High Court of Justice (file)
High Court of Justice (file)Flash90

For many Israeli mothers, “my son the lawyer” is a dream that has actually come true. According to a European legal watchdog, Israel has per capita four times the number of attorneys than any European country – and more than double the court cases. Meanwhile, Israel's justice system is sorely lacking in judges; per capita, Israel has only half the judges that EU countries have on average, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) said in a special report.

The report reflects data for 2012, the latest year for which statistics were available.

According to the report, Israel had 8.2 judges per 100,000 residents, compared to 20.9 in the European Union. Meanwhile, there are 636.9 lawyers “serving” those 100,000 Israelis – while EU countries make do with just 151.3 attorneys for the equivalent population. Israeli schools graduate thousands of new lawyers each year, CEPEJ said, so those numbers are likely to have changed for the worse.

All those lawyers in Israel generate more court cases, the group said. Annually, EU countries open 2,400 new cases per 100,000 residents. In Israel, that number is more than double – 4,490. The ratio holds for cases that are adjudicated and closed by the courts each year – 2,414 in the EU, and 4,527 in Israel.

CEPEJ said it was not clear why there were fewer judges in Israel, as the country funds its justice system to the same extent that the EU does. In EU countries, the average government expenditure is 35 euros per person for the court system; in Israel it is 36.3 euros. Of that, 67% is used to pay salaries, while in EU countries salaries account for 70% of the budget. Israel spends 6.3% of its justice budget on computerization of its justice system, double what the EU spends.