The Israeli Experts Institute website provides an important service for the judiciary, the legal community in Israel, and the public in general. The site includes more than 5,000 Israeli experts in various fields. The site provides the means by which to locate experts through the search engine according to various categories, such as: by profession, by specialization, by region, by academic qualifications and others.
Interface with the English expert site
The interface with the English experts' site is intended to provide a solution for Israeli lawyers (and also for the general public) in cases where there are problems in locating an Israeli expert or in cases where the Israeli expert has, for instance, ethical problems in dealing with a particular case.
Locating the expert
It is possible to locate the expert in the site using the search engine according to several possibilities. General access can be from the index of classifications, which includes hundreds of branches and sub- branches of specializations, or alternatively by searching and recording directly in free text, and thereafter according to additional categories such as: profession, specialization, academic qualification, general professional seniority, seniority in the field of the specific specialization, region, academic publication or picture.
Experts can update their own details through an entry code and personal password and as a result the database is mainly updated on-line
Contacting the expert directly
It is possible to make contact with the expert, both by sending emails to the expert on the site, or sending notices by email to his email address, and in addition through contact details that the expert provides in the site: generally, a landline telephone number, cellular telephone number, fax number and geographical address.
Types of experts
Israeli experts are divided into two types: experts who studied on the paralegal enrichment course (defined in the database as "an Institute Accredited Expert") and experts who chose not to take the course (defined in the database as "an External Expert"). One can say unequivocally that experts with professional seniority and numerous appearances in court (this applies to all 397 professors listed in the database, who have a wealth of experience in preparing expert opinions for court and appearing there) were receptive and willing to take an active part in the enrichment course, which is intended for experts with seniority wishing to maximize their potential and enrich their knowledge, and also experts wishing to join the circle of expert witnesses.
The leading database of experts in Israel
The idea to establish the Israeli Experts Institute, which is on the one hand a location and college for studying paralegal subjects, and on the other hand an organized and centralized database which classifies thousands of those engaged in the legal and paralegal profession, occurred during the time that Adv. Oded Luft and Adv. Binyamin Katzuv, the founders of the Institute, served in the early 1990s with the State Attorney's Office.
From early on, it was clear that establishing the Institute would be a complex and demanding task. The first stage of the enterprise was devoted to carefully studying hundreds of judgments of the courts in general, and the Supreme Court in particular, many of which sharply criticized the quality and ultra vires content of expert opinions. Also it was very difficult to find in one place rules regarding the criteria to be an expert witness. It was clear that such an Institute was necessary both to improve the level of writing and preparation of expert opinions, as well as well as to gather together the accumulated rules and directives of the Supreme Court regarding the elementary criteria required to be an expert witness.
The syllabus of the course for experts
Encouraged by the original idea and mainly by the fact that a remedy could be found in such an important field, which had been completely neglected, the decision was made to found the Institute based on a syllabus for a course for training expert witnesses.
Preparing the expert syllabus required from the initiators of the Institute two years of intensive work. Considerable material was collected and processed on the basis of the conclusions and recommendations of the Wolf Committee for reforming civil procedure in the United Kingdom, including recommendations of the Committee regarding the need for rules and directives regarding the appointment and use of expert witnesses. All this was done, of course, observing the differences between the legal procedures and laws prevailing in England and Israel.
The syllabus of the course for experts
The many verdicts of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem served as a guide, and the recommendations of the Wolf Committee were adapted to the laws prevailing in Israel. The experts' syllabus was adapted based on the advice and recommendations of the judges of the Israeli bench.
Special thanks to the former President of the Supreme Court, Professor Aharon Barak, and the former Minister of Justice, Meir Shitrit, for their support for the idea to establish the database, and permitting the cooperation of the judges of the Israeli courts, without whose assistance this project could not have seen the light of day.
