After may, many hours of coding Israel Supreme Court decisions, my Cornell colleague, Ted Eisenberg, along with co-authors Talia Fisher (Tel Aviv, Law ) and Issachar Rosen-Zvi (Tel Aviv, Law), present results of their analyses in Israel's Supreme Court: An Empirical Study. Where appropriate (and possible), the paper draws helpful comparisons to U.S. courts. The abstract follows.
"This article reports the results of an empirical study of the Israel Supreme Court (ISC). It covers the outcomes of 2,734 cases (as of this writing), all decided in 2006 and 2007, and describes the cases by subject area, litigant-pair characteristics, and source of jurisdiction - mandatory or discretionary. In mandatory jurisdiction cases, the ISC affirmed lower court rulings in about 75% of district court criminal case appeals and about 67% of district court civil case appeals. In discretionary jurisdiction cases, the ISC rarely granted review. It agreed to review about 6% of petitions in criminal cases and about 10% of petitions in civil cases. In discretionary cases in which the ISC did grant review, it tended to reverse at a much higher rate than in mandatory jurisdiction cases, with an affirmance rate of 55% in criminal cases and 14% in civil cases. The government fared far better than other litigants in obtaining reversals of lower court rulings and in securing review of those rulings. Sentencing issues dominated the criminal docket and criminal cases predominated over civil cases. Reversal rates were not substantially different from those in cases with analogous jurisdiction in U.S. state courts of last resort except in discretionary jurisdiction civil cases. The ISC tended to reverse such cases at a higher rate than U.S. courts."