Feingold v Administrator General

CourtSupreme Court (Israel)
Docket NumberCase No. 31
Date20 July 1951
Israel, Supreme Court sitting as Court of Civil Appeals.

(Dunkelblum, Agranat, Baker.)

Case No. 31
Feingold and Others
Administrator General.

State Succession — Administrator General of Palestine and Administrator General of Israel — Litigation Pending on Change of Sovereignty — Question of Substitution.

The Facts.—In 1947 the Administrator General of Palestine commenced proceedings against the appellants for the return of certain moneys, in connection with the winding up of the estate of a deceased person. These proceedings were heard in Court after the termination of the Mandate and the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, and on behalf of the defendants it was argued, inter alia, that as the proceedings were instituted by the Administrator General of Palestine, the Administrator General of Israel was not competent to continue with them. In June 1949 the District Court dismissed this argument, but the plaintiff was authorized to amend the statement of claim by deleting the word “Palestine”, substituting therefor “Israel”. It was from this Order that the present appeal was brought.

The Administrator General was created by the Administrator General Ordinance No. 37 of 1944 (Palestine Gazette No. 1380, Supplement No. 1 of December 28, 1944, p. 151), and can be compared to the Public Trustee. By s. 4 (2): “The Administrator General shall be a corporation sole by the name of the Administrator General of Palestine with perpetual succession and an official seal. In all … legal proceedings the Administrator General shall sue and be sued by such name. …” After the establishment of the State of Israel the Law and Administration Ordinance, 5708–1948, provided, in s. 11, for the continuation in force of existing law (see Kuk v. Minister of Defence, Annual Digest, 1948, Case No. 15). By s. 15 it was provided that “Palestine” wherever appearing in any law, shall henceforth be read as “Israel”.

Held: that the appeal must be allowed and the order of the lower Court reversed. The Administrator General of Israel is not the substitute or successor of the Administrator General of Palestine. The judgment of the Court was delivered by Dunkelblum J. (Agranat J. concurring). He said:

“On behalf of the respondents it was argued that as by s. 4 of the Administrator General Ordinance the Administrator General is a corporation sole, he remains in existence despite the changes that occurred with the establishment of the State. The only change is that in his official name, achieved through s. 15 of the Law and Administration Ordinance. … An action commenced during the subsistence of the Mandate can be continued by the present incumbent of the office...

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