The expert witnesses course
The expert witness course focuses on the relevant legal aspects for preparing an expert opinion and giving expert testimony in court, and the following participated in the preparation of the syllabus for the course and served as lecturers in the course: the Vice President of the Tel Aviv District Court Dr. Gavriel Kling, Judge Oded Modrik of the Tel Aviv District Court, the late Dr. Adi Azar of the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court, Judge Dvora Berliner of the Tel Aviv District Court, Judge Ruth Eliaz - Sternberg of Tel Aviv District Court, Judge Amnon Shtrashnov of the Tel Aviv District Court, Judge Bracha Bar Ziv of the Haifa Magistrates Court, Judge Nilly Kotzer of the Ra'anana Magistrates Court, Judge Rachel Barkai of the Bet Shemesh Magistrates Court, retired judges: the late Dov Levin of the Supreme Court, Judge Hanoch Uriel, the late Haim Shapira, President of the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court, Judge Hanna Avnor of the Tel Aviv District Court, Judge Shaul Aloni of the Tel Aviv District Court, Judge Uri Shtrusman of the Tel Aviv District Court, and Prof. Eyal Zamir, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Mount Scopus University in Jerusalem, Prof. Rubenstein, Prof. Mikolinster, Prof. Aharon Anker, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Bar Ilan University, Prof. Eran Dolev, Chairman of the Ethics Committee of Medical Association, and many others
The Arbitrators course
The Institute broadened its operations to additional fields. We added a syllabus for an arbitrators course in the framework of which hundreds of arbitrators, in all forms of activities, were trained. These are mainly lawyers and public personalities from important sectors: government ministers, Knesset members, mayors, heads of local councils, rabbis, priests, kadis, religious leaders (Moslem, Jewish, Druze), heads of institutions, and officers in public and government bodies, which are classified in the database into two categories: sectorial (e.g.: accountants and the engineering professions) and non sectorial (all the others).
The work of publishing the full specialist dossier which can be found on the desks of most judges in the State of Israel, and the establishment of the www.sofsof.co.il internet site was a complex task and was done in stages. The database has been arranged at this stage to include over 5,000 Israeli experts to which new and additional experts are added all the time.
It should be emphasized that the experts database does not claim to include every expert in Israel; the database encompasses thousands of experts and legal and paralegal professionals from a very wide range of fields of occupation. In order to be registered in the database, the expert must satisfy the Israeli Institute's management that he has a minimum of professional seniority in order to be registered, and this seniority changes according to various fields of expertise and ranges between five and seven years.
The very apt words of the former Judge of the Supreme Court, and later the State Comptroller, the late Haim H. Cohen, appear in the preface to the dossier:
There are countless verdicts based on the database's experts
Since the database was placed on the table of every judge in Israel, countless verdicts have been based on the opinions of the database's experts.
The database is very active; one can be impressed by the use made of it through reading a sample of 150 letters of appreciation in the site itself. The letters were sent by experts appearing in the database, usually after they were appointed by the court and they report on these requests in detail. In addition, considerable and authentic proof is presented by experts appointed through the community of lawyers who also make considerable use of this database. Regarding this see the 150 letters of graduates appearing under "Let Another Man praise Thee and not Thine Own Mouth".
The use of the database is free of any payment and there is no intention to impose any payment in the future. The database appears under the following domains: www.sofsof.com, www.sofsof.co.il, www.court-experts.co.il, www.court-experts.com.
For those interested in joining us
We open an enrichment course once a year, usually in March. The duration of this course is three months. The conditions of the course are set forth in the Hebrew section; English speakers can contact us to obtain additional information.
Further studies in the Institute's course are not a condition for registering as an expert in the database. An expert who is not interested in the course will be defined in the database as an "External Expert" to distinguish him from the "Internal Expert", one who is a graduate of our course. An internal expert is required to sign a declaration regarding the absence of any criminal past.
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Address: The Israeli Experts Institute, 105 Moriah Blvd. Mt. Carmel Haifa 34616 Israel