value (“Other”) is rare and refers to cases erased due to an administrative error, unpaid court fees, etc.

Because of the varied form of the court’s final decision and the lack of a structured paragraph or standardized phrasing of votes and outcomes, this variable was not automated, but hand coded by ten law students (see a detailed description of the coding method in the introductory section).

* A corresponding variable for each individual justice's vote for the manner of the case disposition appears in the justice-centered dataset, labeled as DispositionJustice.

Variable values are:

  • Judgment on the merits
  • Withdrawal – recommended by judges
  • Withdrawal – unknown reason
  • Court-approved settlement ("in-court settlement")
  • Out-of-court settlement
  • Other – statistical closing; court fees unpaid, failure to appear in court, etc.

OutcomeCourt

The legal disposition and outcome of the Israeli Supreme Court’s final decision, classified into seven categories.

Cases are coded as “Rejected" when the reviewed decision of the lower court/state is fully affirmed and "Accepted" if the reviewed decision is fully reversed or vacated. Decisions that only partly affirm the reviewed decision, while partly reversing/vacating or remanding it, are coded as "Partly accepted." Decisions to return a case to a lower court for reconsideration are classified as "Remand." Cases dismissed, denied or erased in limine due to lack of standing, want of jurisdiction, etc. are classified as "Dismissed." All cases closed by manner of withdrawal or settlement, with or without court engagement or approval (see in DispositionCourt), are coded as "No court disposition." Finally, "Unusual disposition" is coded in very rare cases, where no other form of legal disposition is relevant.

Because of the varied form of the court’s final decisions and the lack of a structured paragraph or standardized phrasing of votes and outcomes, this variable was not automatically coded, but hand coded by ten law students (see a detailed description of the coding method in the introductory section).

* A corresponding variable for each individual justice vote for the legal disposition and outcome appears in the justice-centered dataset, labeled as “OutcomeJustice.”

Variable values are:

  • Rejected
  • Accepted
  • Partly accepted
  • Remand
  • Dismissed
  • No court disposition
  • Unusual disposition

WinnerCourt

This variable indicates whether the petitioner or appellant emerged victorious. The "Petitioner" was classified as the winner in cases of total and complete victory, almost always in cases in which the reviewed decision is fully reversed or vacated by the Israeli Supreme Court (OutcomeCourt = "Accepted"). The "Respondent" was classified as the winner in cases fully affirmed or dismissed (OutcomeCourt = "Rejected" or "Dismissed"). Many cases disposed of by withdrawal through judicial involvement were also coded as cases won by the "Respondent," but only if it was clear that the petitioner or appellant did not receive any remedy during the judicial proceeding. If the court's decision only partly affirmed the reviewed decision (OutcomeCourt = "Partially accepted") or returned the case to a lower court for reconsideration (OutcomeCourt = "Remand"), the winner was coded as "Both," meaning the plaintiff/appellant won the case in part. Note, however, that the degree of victory is unknown. In other cases, such as settlements, where the coders could read that the plaintiff/appellant achieved part, but not all, of their requested remedy, the winner was also coded as "Both." An "unknown" value was mostly used in cases of withdrawal due to unknown reasons.

Because of the varied form of the court’s final decisions and the lack of a structured paragraph or standardized phrasing of votes and outcomes, this variable was not automatically coded, but hand coded by ten law students (see a detailed description of the coding method in the introductory section).

* A corresponding variable for each individual justice’s vote for the winning party appears in the justice-centered dataset, labeled as OWinnerJustice.

Variable values are:

  • Petitioner
  • Respondent
  • Both
  • Unknown

Nwords

A counter for the number of words in the final court decision (including all the panel justice's decisions), rounded to the nearest hundred.

AgreedOutcome

The variable indicates whether the court decision was unanimous with all justices on the panel agreeing ("Unanimous"), or whether there was at least one dissenting opinion ("Split"). The criteria for defining a dissenting opinion are based on the coding for each justice’s legal disposition, outcome and winner compared to those of the other justices on the panel (see DispositionCourt, OutcomeCourt and WinnerCourt variables). If there is any variance in the justices' opinion on at least one of the three outcome variables, the case is coded as a split decision. Otherwise, the case is coded as a unanimous decision.

Note that according to this definition, a case with the same final outcome in all of the individual opinions is defined as a unanimous decision even if each justice may use different legal reasoning. Additionally, a case partly accepted and won by both parties, though including different operational outcomes by the different justices, could also be coded as a unanimous decision (for example, a constitutional case in which Justice A and Justice B disqualify only one article in a new law, while Justice C disqualifies two articles).

Variable values are:

  • Unanimous
  • Split

Njudges

The number of judges on the panel deciding the case. As the dataset does not include cases decided by a single judge, the number of judges on the panel is an uneven number varying from three (the default in most cases) to nine.

Panels are mandatorily extended in specific legal procedures pertaining to parliamentary elections, retrials and further court hearings, and may also be extended in any case according to the chief justice’s discretion. Enlarged panels are rare in the Israeli Supreme Court and generally indicate a salient legal or political case.

