Judicial System

The Palestinian judicial system includes the Attorney General’s Office, the Bar Association, and a court system supervised and regulated by the High Judicial Council (HJC) which nominates judges for approval by the president of the PA.

The PA court system is composed of sharia courts, military courts, the Court of First Instance, Court of Conciliation, the Courts of Appeal, the High Court of Justice, Constitutional Court (which interprets the Basic Law and legislative texts) and Electoral Court.

The Palestinian judiciary faces a number of challenges, including the intra-Palestinian split that has led to the development of a parallel justice system in Gaza under Hamas and steps by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to curb the independence of the judiciary in his favour.

In January 2021, Abbas issued a presidential decree amending the 2002 Judicial Authority Act to give himself the power to select the heads of the various courts, including the presidents of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court. This was followed by another decree in October 2022 establishing the Supreme Council of Judicial Bodies and Authorities  under his authority, giving him full control over the judicial system.