The Administrative Affairs Courts Law, 5760-2000 was enacted with the aim of providing a legislative framework for the phased transfer of judicial jurisdiction from the Supreme Court sitting as a High Court of Justice and from the general courts to the District Courts, sitting as administrative affairs courts. Currently, under the law, a variety of issues are heard before the said District Court by way of administrative petitions, thereby reducing the burden on the Supreme Court sitting as a High Court of Justice. According to the Law, the Minister of Justice is empowered, with the approval of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset, to change the Schedules to the Law, in which the list of jurisdictional areas for these administrative petitions are set forth, and to add to (or to remove from) the jurisdiction of the Administrative Affairs court over administrative affairs as set forth in such Schedules.
The Administrative Affairs court handles 'administrative affairs' – these are matters which concern disputes between individuals or entities and the administrative authorities. Currently, the matters coming before that court include business permits, decisions of local municipalities, planning and building issues, decisions concerning Amutot (not for profit entities) and companies for the public benefit, tender laws, etc.
According the new order which was recently approved by the Knesset, the jurisdiction of the Administrative Affairs Court will be extended to cover, inter alia, the following main issues:
- Arnona [municipality rates] – certain decisions of the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Finance according the Municipal and Governmental Taxes Ordinance (Exemptions).
- Religious Councils – matters concerning qualifications and disqualifications for office commissioners under the Jewish Religious Services Law, and decisions of the Minister of Religious Services concerning the composition of religious councils.
- Firearms – the decisions of the relevant authority empowered by law to maintain public safety concerning security guards and their qualifications.
- Traffic – decisions to grant disabled badges and decisions of the Airports Authority under the Aviation Services Licensing Law and the Civil Aviation Authority Law.
- Environment – decisions under a variety of laws in the field of environmental protection including the Hazardous Substances Law.
- Health – decisions of the relevant authority under the National Health Insurance Regulations.
- Police and Prison Wardens – decisions of the Inspector General of the Israeli police or of the Commissioner of Prisons under Pension Law, pursuant to which decisions a police officer or prison warden is pensioned off.
- Immigration [Olim] – decision of the authority concerning the benefits and assistance granted under law to new immigrants [Olim]; decisions of the Government concerning new immigrants [Olim]; and decisions according to the procedures of the Ministry of Immigrant Absortion.
- Dangerous Drugs – decisions under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance including decisions of the Minister of Health to issue licenses to import dangerous drugs, manufacturing licenses and those for the preparation and distribution of dangerous drugs as well as permits to possess and use dangerous drugs and the means of their possession.
Reference: Order for the Administrative Affairs Court (Changes to the First Schedule to the Law)