Bek v Central Board of Advocates

CourtSupreme Court (Israel)
Date17 May 1966
Israel, Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice.
Central Board of the Chamber of Advocates of Israel.

The individual in international law Human rights and freedoms Discriminatory legislation Retrospective repeal in State of promulgation Whether repealed law deemed null and void in second State The law of Israel.

Summary.The petitioner completed his academic and professional studies in Poland in 1939 and would have been entitled to receive his licence as a lawyer but for a Law of 1938 which was designed to close the profession to Jews. In 1945 this Law was repealed retrospectively and all affected lawyers had their rights and professional seniority restored. The petitioner had gone into exile in Russia in 1939 and only returned to Poland in 1956; after a few weeks he had migrated to Israel. The respondent, the Central Board of the Chamber of Advocates of Israel, refused his application for a reduction of the period of required qualifying service since on the facts he was not a person who had practised abroad as a lawyer for not less than two years, in accordance with statutory requirements. The High Court of Justice held that it was inconceivable that the State of Israel should lend its authority to a decree discriminatory of Jews and thus appear worse than the very country which had restropectively set it aside. The Law of 1939 was to be deemed null and void and the petitioner was regarded professionally as if the Law had never been enacted. He was accordingly entitled to a reduction in the period of his qualifying service.

The following is the text of the judgment:

The petitioner completed his course of studies at the Law Faculty of the University of Warsaw and obtained the degree of Master of Laws in 1934. For a space of five years thereafter he was an articled clerk in accordance with Polish law. In June 1939 he passed his professional examinations. On the basis of these facts the petitioner would have been entitled to enrolment in the register of Polish lawyers, had it not been for the decree known as the Gravovski Law. There is copious evidence before usand the respondent does not dispute it at allthat the Gravovski Law was promulgated by the Polish authorities in 1938 under Nazi inspiration with the primary intention of closing the legal profession in Poland to Jews, and that it is a piece of discriminatory legislation. In 1945 it was repealed retrospectively and is now deemed in Poland to be null and void. Furthermore, every...

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