NMajority

A counter for the number of judges supporting the majority ruling in the case of a split decision (AgreedOutcome ="Split").

NMinority

A counter for the number of judges dissenting in the case of a split decision.

JOpinionWriter

The first and last name of the justice writing the lead first opinion (in English).

This variable is coded based on the name of the justice that appears in the first substantive paragraph of the opinion. Thus, in rare opinions that open with a different textual structure, such as quotes or table of content, the variable might not have an entry. Additionally, the variable has no entry in per curiam opinions, written in the name of all panel judges together (with no individual reasoning).

Justice1

The first and last name of the head of the panel (in English), often the most senior justice in the assigned panel. Seniority is determined by the date of the justice’s appointment to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Justice2

The first and last name of the second judge in the panel (in English). The order is often set by seniority in the Israeli Supreme Court and corresponds to the order of judges that appears in the final decision.

Justice3

The first and last name of the third judge in the panel (in English). See Justice2.

Justice4

The first and last name of the fourth judge in the panel (in English). The variable has no entry for panels larger than 3.

Justice5

See Justice4.

Justice6

See Justice4.

Justice7

See Justice4.

Justice8

See Justice4.

Justice9

See Justice4.

Justice Characteristic & Opinion Variables

*The following variables are only in the justice-centered data.

Name

The first and last name of the deciding justice (in English).

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Title

The variable classifies the official role of the deciding justice at the time the final decision was rendered into three groups: The court president, equivalent to chief justice in the U.S. Supreme Court, appointed by a seniority principle determined by the date of justice appointment; vice president – the second most senior justice, until his/her retirement or appointment as president; and justice – all other justices of the court.

The variable is coded based on the title appearing before a justice's name in the opening part of the court opinion text. Thus, it might reflect the court's typist mistakes in cases where the title mentioned by the court is incorrect.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Values are:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Justice

Seniority

A counter for the number of years from the deciding justice's appointment to the Israeli Supreme Court to the final decision in the case.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Retired

The variable indicates if the deciding justice was already retired when signing the final decision (“retired”) or not (“presiding”). According to Israeli legal procedure, a judge who began the hearing of a case and retired is authorized to terminate the hearing and sign a decision within three months of the date of retirement (the Courts Law 1984, section 15).

The variable is coded based on the justice's status appearing before a justice's name in the opening part of the court opinion text. Thus, it might reflect the court's typist mistakes in cases where the justice's status mentioned by the court is incorrect.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Values are:

  • Retired
  • Presiding

Experience

The variable classifies the deciding justice’s work experience prior to his/her appointment to the Israeli Supreme Court into four groups: judge, almost always in one of the six Israeli district courts; senior position in the legal public service, usually the attorney general or state prosecutor; private lawyer, most commonly in one of Israel’s most prestigious law firms; and law professor at an Israeli or American university.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Values are:

  • Judge
  • Legal public service
  • Private lawyer
  • Law professor

Gender

The gender of the deciding justice.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Values are:

  • Male
  • Female

Religion

The variable classifies the deciding justice’s nationality and religious identity into four groups: religious observant Jew, secular non-observant Jew, non-Jewish justice (between 2010 and 2018, two non-Jewish justices served on the Israeli Supreme Court, both Arab Christians), and Jewish justice with unknown religious beliefs and practices.

Data on the religious observance of justices is in most cases publicized and mentioned in various biographies. The justices who observe Jewish religious laws and practices in varying degrees were coded as religious. The main shortcoming of the described coding is that it does not enable a more sensitive account of the wide spectrum of religious and secular ideologies existing in Israel. This limitation manifests mainly on the secular side of the coding, as there is no differentiation between adherents of extreme secular ideology (or “the antireligious,” as they are referred to in Israel) and those who are not religiously observant, yet do not particularly relate to matters of religion. Unfortunately, we could not find a consistent and reliable source for refining the classification scheme.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Values are:

  • Jewish – religious
  • Jewish – secular
  • Non-Jewish
  • Jewish – unknown

Issue1Justice

See IssueCourt1.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Issue2Justice

See IssueCourt2.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

DispositionJustice

See DispositionCourt.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

OutcomeJustice

See OutcomeCourt.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

WinnerJustice

See WinnerCourt.

* Only in the justice-centered data.

DissentJustice

The variable indicates whether a justice dissented from the panel's decision ("Dissenting") or if his/her opinion was in line with the entire panel, in unanimous cases, or with the panel's majority in split cases ("Not dissenting").

The criteria for defining a dissenting opinion are based on the coding for the justice’s legal disposition, outcome and winner compared to those of the court majority, as coded in DispositionCourt, OutcomeCourt and WinnerCourt variables. If there is any variance between the justice and panel's opinion in at least one of the three outcome variables, the variable is coded as a dissenting opinion. Otherwise, the case is coded as not dissenting. Note that according to this definition, an opinion with the same outcomes is defined as a "not dissenting" opinion even if it uses different reasoning (see AgreedOutcome).

* Only in the justice-centered data.

Values are:

  • Dissenting
  • Not dissenting