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In a legal first, the Appels Tribunal accepts HaMoked's request to order the Ministry of Interior to pay trial costs for its contempt of court

The legislation regulating the Appeals Tribunal (established in 2014 to review decisions of the Ministry of Interior's Population and Immigration Authority) does not provide the option to submit requests under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, which enables those who win judgements in other courts to force the state to comply with them. Despite the fact that the option does not appear in legislation, the Ministry of Justice has previously stated that the Tribunal has the authority to discuss requests of the kind.

HaMoked is advocating on behalf of four stateless children to obtain status on humanitarian grounds. The children's father, a resident of East Jerusalem, has passed away. Their mother has West Bank residency. Though born in Jerusalem, the children were never registered anywhere. On March 19, 2018, the Appeals Tribunal accepted an appeal submitted by HaMoked against the Ministry of Interior's decision to summarily reject the request to grant the children status. In the judgment, the Tribunal set out a timeline for processing the request, ordering the Ministry of Interior to summon the children's mother for an interview within 30 days. The Tribunal also ordered the Ministry to pay 4,000 NIS in trial costs.

On May 29, 2018, two and a half months since the judgment was issued, with none of its clauses having been fulfilled, HaMoked submitted a request to the Tribunal, asking it to instruct the Ministry of Interior to cease its blatant violation of the judgment, and to order it to pay additional trial costs.

On May 30, 2018, the Tribunal ordered the Ministry of Interior to submit a response to HaMoked's request within a week, explaining why it had failed to fulfil the judgment. But the Ministry continued dragging its feet. Only on July 17, 2018 – three months later than set out in the judgment – the mother of the children finally received a summons for an interview at the Ministry of Interior in order to review her request for status for her children. On the same day, the Ministry of Interior submitted a response to the Tribunal, claiming that "due to a change in personnel of the employee handling the case… a malfunction occurred in transferring it to an alternative employee".

The following day, on July 18, 2018, the Tribunal ruled that "in light of the respondent's failure to fulfill the judgment issued in this appeal, 3,000 NIS in trial costs will be paid to the appellants", in addition to the trial costs ordered in the original judgment. This is, as far as is known, the first time the Tribunal ordered the state to pay trial costs under its authority to hear requests submitted to it on the matter of contempt of court. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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