Role of government’s legal adviser in curbing corruption in Israel

Date07 January 2019
Publication Date07 January 2019
AuthorDenis Primakov
SubjectAccounting & Finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
Role of governments legal adviser
in curbing corruption in Israel
Denis Primakov
Law Department, Vserossijskaa akademia vnesnej torgovli,
Moskva, Russian Federation
Purpose The status of governments legaladviser in Israel is complicated and controversial. This status
deeply impacts discretionand independence, especially in the role of combatingcorruption. This article aims
to review the status, power and independenceof the governments legal adviser and his/her interaction with
other legal institutionsdealing with corruption cases.
Design/methodology/approach The author argues that the period of the 1980s, in Israel, was
characterized by prosecutions activism because of the dramatically increasednumber of corruption-related
Findings Prominent government legal advisersformulated approaches to the struggle against political
corruption in Israel; upon becoming justices of the supreme court, they successfully transited their
prosecutionmindset to judicial activism (and notonly for corruption-related cases).
Originality/value This article discoversa linkage between prosecutionand judicial positions, not under
the Israeli legislationbut based on personal willingness to combat corruption.
Keywords Combatting corruption, Governments legal adviser, Israel legal system,
Judicial activism in Israel, Political corruption, Prosecution activism
Paper type Research paper
Corruption has many faces and has long been enrooted in Israel since before 1948. Many
migrants to the new society were unable to relinquish their former tolerant attitude toward
corruption, i.e. abuse of powers, bribery, illicit enrichment and grafts to state servants and
public ofcials.
Most scholars acknowledge that the Israeli legal system has many legal institutions
tracing their roots to the Ottoman Rule and the British Mandate.During the 30 years of the
British Mandate over Palestine (1918-1948), the local legal system underwent an extensive
process of anglicization(Fridmann, 1975).
The governments legal adviser (attorney general) is the Israeli chief prosecutor; he also
serves as a legal adviser to government authorities and is viewed as an authorized
interpreter of the law for the government, whose legal opinions are binding. Aaron Barak,
who served as the governments legal adviser from 1975 to 1978, pointed out the advisers
special place betweenexecutive and legislative branches:
The institute of the governments legal adviser has no resemblance in the civil law countries
neither in the case law countries. This is a unique position that plays a central role in the rule of
law in Israel[1].
The ght against corruption is supposed to be as distant from politics as from politicians.
Suspicions about the integrityof the governments legal adviser (Bar-On-Hebron affair) may
undermine condencein the enforcement agencies.
corruption in
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.26 No. 1, 2019
pp. 195-202
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-12-2017-0125
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