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Other Topics - Jurisdiction - Rabbinical Court

This section deals with the issue of when the rabbinical court does or does not have jurisdiction to deal with certain issues, and how many religious judges are needed are needed for a ruling to be valid etc.

Divorce Between Jews – At Rabbinical Court

Question:

Which court has jurisdiction to decide over a divorce between two Jews living in Israel who married in a civil wedding ceremony abroad ?

Answer:

Jurisdiction over divorce between two Jews who are resident in or citizens of Israel lies with a district rabbinical court regardless of where or what their wedding ceremony was.

In the Kahanoff petition before the Supreme Court of Justice in the 1970’s it was claimed that the rabbinical court lacked jurisdiction to hear the husband’s divorce plea because the couple, although both Jews, had married in a civil wedding ceremony in France. The petition was rejected.

Judgment Void - Panel of Judges Incomplete

Question:

I am in the middle of divorce proceedings at the rabbinical court. I am rather confused because sometimes one religious judge hears our case and sometimes two. Does this matter ?

Answer:

Yes ! The rabbinical courts are subject to legislation – The Dayanim Law of 1955- regarding the number of religious judges (‘dayanim’) required to sit on the panel for cases. Three dayanim must hear cases but, exceptionally, where there is no dispute (eg where a couple ask for an agreement to be authorised), one may be sufficient. A judgment or decision made before an incomplete panel of dayanim is invalid. Action can be taken to get it cancelled – either by appeal to the Greater Rabbinical Court or by a petition to the Supreme Court of Justice.







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